Notts County have been announced as Sky Bet League Two’s winners of the EFL’s 2017-18 Away Fan Experience campaign.
Launched in 2016-17, the campaign aims to uncover examples of positive away-day experiences amongst supporters, offering EFL clubs a unique insight into the quality of experience fans have when visiting their home stadium and clubs’ efforts to engage visitors.
Throughout the course of 2017-18 season, the experiences of away fans have again been gathered from visits spanning all 72 EFL clubs.
And Notts County were ranked best in League Two, with the following features of their away fan experience winning special praise:
- The provision of a welcome pack from their SLO
- Specific welcome posters providing stats on previous encounters between the two clubs
- A request for away fan feedback from the host SLO
The away fan assessors summarised that ‘a great view, combined with welcoming and friendly people, makes you want to go back.’
Notts’ commercial director, Amanda Fletcher, said: “We have invested a huge amount of time and money in making Meadow Lane a friendly, welcoming and enjoyable place to come – no matter how old you are or who you support – and it’s brilliant to see our efforts rewarded in this way.
“This is a very proud achievement for the club and we will continue to seek improvement in everything we do.”
More than 1.5million away fans have attended matches across the EFL for the second successive season, with attendances continuing at their highest levels over the course of the last decade as more supporters enjoy trips up and down the country to follow their club.
Fans report back on a number of touchpoints ranging from information provided and first impressions to matchday welcome, quality of refreshments and the inside-stadium experience.
Across the visits this season, many clubs received praise for the quality of stewarding provided and the positive and friendly approach adopted in greeting and looking after fans during the away experience. Based on the feedback gathered from fans, the experiences at the 24 clubs in each division were assessed and narrowed down to produce one overall winner in each division.
In recognising the awards, Shaun Harvey, EFL chief executive, said: “Having both home and away supporters in the stadium is a crucial part of any matchday experience, creating atmosphere, vibrancy and colour in stadiums up and down the country week in, week out.
“The EFL is proud to support those football fans who follow their clubs on the road each season and I would like to congratulate all of the clubs who have been recognised through these awards for their commitment to welcoming supporters of opposing clubs in a positive manner.
“Last season, more than 1.5million away-day match tickets were sold as fans followed their respective clubs. It is this kind of dedication and strength of following across the three divisions of the EFL that makes our competition the envy of many across Europe.”
The Football Supporters’ Federation have collaborated with the EFL in researching and supporting the work around the Away Fan Experience campaign and deputy chief executive David Rose is keen to emphasise the contribution made by away fans, and the importance of efforts made to encourage their attendance.
He said: "Away fans put in the most time, money and effort to follow the club they love. They make a huge contribution to the live experience and are often the catalyst for a great atmosphere. The FSF welcomes an initiative that will encourage clubs to show how much they value some of football's most passionate and loyal supporters.
“We will continue to support the EFL with this project and their efforts to develop the away experience over the coming seasons."