This year we're backing The Non-League Paper's National Game Awards and our National Game Development Officer, Andy Walsh, is here to tell you all about it...
We're delighted to announce that the FSF is sponsoring a new Non-League Away Day of the Year Award - recognising those clubs who provide the best welcome for away fans in the top four levels of the non-league game.
All clubs should welcome away fans and we want to acknowledge those clubs who go that extra mile.
Travelling supporters are vital to the atmosphere at matches and away fans bring additional revenue, improving the financial viability of lower league clubs.
Without away fans, grounds are far quieter, less vibrant places. A noisy and colourful away following will often spark home supporters into generating the kind of atmosphere that makes even a mediocre game more of an event.
A good atmosphere at a ground can also attract additional revenue from sponsors who want to be associated with the spectacle of the match and the celebration of our game.
The cost of travel and tickets can be barriers to supporters, as can poor stewarding and a lack of consideration. The evidence from feedback in the FSF's annual Away Fans Survey shows that those clubs who make away fans feel welcome attract more supporters and reap a financial benefit from both home and away fans alike.
We recognise that facilities and resources vary at different levels of the game and are inviting nominations at each of Steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the National League System for consideration.
A judging panel will decide the winning club at each level with those clubs receiving an award from the FSF and the Non-League Paper. The winners at each level will then be considered for the national Non-League Away Day of the Year Award.
You should send us your nominations via our web form here, specifying why a particular club should be considered. This could include: quality of accommodation for away fans, food and drinks offer, ticket pricing, warmth of the welcome, attitude and behaviour of stewards and home supporters.
The awards will acknowledge best practice and hopefully encourage all clubs to look at how the match day experience for away fans can be improved.
Thanks to Matthew Wilkinson for the image used in this blog. Reproduced here under Creative Commons license.