Shrewsbury Town will be looking to build on the success of last season’s FanZone trial when the season gets under way in August.
The FanZone was operational for the last four Saturday games of the 2016/17 League One season and saw hundreds of fans attend across the four matches.
The zone, which included live music, mini beer festival and outdoor catering options, proved incredibly popular and Head of Community, Jamie Edwards, was delighted by its success.
“At the end of last season we trialled it for four games to try and see if it was financially viable, see if it was going to be supported by the fans and see if it was something they wanted”, Jamie said.
“I think it was a good success with a good turnout for each of the games, helped by the weather. It was great to have local supporting bands being part of it as well and it did change the atmosphere at games.
“We were opening from half past 12, 1 O’Clock each game and for the first game it was the usual foot print of people turning up at half past 2, quarter to 3, but by the fourth game they were a lot earlier.”
The British weather means that the FanZone isn’t likely to be operational during the winter months, but Jamie has some exciting ideas for how it will run over the next 12 months.
“I think we are looking to maybe run it for around 12 games of the season”, said Edwards.
“Now the fixtures are out we can really have a look at which ones we are pinpointing. Obviously early season when the weather is good and towards the end of the season like we did this year.”
“We are looking to do it a bit seasonal as well, so if we could do a Christmas Market or something with Christmas Carols and Mulled Wine then we will look at that, but obviously the weather is key to the facilities we’ve got there and what we want to do.”
Jamie is now looking ahead to the new season with the aim of making the FanZone successful on a more permanent basis.
“We’d love to have something that we could have every single game”, continued Jamie.
“This is what we’ve got at the moment and this is what we want to improve on. We want to show there’s a need and know that there’s a case that we should actually be having a FanZone that is operational for every single game.
“We are going to introduce more children’s activities for this year. We’ve got an inflatable and a few other accessories that we can use for children to be more active within the FanZone.
“Obviously, we will have use of the community pitch as well now and that’s something we can extend and have a few more activities with.”
The FanZone is a fan-led project and Jamie is looking for volunteers to come forward and help work on ideas.
“Part of the funding it to make sure that it is fan-led”, Edwards said.
“We’ve got the facilities here now. We’ve got the PA system and the stage, the safety barriers and to an extent the club can have a say in what’s going to be delivered, but we want the fans to really lead this.
“We are looking for a group of volunteers to help as a steering group along with myself and a representative of the football club to have a look at what we are offering behind the bar, what food’s going to be on offer, what music we are playing, what activities we could do.
“It would be great if we could have an opening day party on the first day of the season, but it needs to be ideas from the fans really because it’s a fans project.
“We are looking for 6 to 8 people to come forward with ideas and collate ideas from other people and help out on the day and making sure that everything is ready to go.”
If you would like to get involved in the FanZone project then please contact Jamie Edwards by email firstname.lastname@example.org