Harrogate Town handed best non-league away-day award

Mike Partridge, associate director of Harrogate Town, with the clubs Best Away Day Award at Chelseas Stamford Bridge.
Mike Partridge, associate director of Harrogate Town, with the clubs Best Away Day Award at Chelseas Stamford Bridge.

A trip to Harrogate Town’s CNG Stadium has been deemed the finest non-league away-day by fans from across the country.

The Sulphurites scooped the Football Supporters’ Federation Best Away-Day gong at The National Game Awards in association with Buildbase.

Mike Partridge, associate director at Town, picked up the prize at an awards ceremony at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge as the cream of non-league football were honoured.

And he put the club's success down to the helpful nature of its volunteers and Harrogate’s welcoming residents, who are used to promoting the town as a tourist hot-spot.

“Harrogate is a place reliant on tourism, so there are plenty of people who used to welcoming strangers into the town,”Partridge said.

“Obviously that has tipped over into the football club. We have a very well-organised stewarding system and plenty of opportunities for people to feed themselves.

"“Away fans are always welcome in our supporters' bar. There are lots of volunteers of duty to answer questions and point people in the right direction.

“We are absolutely delighted and a little bit surprised to pick up the award because I’m not sure what we do which is different from everyone else.”

As well as winning the illustrious award for their work off the pitch, Town have enjoyed a memorable season on the field.

And despite falling short in their bid for promotion from the National League at the first attempt, Partridge believes that the club is making waves in a location with a crowded agenda for sports fans.

“We’ve had a good season on the pitch but our mantra at Harrogate Town is that we’re more than just a football club,” he added.

“We work hard in the local community and want to be recognised by the wider footballing community as a proper football town.

“In the past Harrogate has been better known for its rugby and cricket clubs but now Harrogate Town, especially in the national league with TV coverage, is being recognised as a place to watch truly good football.

“It’s very, very important we recognised non-league football. Speaking to others at the awards the conclusion we draw is more spectator are being drawn to non-league football because of its friendliness and community spirit.

“It has that family atmosphere. These are things that are probably not necessarily as prevalent higher up the pyramid.”

Buildbase is one of the UK’s fastest growing builders’ merchants with over 165 branches nationwide.

Many of its branches are long-established companies that have been serving local trades people for years, with knowledge and experience to match www.buildbase.co.uk