Reading Football Club has been awarded with the AmazeRealise Championship Family Club of the Year accolade by the EFL – the second time the club’s family friendly initiatives have been recognised since the award’s inception in 2008.
Alongside Blackburn Rovers (League One) and Luton Town (League Two), the Royals have been revealed as one of the most family friendly clubs across the three EFL divisions and the three clubs will now go head-to-head to be crowned the overall winner of the AmazeRealise Family Club of the Year – set to be announced on the night of the EFL Awards this weekend.
As a club, we continue to take exceptional pride in welcoming families to football matches at Madejski Stadium and this award is recognition that we are enhancing the matchday experience for both home and away supporters by improving some of the finer details along the supporter journey whilst introducing new innovative processes and initiatives designed to make the Madejski an even more welcoming stadium to visit for all.
The Royals were also named Championship Family Club of the Year in 2010 and are now one of only two teams to have been given the gong on two separate occasions – Cardiff City were handed the accolade in both 2011 and 2013.
The history of the EFL Championship Family Club of the Year
2008 | Norwich City
2009 | Wolverhampton Wanderers
2010 | Reading
2011 | Cardiff City
2012 | Portsmouth
2013 | Cardiff City
2014 | Middlesbrough
2015 | Brighton & Hove Albion
2016 | Fulham
2017 | Blackburn Rovers
2018 | Reading
At Reading, we always aim to welcome everyone into our club at every opportunity and our staff take great pride in providing a second home for our fans on a Madejski Stadium matchday.
In being presented with the EFL’s Family Excellence Award for 2017 last April, Reading became one of just eight clubs who have been granted that specific family-friendly accolade in every eligible year since the award’s inception more than a decade ago.
That particular hallmark is based on independent assessments from real families, who make matchday visits across all 72 EFL clubs during the season and its purpose is to recognise the outstanding experience provided by clubs for young fans and families, as well as their efforts to enhance the matchday experience. We are delighted to have been doing that consistently for over a decade at Madejski Stadium!
In September we asked a sample of 10,000 registered fans to respond to the question ‘What does Reading FC mean to me?’ Based on the responses received, we developed a club vision to ‘maintain and enhance the identity of Reading FC as an ambitious, family-friendly club firmly rooted in the local community whilst pursuing our international aspirations.’ And three words were positioned at the very heart of those responses from supporters – words which have only reinforced the themes which have formed the club’s family-oriented ethos for a long, long period of time: Friendship. Community. Commitment.
Ranging from large scale projects to the finer details that matter to so many, Reading Football Club have worked hard to enhance its reputation as a family friendly club throughout 2017-18. Whether it be proactively welcoming first time visitors with children to the stadium by delivering goodie bags to their seats on matchdays, or celebrating landmark birthdays for our long-serving supporters with the presentation of signed shirts to their seat, providing free fruit to young fans arriving in the family section in the Eamonn Dolan Stand or priority boarding families with young children onto buses before and after the game – Reading is continuing to lead the way in family friendly football.
And we certainly aim to make our fans feel like family when there is an occasion to celebrate! Free flags for our play-off semi-final second leg here helped bring Madejski Stadium to life against Fulham last summer, while we celebrated the 500th competitive fixture at Madejski Stadium back in December with tickets priced at just 500p, custom-made pies on the concourses and even Father Christmas and his live reindeer were our guests!
Free family parking for first time fans with young children, a thriving Fun Zone and the addition of a large LED screen in the Fan Zone, ‘healthy eats and naughty treats’ snack bags personalised with young fans’ names and delivered direct to their seat…Reading Football Club continues to aim to offer more to its supporters.
And a brand new ‘Royal Rewards’ loyalty programme, which allows fans and their families to bid for money can’t buy experiences at the Madejski with ‘Reward Points’ has been a big hit – amongst a whole host of exclusive prizes and experiences offered this season have been a dugout chair, visits to the training ground, the chance to feature in the squad photo, VIP hospitality, mascot and stadium tour packages and even a Season Ticket for 2018-19!
Earlier this season year we hosted thousands of young people from local schools for a huge school lesson on World Mental Health Day! And, when we can’t make an impact here at our home, we will keep trying to place the club and its players in the heart of our local community – an iconic first team photo was taken in the town centre for the second successive summer and our Academy and Under-23 squad ventured into Reading to help elderly shoppers get their last minute gifts before Christmas!
We would like to thank all our staff for their continued dedication in making Madejski Stadium a second home to so many families and our supporters for their suggestions on how we can be even better in the future.
The overall winner of the EFL Family Club of the Year and the Championship LFE Apprentice of the Year – for which Danny Loader is one of three nominees - will be announced and presented on Sunday 15th April at the 2018 EFL Awards at the London Hilton on Park Lane.