Farnham Town have ambitious plans to improve the matchday experience for supporters at The Memorial Ground.
The club’s new SO Resi Family Stand was officially opened before the 2-2 draw against Camberley Town this month, and is part of a wider strategy to improve the offering at the club.
“My goal when I became a part of Farnham Town was about making Farnham the best matchday experience in non-league in the UK,” said club director Harry Hugo. “That’s the goal.
“To achieve that we need to have the best facility, the best food, the cheapest beer, be a safe environment for families, but also be a fun environment for proper football fans. We want to encourage our players to interact with the crowd – all these things make a big difference – and I want people who come to Farnham to leave and say that was a great day out.
“In a modern world where it costs a lot of money to go to Premier League football, you could come to Farnham Town and spend £20, come in, have a couple of pints, a burger, and have a really good time with your son or daughter – and they come in for free.
“It should be a really good experience – that’s what we’re trying to achieve.
“We’ve still got a long way to go, but the new stand, the railings, the digital scoreboard and everything else that has happened is the beginning of our mission to be the best non-league fan experience in the UK.”
The new stand proved popular with fans on its matchday debut against Camberley, and Hugo paid tribute to everyone who helped make it become a reality.
“The new stand looks amazing – everyone who has been involved, with funding, putting it up and getting everything ready, has done an amazing job,” he said.
“I think it’s a testament to everyone who has put time, effort, love, blood, sweat and tears into the club over the past few years.
“We’re starting to see that all pay off in the infrastructure and the facilities that are being improved at Farnham Town, and it’s really exciting.
“We’ve achieved quite a lot off the field over the past nine months.
“All these things are improving the community feel of the club, and also progressing it into a facility that can handle the attendances we’ve been getting this season.
“We’ve had some big attendances – we’re averaging more than 375 a game. We’ve done a lot of good work. We’ve come in and taken a bit of the glory, but it’s important everyone gets recognition for their hard work.
“We’re very lucky to have an amazing youth section at Farnham Town, and lots of our good attendances have been because the youth teams have come down and enjoyed it.
“The new stand is a perfect opportunity for families to come and utilise a proper family experience at Farnham Town, which is great.
“We’ve got two very different parts of the ground. We’ve got the Clock Enders, which is the core hardcore fans who want to chant and sing, but it’s also important we have an area that mums, dads and kids can come, sit down, have a burger and a drink, and be comfortable. For kids coming to learn about the game, this is the best way to watch football. You get close and you can meet the players in the clubhouse afterwards.
“It’s an amazing thing to add to our club and another stake in the ground of what we’re trying to achieve at Farnham Town.”
Farnham have enjoyed huge success across social media this season, with lots of online interaction with fans and impressive viewing figures for the club’s social media content, and Hugo explained this has translated into a positive physical impact for the club as well.
“Digital has been a massive gain area for us,” he said. “More than 60,000 people follow us on TikTok, 5,500 people follow us on YouTube, and more than 11,000 people follow us on Instagram. Nearly 100,000 people follow Farnham Town across social media.
“Every week our videos reach hundreds of thousands of people across the world, and people are travelling here to come to watch Farnham. We’ve got stories of people coming from Scotland and Manchester because their son wanted to come to watch Farnham because they’ve seen us online.
“These stories are heart-warming and are a testament to all the hard work that’s been going on behind the scenes. We’re trying to build this club sustainably – this isn’t about injecting loads of money into the club and putting it all on the pitch.
“It’s all gone into infrastructure and things to drive revenue to build a sustainable club. If I’m not here in ten years’ time the club walk away with a much better facility and an ability to generate revenue at a much greater scale.”
There are plenty of plans in place for future improvements at The Memorial Ground.
“Pitchside toilets will be going in soon,” said Hugo. “We also want more covered standing areas and to continue to improve the clubhouse facilities. People who come to the first game of the 2023-24 season will see a much-improved Farnham Town. We need to make sure we’re continuing to innovate and don’t stand still. This summer there’s going to be a lot of work going on.
“If people want to get in touch and help out – as a matchday volunteer or to give their time on a Saturday in July to help us paint a fence – then we’re all ears. We really appreciate the local support and are appreciative of the community that’s pulled together.
“Get in touch on Twitter or via the website, or come down to a game. All of the directors and the committee are at the games. We’re volunteers – we’ll be on the gate, filming, commentating, doing social media and getting the balls from the car park. This is a volunteer-led club, and as our club gets bigger we need more people to be involved.”