National League Best XI Recognition Programme

The Best XI doubles up as a great way of sharing best practice and recognising the clubs who are implementing it. 

For the 2019/20 season we developed a Best XI programme for the National League that did just this. At the beginning of the season, the XI spots in the line up are taken from other leagues around Europe, highlighting examples of great fan experience initiatives used by other – similar sized – clubs. The places in the line up correspond to touchpoints on the the supporter journey – from the website through to staff engagement. 

These provide ideas and inspiration for the National League clubs although we urge them not to copy the ideas. When the fan experience is at it’s best, it’s when a club takes the concert and develops it around their own unique set-up and values.. 

During the season, clubs are asked to send in examples of where they are implementing improvements and initiatives. This includes a brief write up and some images or video to showcase it. The best submissions for each category are entered into the Best XI line-up and shared on the National League’s website, so other clubs can get even more ideas and inspiration, but above ail else, it gets the people at clubs to think about fans and include them in conversations about how their match day experience can be improved. 

In smaller leagues, where it’s not possible to assess every club in a full programme, this is a way of still being able to make the match day experience and fan engagement a key part of the culture, strategy and values at both a league level and within the individual clubs. 

At the end of the season, the best examples can be recognised and celebrated, with an overall winner selected from the eleven category winners chosen. Even with the 2019/20 season curtailed because of the coronavirus, the number of fantastic entries received from clubs across the three divisions allowed for a final Best XI line up to be entered.