The Family Excellence Award was launched during the 2007/08 season to reward clubs delivering an outstanding family experience. It was introduced as part of the League's long term strategy to attract young fans, Fans of the Future. In addition to recognising those clubs that are already providing an outstanding family experience, the award also aims to encourage those that have not been successful this time around. Best practice guidance, feedback and training will be available to the remaining clubs to encourage their efforts and to achieve the award during the 2009/10 season.
At the launch of the Awards, Football League Chairman Lord Mawhinney said:
"Through our 'Fans of the Future' initiative we are encouraging the next generation of young fans to watch their local League club. With some success too, so far more than 500,000 youngsters have attended matches for free during the last two seasons.
"The new 'Football League Family Excellence Award' represents a further step forward for The League in terms of recognising and sharing best practice in this area. Those clubs receiving the Award will have provided a genuine commitment to attracting and retaining family groups to their matches."
There were three main areas that were taken into account. Firstly, a clubs pricing structure for family and its embracing of the Fans of the Future concept was taken into account.
Following this, the League looked at each clubs Child Safeguarding practices and procedures as it was important that we provide the safest of environments for our young fans of the future. We also looked at the club's participation in the League Enjoy the Match campaign.
The League arranged two mystery family visits to each club. One visit as a home fan and another as an away fan. The purpose of the visit was to measure the entire matchday experience. The experience was measured from the very first click on the club website to find ticket information to the catering, club shop and stewarding.
How each club performed against criteria within the three areas then helped judges to decide on which clubs truly delivered the excellent experience they were looking for.
On the judging panel were representatives from Clubs, The Football League, Customer Strategy Magazine and National Customer Service Expert, Mark Bradley. The panel was chosen to ensure that the process was fair and open, while customer services experts were included to provide a cross industry angle to what The League is trying to achieve.
With such a massive amount of data, the League then presented the Judging Panel with all the relevant information and following much deliberation the following clubs were awarded the inaugural Family Excellence Award.
FAMILY EXCELLENCE AWARDS RECIPIENTS
Championship Clubs awarded the Family Excellence Award for 2009/10:
Preston North End
West Bromwich Albion
League 1 Clubs awarded the Family Excellence Award for 2009/10:
League 2 Clubs awarded the Family Excellence Award for 2009/10:
The above clubs having achieved the Family Excellence Award were also considered for the Family Club of the Year category at The Football League Awards in March.
To ensure fairness, a different panel was brought together to look at further evidence as to which clubs were the best Family Clubs in each Division.
AND THE WINNER IS......
The winners of the divisional awards for Family Club of the Year for season 2009/10 were:
For more details on the 'mystery shopper' process click here.