Junior supporters of Oldham Athletic were treated to a memorable opening to the new league season, as they got their first taste of a brand new fan zone experience available at Boundary Park this season.
Thanks to an £18,200 grant from the Premier League Fans Fund, the Community Trust were able to officially open their new dedicated area for junior fans, which they will be able to use throughout the 2018/19 season.
The new scheme, which is part of the ‘One Town, One Club’ initiative, kicked off prior to last weekend’s game against MK Dons, with junior supporters joined by face painters and balloon artists before being given the opportunity to test their FIFA skills against some of their Oldham Athletic heroes.
Outside of the matchday experience, the ‘One Town, One Club’ initiative will also see the club enhance their outreach work. The club are committed to providing a number of sessions to schools in the local area, promoting the health and social benefits of football, educating children on the history of the club and encouraging diversity within the club’s fan base, while also offering voluntary opportunities to people to help manage the Boundary Park facility.
The fans zone itself will also be available to school groups and community groups on non-match days, giving young supporters the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the stadium prior to attending a game.
Martin Vose, Oldham Athletic Community Trust Community Manager, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive the grant from the Premier League Fans Fund. The project will have a huge impact on our work, both on a matchday and non-matchday.
“We will be able to engage with our junior supporters in a way that hasn’t been able for years and in turn create a more positive relationship between football and fan. In addition, we will have a dedicated facility available to us at the ground from which we can deliver our community activities.
“Football is our nation’s favourite sport and it’s so important to make sure that people from all kinds of backgrounds are able to access and enjoy football in as welcoming an environment as possible. Our outreach work will strive to give engage with people who might otherwise never get to experience football and give them a platform to integrate within the local community.”
The Premier League Fans Fund is a commitment from the Premier League to fund projects and organisations which improve the relationship between fans and their clubs, the way football supporters engage with each other and fans’ experience of the game.