The EFL has announced the winners of the first ever Away Fan Experience Campaign that celebrate the stadiums offering the best away day experience for football league supporters.
At the start of the year, as part of these awards, MOMS was invited to assess an Villa away fixture and considering the EFL reimbursed you for the costs of a couple of tickets, travel and food & drink for the information, MOMS passed it on to an away day regular MOMS Patron, who certainly deserved some reward after suffering Villa’s woeful away form in recent seasons.
We’ll keep the ground that was visited anonymous, but put it this way, Villa lost, so it was a perfect game for the supporter to have their costs refunded (like the game never happened!).
From MOMS personal experience of away trips this season in the Championship, if you were picking an away ground to win for going above and beyond their hospitality for away fans, it would have to be Brighton & Hove Albion, and there’s no surprise they won the EFL award for the Championship.
Brighton were happy to play ball with MOMS’ ‘The Great Villa Beer Off’ allowing supporters to vote on the guest beer that would be served in the away end, which Purity’s Mad Goose had the honour of winning.
The away concourse at the AMEX is decorated in the visiting team’s colour, the staff working are donning the club’s shirt and the kiosks are branded with the club’s crest. So, in short, it’s like a home from home for away fans.
Ironically, getting away from the Amex Stadium on the Friday night Villa played there was a nightmare due to the farce experts Southern Rail, but the Brighton CEO scored big brownie points for publicly slamming their organisation in the days that followed.
Tom Gorringe, Head of Marketing at Brighton explained how the Seagulls ensure away supporters have a memorable experience when visiting the AMEX Stadium.
“We aim to ensure that anyone attending the stadium has a good time no matter where they are sitting in the stadium,” said Gorringe.
“We attempt to make the away area feel like a home away from home branding it in the away teams’ colours and added extras put in place that suit the needs of visiting supporters.
“Specifically in the away end we have a regular team of staff that are great at engaging with the visiting fans, and at the start of the season, we reached out to all club Supporter Liaison Officers asking for details on delicacies that we could serve or any other details that they could offer to help make the away experience as bespoke as possible for travelling supporters.”
Lower League Winners
Sheffield United and Crewe Alexandra were also confirmed divisional victors, with the campaign’s aim to uncover examples of positive away days amongst loyal supporters.
FSF deputy chief executive David Rose 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.”
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