Harrogate Town FC have been named as the 2018-19 winners of the Best Away Day in non-league at the National Game Awards in association with Buildbase. The award is an extension of our ‘Away Fans Matter Campaign’, and is the second year we've partnered with the Non-League Paper to recognise the clubs who are the best at welcoming fans from Steps one to four of the National League.
The winners at each level were:
- Step 1 – Harrogate Town FC
- Step 2 – Chorley FC
- Step 3 – Lewes FC
- Step 4 – Ossett United FC
We recognise that facilities and resources vary at the different levels of the game and categorise nominations at each of Steps one to four of the National League System. A judging panel sifted through the nominations we received before deciding the winning club at each level. The winners at each level were then assessed for the overall winner and Harrogate Town FC were judged as overall winners.
Harrogate Town were presented with their award at the National Game Awards held this week at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium. Each of the winners at the different steps will be receiving an award from the FSF at the start of the new season.
We wants all clubs to make away fans feel welcome and our award acknowledges those clubs who go that extra mile. Travelling supporters are vital to the atmosphere at matches and away fans also bring additional revenue, improving the financial viability of our football clubs. Without away fans, grounds are far quieter, less vibrant places. A noisy and colourful away end can make even a mediocre game more memorable.
The cost of travel and tickets can be barriers to supporters, but that cost is worthwhile if you have a good day out helped by considerate stewarding and a welcome from the host club. The evidence from our annual survey of fans demonstrates that those clubs who make away fans feel welcome attract more supporters and reap a financial benefit from both home and away fans alike.
Our award acknowledges best practice, and we hope that it will encourage all clubs to look at how the match day experience for away fans at their own club can be improved.
Thanks to MTaylor848 for the image used in this story, reproduced under Creative Commons licence.