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EXCLUSIVE: Footy Adventures YouTube star Sam North says St Johnstone fans’ group Fair City Unity should be ‘cherished’ not priced out

YouTuber Sam North gets a taste of the atmosphere before the play-off final at McDiarmid Park.
The banned teenager was caught in a video at Tannadice by vlogger Sam North (pictured).

He famously described them as “the best football ultras you’ve never heard of”.

And YouTube star Sam North believes the Fair City Unity supporters’ group need to be “cherished” by St Johnstone rather than priced out.

North, a vlogger who travels to matches across Britain and Europe and has nearly 150,000 subscribers to his Footy Adventures channel, has been a regular visitor to McDiarmid Park over the last couple of seasons.

He first covered a Saints game and the spectator experience around it when Galatasaray and LASK were the visitors for Europa League and Europa Conference League qualifiers in the summer of 2021.

FCU, a prominent fans’ group who have grown in size over the last few seasons and “bring the noise” to matches, caught North’s attention back then.

And he returned to Perth to follow their corteo to McDiarmid before the second leg of Saints’ Premiership play-off clash with Inverness Caledonian Thistle, by which time their profile was soaring.

There has been a furious reaction to the club announcing Rangers will get three stands for Saturday’s Scottish Cup tie and that tickets were priced at £30 and £20 concessions.

And public silence hasn’t helped.

FCU have boycotted away matches at Ibrox and Tannadice this season as a result of dissatisfaction at the cost of going to a game.

And, after making a silent protest in the first half of the recent home defeat to Dundee United, they outlined their position on social media regarding this weekend’s cup clash, criticising both Saints and Rangers for not taking an opportunity to make entry affordable.

St Johnstone fans made their feelings clear with banner outside McDiarmid Park on January 16.

FCU played a significant part in helping Saints stay in the Premiership last year, with unwavering and vociferous backing for Callum Davidson’s toiling team.

Their role at the club isn’t window dressing, according to North.

“100%,” he told Courier Sport

“They’re one of the best fan groups I’ve seen.

“In terms of numbers, they’re never going to be as big as your Green Brigade (Celtic) or Union Bears (Rangers) but in terms of being organised and bringing the noise, they’re right up there.

“St Johnstone have got something special there.

“The fact that they came together organically and it wasn’t something the club tried to manufacture makes it even better.

“They bring the flags and the noise.

“It gives them and the club identity.

“It’s not comparable in size to Liverpool’s Kop or Dortmund’s Yellow Wall but, like in those grounds, the flags you see are ones FCU create and bring in, not ones that the club has put on seats.

“That’s for every game, not just the big ones.

“Yeah, they should be cherished by the club.”

‘Gutting for Saints fans’

On the wider point of St Johnstone fans boycotting the match and the issues surrounding that, North added: “To think that this home support for a Scottish Cup tie against Rangers is going to be around the same size as a game against Albion Rovers all those years ago in the bottom division when the club was struggling is quite amazing.

“You hear the arguments for and against three stands being given to Rangers and Celtic – not just at St Johnstone.

“I understand the club’s side – why they would want to make revenue.

“But it is gutting for the Saints fans.

“And I’m totally with them on the ticket prices.

“With the cost of living affecting people so much, supporters are being priced out of football.

“If you had a family, I don’t know how you can do it.

“Clubs need to find a way to incentivise and get their own fans in.”

North, whose last trip to McDiarmid was for the Celtic league match when goals were scored at either end in injury time, hadn’t heard of FCU until the summer of 2021.

Since then, he’s been delighted to spread the word online.

“I was going to do something on the Galatasaray game anyway and somebody told me about Fair City Unity a day or two before,” he recalled.

“It was a Twitter post, or something like that.

“So I went there early and followed them to the game and ever since then I’ve thought they were great.

“They bring a really good atmosphere and care about their club and community.

“I go north, south, east and west in Scotland and no matter where it is, you’ll see lots of kids with Rangers and Celtic tops on.

“That makes it so good when you see such a strong, core group of young supporters who are following St Johnstone so passionately.

“It wasn’t just about the European games – it was exactly the same when I came back for the play-off against Inverness Caley Thistle to stay in the league.”

A unique spin

The “best ultras you’ve never heard of” was an inspired catchphrase that hit the mark.

“YouTube is all about coming up with interesting titles and hooks for people who won’t necessarily be in the know,” said North.

“It’s about trying to find something unique and having a spin on it.

“For people around the world I hope that made them think ‘oh, support like that isn’t just about Celtic and Rangers’.

“The videos did really well and got a lot of positive feedback. That phrase was used for the play-off video and I think it got something like 80,000 views.

“There are a lot of ultras groups who wouldn’t want you filming them but FCU have always been great with me and been happy with the exposure.

“More people should know about them.”