Three-year-old Faye Garner Smith has become the 7,000th member of Aberdeen’s free under-12 membership scheme – AberDNA Junior.
The club have hit the latest milestone on their bid to build the next generation of the Red Army, with commercial director Rob Wicks saying it’s “fantastic” the initiative has continued to grow despite many member activities being put on hold because of Covid.
Wicks said: “AberDNA Junior is the driving force to increase our loyal fanbase. Reaching 7,000 AberDNA Junior members is fantastic, particularly given that we’ve had to put on-hold so much of what we had planned for these young fans due to Covid.
“Our aim to be at the heart of our community, with a growing fan base, begins with our young people. Every Dons supporter remembers their first match and we want to give every child in the region the opportunity to have this experience and to be able to access top-flight football.
“Historically we have had a strong core support, but we have not filled the stadium regularly, even back in 1983 when the team delivered European silverware.
“Over the last decade, we’ve seen our fanbase fluctuate between 9,000 and 10,000 season ticket holders. Getting to our ambition of 15,000 will be a marathon, not a sprint, and our kids are the way to do this.
“Today’s announcement essentially means that we have 7,000 new fans.”
“Fan engagement is critical and in order to foster the fans of the future, win back a lost generation of fans, and improve the relationship with existing supporters, we must reward them through pioneering initiatives, a better matchday experience and ultimately a renewed sense of passion, belief and pride in our club. AberDNA Junior is a big part of achieving this.”
Faye, from Bridge of Don, is one of three lucky winners of an Easter prize bundle, comprising a home shirt, an Easter egg, an AFC puzzle, AFC branded water bottle, hand sanitiser and shinpads.
What is AberDNA Junior?
Launched in March last year, and supported by the Evening Express and Press and Journal, AberDNA Junior, which aims to build the next generation of Aberdeen supporters, has members from all corners of the globe.
When restrictions are sufficiently eased, every AberDNA Junior member will have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of their football heroes and “sign for the Dons” for a day where they will be invited to Pittodrie to officially “sign their contract” and be unveiled as AFC’s latest signing.
The club is hopeful of finally being able host these events in the October holidays and give youngsters a behind the scenes experience they will remember for forever.
All under-12 members will also be able to access two free match tickets during the 2021/22 season, so they can enjoy a matchday experience at Pittodrie as soon as full crowds are allowed back into the stadium.
In addition, AberDNA Junior members have access to experiences, events and prize draws, along with discounts on AFC merchandise and match tickets.
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 pupils in Aberdeen City and Shire and signing up 15,000 by August 2021.
To get involved sign up at afc.co.uk/aberdna/junior or phone 01224 63 1903.