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Buildbase National Game Awards 2019: The Football Supporters’ Federation Away Day Experience of the Year – Harrogate Town

Harrogate Town’s Wetherby Road has been deemed the finest Non-League away day by fans from across the country.

The North Yorkshire club has scooped the Football Supporters’ Federation Away Day Experience of the Year at The National Game Awards.

Mike Partridge, an associate director at the club, picked up the prize at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge.

And he put Harrogate Town’s award down to the helpful nature of their volunteers and the town’s welcoming residents, who are used to promoting it as a tourism hotspot.

“Harrogate is a place reliant on tourism so there are plenty of people who are used to welcoming strangers into the town,” Partridge said.

“Obviously, that has tipped over into the football club. We have a very well- organised stewarding system and plenty of opportunities for people to feed themselves.

“Away fans are always welcome in our supporters’ bar. There are lots of volunteers on duty to answer questions and point people in the right direction.

“We are absolutely delighted and a little bit surprised to pick up the award because I’m not sure what we do which is different from everyone else.”

As well as winning the illustrious award for their work off the pitch, Town have had a memorable season on it.
The Vanarama National League club finished sixth in the division, earning them a play-off spot before being knocked out by AFC Fylde earlier this month.

And despite the club falling short of promotion in their debut season in Non-League’s top tier, Partridge believes Harrogate Town are making waves in a location with a crowded agenda for sports fans.

“We’ve had a good season on the pitch but our mantra at Harrogate Town is that it’s more than just a football club,” he said.

“We work hard in the local community and want to be recognised by the wider footballing community as a proper football town.

“In the past Harrogate has been better known for its rugby and cricket clubs but now Harrogate Town, especially in the National League with TV coverage, is being recognised as a place to watch truly good football.

“It’s very, very important we recognise Non-League football. Speaking to others at the awards, the conclusion we draw is more spectators are being drawn to Non-League football because of its friendliness and community spirit.

“It has that family atmosphere. These are things that are probably not necessarily as prevalent higher up the pyramid.”

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