Northampton Town's family experience recognised by the EFL
Northampton Town have been awarded the EFL Family Excellence Award for the 2016/17 season.
In addition, the Cobblers were this season highlighted by the EFL as one of the ten clubs providing best practice in terms of family experiences.
Created in 2007, the EFL Family Excellence Award recognises the outstanding experience provided by clubs for young fans and families, as well as their efforts to enhance the match day experience.
Now in their 10th anniversary year, there has been a significant increase in the benchmark standard being applied by the judging panel.
The Cobblers have worked hard to provide families with engaging and innovative matchday entertainment, as they continue to find new and unique ways to attract young supporters to matches.
Such experiences include free match and season tickets for under 7s, the opening of the Mick George Family Area, matchday experiences for youngsters which include walking out with the players, waving flags and taking penalties on the pitch in the Stanair Cup.
Helped by this work, the Cobblers have seen a huge increase in the number of junior season ticket holders, with numbers up by 117%. Junior memberships have increased by 132% with sales of junior shirts up by 58%.
"We are delighted to receive this award," said Chairman Kelvin Thomas.
"We have worked hard to develop a fun, vibrant and exciting area for young supporters in the Mick George family area and that has been a huge success.
"Nanny Hazel, Lisa, Helen, and everyone who looks after the Mick George family area, are hugely popular with families and we are very proud of them and what they have achieved.
"Our fun graffiti wall, face painting, our life size team photo, our inflatable goal and our art and craft area are all popular with young supporters, as well as the free fruit, kindly supplied each matchday by Tesco, Mereway.
"The proof of that is not just in the increased numbers attending Sixfields, but the feedback that young supporters are having a fantastic time here, whether we win, lose or draw.
"Our Group Tickets experiences, kindly sponsored by Nandos, have also seen record numbers attend, with hundreds of teams, schools and groups enjoying a very special matchday experience at Sixfields.
"We also continue to receive fantastic feedback for our matchday mascot experiences and all of this paints a very healthy picture as we reach out to an ever increasing number of young supporters and their families.
"Our reputation as a family friendly club is developing all the time and we are proud that our work has been recognised by the EFL."
Work such as that going on at Sixfields is a strong indication of a healthy future for football in this country according to Shaun Harvey, EFL Chief Executive.
He said: “The EFL Family Excellence Awards have proven to be a fantastic vehicle for celebrating and highlighting the excellent progress that clubs are making in providing families with improved match day experiences.
“Now in their 10th year, the Awards have made a significant impact and this year’s winners have once again shown how innovative thinking and a strong commitment can enhance the experience for both home and away.
“I wish to congratulate Northampton Town who have been recognised for playing their part in continuing to attract a growing number of younger fans to the game in what is undoubtedly a valuable indication of a bright and healthy future for the EFL.”
The Award recipients are decided using independent assessments from real families, who make matchday visits across all 72 League clubs, during the 2016/17 season.