Sheffield United has been awarded 'The Football League Family Excellence Award' for the 2015/16 season.
Created in 2007, the Award recognises the outstanding experience provided by clubs for young fans and families as part of a scheme that won the Gold Award at the European Professional Football Leagues' Best Practice Awards.
A total of 44 clubs from across all three divisions of The Football League have been given the Award for 2016, with a significant increase in the benchmark standard being applied by the judging panel. More than ever this year, Football League clubs are providing families with engaging family areas and offering innovative matchday entertainment that delivers a money can't buy experience for young fans.
With an increase in the number of juniors and families now attending matches around the country this is both testament to clubs' work to attract them, and an indication of the challenge and importance of retaining them for generations to come.
In achieving the award Sheffield United has been recognised as offering superb entertainment for families at Bramall Lane throughout the 2015/16 season, engaging with young fans and families through such initiatives as providing tickets via the Club's United Cashback scheme to encourage more youngsters to attend games, the superb Fans Guide that is on the Club's website, entertainment on the Family Stand concourse on matchdays and the overall look of the concourse that includes amongst other initiatives toilet facilities for youngsters and specific catering for our Junior Blades.
Sheffield United is proud to have achieved the Family Excellence Award this season, and Operations Director Dave McCarthy was keen to stress the importance of ensuring the club engages with the next generation of supporters.
McCarthy remarked: " A great deal of work has been put into how Sheffield United not only attracts youngsters to Bramall Lane, but also the journey of new supporters to the stadium , how they purchase tickets, are provided with information and how we interact with the children and their parents when they enter the stadium.
"The facilities have been improved and we intend do work with supporters over the summer to further improve what we offer - we certainly won't be resting on our laurels as there is still work to be done."
In announcing the successful clubs, Football League Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey, said: "The Football League Family Excellence Award continues to provide Clubs with a standard to aspire to. The objective of the Award is to recognise those Clubs who have successfully attracted more families and young fans to matches.
"Innovation is at the heart of Clubs' success and our partnership with both Channel 5 & Nickelodeon (Nick Kicks) is part of our central contribution in supporting Clubs' work in this important area by increasing the profile of our games among the next generation of fans."
Six clubs have secured the Award in every year they have been eligible to receive it - Doncaster Rovers, Huddersfield Town, Ipswich Town and Milton Keynes Dons, Cardiff City and Reading. Wigan Athletic has been awarded the accolade for the first time.
The Award recipients are decided by an independent assessment using real families that has been commissioned by The Football League, at all 72 League clubs, during the 2015/16 season.
For more about The Football League visit www.football-league.co.uk