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Family focus for Football League

In the last decade or so, there has been a noticeable trend towards globalisation for the most successful Premier League teams. Inversely, Football League clubs’ interests remain firmly local.

This month sees the introduction of the Family Football Festival across the country. David Malkinson, the head of marketing at the Football League, explained to Total Football's Chris Smith exactly what is involved...

“The Family Football Festival is an initiative we are launching to bring more families into the grounds – a fairground atmosphere at a football match," he said.

“We want to show that we can offer a great experience for the whole family – not just a game of football, more of a day out because the experience around the match day is just as important as the match itself”.

Activities will include face painting, fancy dress, half-time musical and dance performances, coaching, and much more. This will be rolled out nationally across 46 clubs who will each opt for a specific home game to plan the events around.

'I could not have hoped for a better response' 

Malkinson admitted to being pleasantly surprised at how well the scheme has been taken on by all involved.

He said: “I was hoping we could get 25 clubs to sign up, but we already have 46 which is fantastic – I could not have hoped for a better response”.

Malkinson believes that a strong family contingent in the crowd will bode well for any team, even if they make it to the Premiership and are forced to compete with the super-rich.

“Wolverhampton Wanderers are one of the best in terms of offering something to all the family.

“This is something they started in the Championship and continued in the Premiership, and now look at them - they are an established side in that division”.

The initiative comes despite the fact that the Championship is the fourth best attended league in the world ahead of Italy’s Serie A and France’s Ligue 1, with almost 10 million people attending the 552 games at an average of approximately 18,000 per game.

Dazzled and overloaded 

It is however part of the Football League’s wider strategy of attracting younger supporters who may overlook the highs and lows of supporting a team like Bury, for example, having been both dazzled and overloaded with superstars like Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney down the road.

In times of such financial strain for football league clubs in which teams like Plymouth Argyle and Wrexham have had to fight tooth and nail to simply continue as a club, community is more important than ever.

By offering something back, Malkinson is hoping to aid the long-term futures of all Football League clubs.

“This scheme will run until December at which point, we will stop and analyse, but the plan is ultimately to extend this to every club in the Football League.”

To find your local fixture, win prizes and invite your friends to a game, visit www.facebook.com/familyfootball

List of participating clubs:

Home Club

Opposition

Match Date

Barnsley

vs

Coventry City

01 October 2011

Chesterfield

vs

Colchester United

01 October 2011

Dagenham & Redbridge

vs

Crewe Alexandra

01 October 2011

Reading

vs

Middlesbrough

01 October 2011

Nottingham Forest

vs

Birmingham City

02 October 2011

Cheltenham Town

vs

Dagenham & Redbridge

08 October 2011

Colchester United

vs

Yeovil Town

08 October 2011

Oldham Athletic

vs

Milton Keynes Dons

08 October 2011

Rotherham United

vs

Burton Albion

08 October 2011

Shrewsbury Town

vs

Barnet

08 October 2011

Wycombe Wanderers

vs

Walsall

08 October 2011

AFC Wimbledon

vs

Crewe Alexandra

15 October 2011

Brentford

vs

Scunthorpe United

15 October 2011

Bristol City

vs

Peterborough United

15 October 2011

Burnley

vs

Reading

15 October 2011

Tranmere Rovers

vs

Oldham Athletic

15 October 2011

AFC Bournemouth

vs

Bury

22 October 2011

Cardiff City

vs

Barnsley

22 October 2011

Huddersfield Town

vs

Preston North End

22 October 2011

Milton Keynes Dons

vs

Scunthorpe United

22 October 2011

Oldham Athletic

vs

Wycombe Wanderers

22 October 2011

Portsmouth

vs

Doncaster Rovers

22 October 2011

Sheffield Wednesday

vs

Colchester United

22 October 2011

Stevenage

vs

Yeovil Town

22 October 2011

Burton Albion

vs

Bristol Rovers

22 October 2011

Preston North End

vs

Oldham Athletic

25 October 2011

Carlisle United

vs

Oldham Athletic

29 October 2011

Crawley Town

vs

Accrington Stanley

29 October 2011

Derby County

vs

Portsmouth

29 October 2011

Doncaster Rovers

vs

Coventry City

29 October 2011

Macclesfield Town

vs

Southend United

29 October 2011

Scunthorpe United

vs

Tranmere Rovers

29 October 2011

Sheffield United

vs

Exeter City

29 October 2011

Watford

vs

Peterborough United

29 October 2011

Yeovil Town

vs

Huddersfield Town

29 October 2011

Coventry City

vs

Southampton

05 November 2011

Hereford United

vs

Crawley Town

05 November 2011

Ipswich Town

vs

Doncaster Rovers

05 November 2011

Peterborough United

vs

Derby County

05 November 2011

Plymouth Argyle

vs

Morecambe

05 November 2011

Bristol Rovers

vs

Barnet

19 November 2011

Middlesbrough

vs

Blackpool

19 November 2011

Northampton Town

vs

Shrewsbury Town

19 November 2011

Millwall

vs

Bristol City

20 November 2011

Leicester City

vs

Crystal Palace

20 November 2011

Crystal Palace

vs

Derby County

03 December 2011

Blackpool

vs

Watford

17 December 2011



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