The Express & Echo has been leading the fight to save Exeter City Football Club from being docked 12 points by the Nationwide Conference.
The club is facing the penalty under new rules that penalise clubs for going bankrupt.
It went into a corporate voluntary agreement in September with debts of £4.8m.
Express & Echo staff handed out “HANDS OFF OUR POINTS” posters at a home game and before Christmas the paper paid for a bus load of fans to picket the Football Association’s headquarters in London. Around 100 people, including London-based supporters, took part in the protest.
An appeal against the points penalty is being considered by the Football Association. If the 12 points are removed it would take Exeter City out of contention for a place in the promotion play-offs.
Express & Echo deputy sports editor Nick Beer said: “We’ve started the campaign because it is so unfair that if you’re in Division Three you don’t get this penalty but if you are in the Conference you do.
“The Conference has performed two or three U-turns on this. It seems really unfair that we are facing the biggest ever points penalty in the history of professional football. The fans are being punished, not the people who ran up the debt in the first place.”
By Dominic Ponsford