Falmouth Town's recent resurgence has been a success story in Cornish sport over the last few years, with Town winning the South West Peninsula League Cup in 2018 and Cornwall Senior Cup in 2019.

That return to prominence has gone hand-in-hand with the return to the stands of Town's well-known supporters – affectionately known as The F-Troop.

The F-Troop has been earning a reputation as one of the most vocal sets of supporters in non-league football, so much so that they were even the focus of one local university student's video project.

Falmouth University press and editorial photography student James Smith created his The Packet End video as a homage to the supporters and to show off the love that some of them have for the club, who are based at Bickland Park on Bickland Water Road.


As part of his university coursework last semester, James was asked to create a three- to five-minute multimedia piece on the theme ‘people and passion.’

While he was initially unsure about what to do, it took a trip to watch Town's league game at home to Newquay in October of last year to give him the idea to focus the piece on the F-Troop.

Town ran out 2-1 winners that night, and the passion and the atmosphere of the supporters in The Packet End – the name of the car park end of the pitch that the F-Troop gather and the name of James' video – won James over instantly.

"I just remember being really excited by the idea of producing a piece on football fans, especially the fans of Falmouth Town," James told the Packet. "I knew I could make something special out of it. At the end of the day, what’s more passionate than football fans?"

But the events of the last year or so have made life difficult for all of us, and the constant disruption to the sporting calendar through lockdowns and bad weather almost saw James give up on the project entirely.

Part of the brief James was given was to include photography, so he had worked out that he had roughly six home games to capture the F-Troop before Christmas – his project deadline.

The aim was to photograph three games and film three games, but he only managed two before the November lockdown arrived, leaving his project hanging in the balance.

"Since lockdown was for one month, that left me with only two games to photograph after lockdown, and at this point I actually almost given up on the whole project as I felt as though I wouldn’t be able to get enough content to produce my piece," James said.

"I began trying to pull a little edit together with content I had already shot, but I simply never had enough to produce a three- to five-minute video at good quality and I was struggling to think how I could be creative with it."

Matters took another turn for the worse when Town's FA Vase game against Bishop's Cleeve – the first game after lockdown – was called off due to the weather.

It meant the rearranged tie the following week would be James' last chance to gather the content for the video – and as luck would have it, the game went ahead.

"Thankfully the team and the fans turned up that game. Singing, chanting, the support was immense," James said. "This piece wouldn’t be what is it without them on that day.

"I couldn’t have filmed content at a better game in terms of the passion and atmosphere of the fans and the performance of the team, it was a truly special night and a game I will remember for a long time.

"So, although I should have shot an extra four games, luckily, I managed to gather enough content for the video during that one game."

FA Vase: Falmouth Town 3-1 Abingdon United. Picture: James Smith

Falmouth Town v Abingdon United in the FA Vase. Picture: James Smith

James initially recorded five supporters, asking them questions about their love for Town and each person recorded provided some excellent responses, he said.

However, the one fan talking in the video is Donald Chambers, a lifelong fan of Falmouth Town.

"I decided to choose Donald as my subject for the piece as I felt as though his answers to each of my questions simply told a story about his life as a Falmouth Town supporter and each aspect of it," James said.

"The passion in his voice and his answers to my questions was just ideal for the video and truly made the piece.

"I think the original recording was around eight minutes long and probably one of the hardest stages in the process was editing Donald’s recording down to four minutes because I wanted to include so much of it!"

After hours of work putting the video together, James was delighted with the reaction it received when he finally shared his creation online.

The video went down a storm among the Cornish football community, receiving more than 1,000 views within the first two days.

Various players and supporters of clubs across Cornwall praised the video, with Falmouth Town manager Andrew Westgarth even calling James to personally thank him for the work.

"I couldn’t have been happier with how the final video turned out," James said. "The response I received towards the video was truly unexpected and overwhelming.

"I received messages from the fans and players praising the video and thanking me for making it, and even a phone call from the manager. I never expected it would mean so much to everyone.

"From what started out as an idea in my head to what it has become is unbelievable, to this day I’m still overwhelmed with the amount of support it has received."

FA Vase: Falmouth Town 3-1 Abingdon United. Picture by James Smith

Falmouth Town celebrate their FA Vase victory over Abingdon United. Picture by James Smith

Since making the video, James has developed a new ambition to go into filmmaking, alongside sports photography.

"Studying Press and Editorial Photography at Falmouth Uni is the perfect stepping stone for me to achieve my career ambitions," he said. "My course teaches me the skills I need to go into photojournalism, filmmaking and editorial and I can’t think of a better place to study than in Cornwall."

But wherever his course and career takes him, it is also safe to say that Town and the F-Troop have made a lasting impact on James, and that the student will likely be heading back to Bickland Park when sport does return.

"I have photographed a few non-league football teams in the past during the early stages of my career as a sports photographer, but it is safe to say I have never experienced a non-league game like Falmouth Town Football Club," he said.

"I was blown away by the passion of the fans, the atmosphere, the constant chanting and singing of the fans through the whole 90 minutes, the passion, it was something I have never experienced before photographing a non-league game, it was unbelievable."