Aberdeen FC will welcome 500 new signings this weekend as young Dons fans get the chance to “sign” for their club.
The first two “Sign for the Dons” events, on Friday and Saturday, are a key part of the club’s free AberDNA Junior under-12s initiative, which is being supported by the Evening Express and the Press and Journal.
With Covid-19 rules finally relaxing enough to allow it, the first fans “signed their contracts” on Friday morning before giving interviews in the press room, followed by a tour of the home changing room.
The young Dons were also treated to a video message from Reds captain Scott Brown before they ran out of the tunnel on to the Pittodrie pitch for the first time.
Scott Gormal is Aberdeen’s of marketing and hopes the “Sign for the Dons” days will help the club engage with the next generation of fans.
He said: “They get to do all the cool things that players do when they sign for the club. Hopefully there is going to be lots of smiling faces and excited children.
“We just want to create opportunities for the kids and make them want to come back to our matches. It’s been great to see so many kids to come in with shirts, and the full strips with the names printed on the back.
“Long term, it needs to be about getting more Aberdeen fans supporting the local team rather than maybe an English Premier League side, so getting them along here today is a big part of that.
“It’s about providing access to opportunities that they might not be able to get at other clubs.”
The young fans were excited to visit Pittodrie on Friday to sign their contract and see the stadium from the inside.
When asked what his favourite part of the signing day was, one little boy cheerfully replied: “I have had three favourite bits, it’s been everything.”
Improving fan engagement
As members of AberDNA Junior, the young fans also get two tickets to a game at Pittodrie this season, with 1,000 of these tickets already claimed, as well as a host of other benefits.
This weekend’s “Sign for the Dons” days are just the beginning as the club hopes to continue hosting “signing” days throughout the season.
Gormal said: “We’ve got 8,000 AberDNA members. We’re gonna get through 500 this weekend, so there’s still quite a way to go.
“It looks like it has been a success already and we’d hope to have more events in the October holidays and schedule more throughout the season.
“A big part of this is coming to Pittodrie, but we would like to take this on the road, if we can get out into the community and take parts of it into schools and sports clubs throughout the city and shire.
“We need to try and get to as many of those 8,000 fans as possible.”
Scottish Football brand
Gormal believes “Sign for the Dons” days can help improve the SPFL brand as fans are given better opportunities within the club.
He said: “The statement was clear that we feel we can be getting more out of the brand, more investment into Scottish football, but it’s about giving better experiences for the fans.
“It’s about being open to things that we haven’t done before. This is something that we’ve never done before as a club, to open the doors and give access to the kids.”
To sign your child up to the AberDNA Junior initiative, so they can attend future “signing” days, click here.
You can get further details on AberDNA Junior by contacting the Dons’ ticket office on 01224 63 1903 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org