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Dons score top marks for the matchday experience

Club will go the 'extra mile' to improve what's on offer to all fans

19 May 2023

Club News

Dons score top marks for the matchday experience

Club will go the 'extra mile' to improve what's on offer to all fans

19 May 2023

AFC Wimbledon has been praised for hosting matchdays that offer “a consistently engaging and entertaining experience”.

Following the EFL’s announcement that we had achieved Family Excellence status for 2022/23, we received the breakdown of scores – and it’s fair to say that the marks were very favourable!

Clubs were twice visited by a ‘mystery shopper’ on matchdays last season and we scored 9/10 in seven out of 12 categories, as follows:

  • Official website
  • Social Media
  • Travel and accessibility
  • Facilities
  • Outside the stadium
  • Retail & Merchandise
  • Refreshments

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The Family Excellence scheme recognises the continuous improvement and best practice that emerges across the league and rewards clubs for their efforts in attracting and retaining young supporters.

An overall summary in the report from the last visit to the Cherry Red Records Stadium – the home match versus Crawley Town in March – stated the following:

“This season’s Family Excellence assessments not only portray a consistently engaging and entertaining matchday experience for families, but they reflect the Club’s unique journey, its closeness to the community, and the things that matter to them.

“Haydon the Womble (who has his own popular social media account) is a permanent accessible presence during the day and his positive environmental messages help to educate children, as well as engaging with them.”

Speaking about the award and our attempts to make the matchday experience even better here at Wimbledon, Managing Director Danny Macklin, said: “We are putting a huge emphasis during close season on gathering vital fan feedback to further improve and enhance our match day experience.

“We will shortly be announcing details of a focus group that will invite a cross-section of the AFC Wimbledon fanbase to provide their feedback, suggestions and ideas on how we can improve our offering for home games every other week.

“We have the desire to provide the best matchday experience in the EFL. We want this to be not just for valued home fans, but also for visiting fans, with our family zone and fan zone among the best in the league.

“We now want to go the extra mile to make our matchday experience the best in the EFL. We are overhauling many of our catering options for next season, which will include the addition of a number of new menu items. Many of these will be gluten and vegan friendly. We want to encourage fans to arrive earlier and stay later – more so than they perhaps did in the past – all of which helps the Club become sustainable and remain sustainable.”

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EFL Chief Executive, Trevor Birch, said: “Our Clubs deserve an enormous amount of praise for the outstanding work they have done in making sure the matchday experience is a welcoming one for all families, which has helped boost attendances across all our competitions.

“From improved engagement with supporters before and after games, to innovative approaches around the matchday itself, such as creating dedicated fan zones and improving catering options, Clubs are pulling out all the stops to enhance their offering and attract the next generation of young fans.

“I would like to congratulate all those Clubs who have achieved Family Excellence status and thank them for their efforts.”

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