Visiting supporters give Preston North End’s Deepdale experience the thumbs up!

PNE offered the warmest welcome to away fans in the Championship
PNE offered the warmest welcome to away fans in the Championship

Preston North End finished top of the Championship for offering the best away day in the 2018/19 season.

Their welcome for away supporters was recognised as the best in the division in the EFL’s Away Fan Experience Campaign.

Doncaster took the award in League One and Exeter City got the League Two honour.

The away fan experience campaign looks at how supporters are treated on their travels.

Fans are asked to report back on a number of points from away games.

Many clubs received praise for the quality of staff engagement and stewarding, the ability to enjoy mixed fan zones and refreshment facilities, as well as the atmosphere and unrestricted views on offer inside the stadium.

North End’s away fan guide gave detailed information for away supporters travelling to Deepdale, also outlining their rich history.

They received praise for their staff engagement, social media content and the overall friendly welcome.

Deepdale saw several big away followings in the season just finished.

Five teams were backed by a travelling support of more than 5,000 – Blackburn, Aston Villa, Birmingham, Sheffield United and Leeds.

Villa had the biggest away support, with 5,629 making the trip up the M6 for the 1-1 draw on December 29.

Shaun Harvey, the EFL’s chief executive, said: “The atmosphere and friendly rivalries created by those fans travelling up and down the country to support their club undoubtedly enhances the matchday experience for all supporters.

“It’s that passion, tribalism and wanting to play a tangible part in the outcome that really sets football apart from other sports and we are proud that the away fan experience continues to go from strength to strength across the whole of the EFL.

“For the third consecutive season we have seen more than 1.5m away-day match tickets sold.”

David Rose, the Football Supporters’ Federation’s deputy chief executive, said: “The FSF welcome anything that encourages clubs to focus on how they treat away fans and are delighted the EFL have again recognised the efforts of clubs that go the extra mile.

“We hope that by shining a light on these great examples, more clubs will be inspired to provide a welcoming experience for some of football’s most committed supporters.”