Aberdeen captain Joe Lewis has backed the AberDNA Junior scheme as a way for young fans to feel like they are “a real part of the club”.
The Dons free under-12 membership initiative, aimed at building the Red Army’s next generation, is less than 200 sign-ups shy of the club’s target of 6,000 members by the end of 2020.
Skipper Lewis has thrown his weight behind the project and said: “It’s really pleasing to be among the favourite players of some of our youngest fans and it’s good to hear the letter they received from me in their welcome pack was well received.
“I hope it made them feel appreciated as we’ve got some amazing young fans who are now a real part of the club.
“AberDNA Junior is a great way of building our future fanbase and the players and I look forward to when these kids can get into Pittodrie to cheer us on.
“Many AberDNA Junior members have not yet attended their first game, but everyone at the club is committed to making their first-match experience extra special.”
Every youngster who becomes a member of the Evening Express and Press and Journal-supported scheme receives a welcome pack with a voucher to claim two free match tickets (as soon as crowds are allowed back to football stadiums) and a collectible player card, the first of which featured goalkeeper Lewis.
As a member of AFC, the kids then have access to discounts, opportunities to enter prize draws, and special events and experiences.
Paul Young, a north-east resident who has signed his two football-daft sons Liam, 11, and Cole, seven, up to AberDNA Junior, gave his thoughts on the family feeling the membership scheme is creating around the football club.
He said: “Getting the personal letter from Joe Lewis through the post was a big occasion in our household.
“The boys were thrilled with their packs and now feel a real part of something.
“I’m a coach with Westdyke and I’m always telling the kids that they’re not just fans, they’re part of one big team and that’s exactly what the boys are now experiencing.”
Similarly, lifelong Dons fans Neil Catto has signed his two boys, Logan, eight, and Owen, five, up to the membership scheme.
Logan, who is a goalkeeper and – like his brother – trains with Banchory Boys, had no doubt about the best part of AberDNA Junior.
He was delighted to receive his collectable card featuring Lewis.
The youngster said: “Joe Lewis is the best. I hope to become a goalie like him one day and even to captain my team.
“I’m really chuffed to be an AberDNA Junior member and to be part of the club.
“I can’t wait to get back to watching games at Pittodrie with my dad.”
What is AberDNA Junior?
Launched in March of this year, the Dons’ free AberDNA Junior under-12 initiative now has members from all corners of the globe.
The Dons, and the Evening Express and Press and Journal are working together to promote the scheme, with a view to reaching more than 40,000 primary school pupils in Aberdeen City and Shire and signing up 15,000 by August 2021.
Each member will be invited to Pittodrie to ceremonially “Sign for The Dons” when it is safe to do so, in addition to being able to enjoy two free home matches as part of their membership.
Junior members will also be issued a welcome pack, which includes a limited-edition collectable card featuring club captain Joe Lewis, while a second limited edition collectible card, featuring Ross McCrorie, has also been made available.
To get involved with AberDNA Junior:
Sign-up now online at afc.co.uk/aberdna/junior or by calling 01224 63 1903 Monday-Friday 10am-4pm.