Northampton Town have been awarded the EFL Family Excellence Award for 2018.
The Family Excellence Award is the benchmark the EFL look to clubs to strive for in terms of offering a superb family experience on a matchday. Each club receives two ‘mystery’ visits from families each season, who describe and score their experiences across six areas including first impressions; stadium vicinity; refreshments and everything that happens inside the stadium, as well as indicating overall ratings on friendliness and intention to recommend.
The 'mystery shopper's' visit to Sixfields saw the club receive an average score of 8.3/10 across those six areas, which placed the Cobblers in the top ten clubs in League 1 in terms of offering an excellent family matchday experience.
The club were rated 9/10 for use of social media and inside stadium interaction, and 8/10 for first impressions, travel, stadium vicinity, staff engagement, friendliness and making visiting families feeling valued.
Mark Rowan, Communications Director for the EFL, said "I am delighted to confirm that Northampton Town has achieved the Family Excellence status this season, recognising the extraordinary quality of the family experience you provide."
Chairman Kelvin Thomas added, "Receiving this award shows our matchday experience for families is valued and highly regarded.
"Everyone at the club works very hard to make all supporters feel welcome at Sixfields and for first time visitors to score us as highly as they do is very pleasing."
Only this week, a visiting Plymouth Argyle said of his visit to Sixfields for the game with Argyle: "I took my 9 year old son to watch a Plymouth game (at home) previously. He doesn't come often but is getting into football so I wanted him to experience a game. Unfortunately a small minority of both home and away fans at that previous game acted disgracefully that day and I ended up running out with a crying son under my arm to get away from the idiots throwing things and wanting to fight. Since then he has been petrified at the thought of going back where 'the angry men are'.
"I made a brave but calculated decision to bring him to Northampton. It took much persuasion. I had heard that NTFC were family friendly and welcoming. This was absolutely the case with Cobblers fans chatting to us and sharing jokes. People could not have been more welcoming and my son now understands it will hopefully be rare to find the bad scenario he experienced at a previous game. A kick about on the grass overlooking Sixfields also helped!”
Kelvin Thomas continued, "In addition to the fantastic feedback we have received from both home and away supporters, we have seen a record number of youngsters enjoying a matchday experience at Sixfields this season and the number of families attending has also increased, that is in no small part down to the matchday experience we offer.
"While it is natural for a club to be judged on first team results only, we should never forget that there is much more to a community football club than just results. We feel we have a lot to be proud of here, and we are delighted the EFL and the judges agree with us."
Match and season tickets are free at Sixfields for under 7s. while under 10s match tickets are just £10 if purchased ahead of a matchday. Tickets are available via ntfcdirect.co.uk