Aldershot Town reckon they’re on the right road to success – by forming a unique partnership with the UK’s largest coach operator to help benefit our local serving soldiers.
The Shots have teamed up with National Express in a tie that will see the firm buy tickets from the club for dedicated use by service personnel stationed at Aldershot Garrison.
Hundreds of tickets will be offered to servicemen and women at the Garrison, and military personnel will be able to take their pick from Conference Premier fixtures throughout the season which kicks off on August 9.
It is hoped the initiative will prove popular with all personnel ranging from football fans to people simply looking for a free way to spend time with comrades, family or friends.
And to celebrate last Friday, chairman Shahid Azeem brought along first-teamers Brett Williams and Joe Oastler, plus 100-year-old superfan Frank Burt, to launch the venture, flanked by top military personnel and leaders in the National Express’ ‘Military Promise’ venture, which delivers a package of benefits for serving personnel at 60 per cent off all standard fares.
Tom Stables, Managing Director National Express UK Coach, said: “Watching football on a Saturday is part of the fabric of British life so it seems appropriate that as a company that serves people across the UK that we’re able to offer our support to a local club.
“As a business we are committed to adding value to the communities in which we serve and we’re really pleased to be able to offer our support to Aldershot Town FC. We really hope that servicemen and women enjoy the tickets and get behind the club.”
Mr Azeem added: “We are aiming to make Aldershot the most inclusive and community-focused club in the land. The local Army personnel are very much part of the fibre of our community and we are delighted that we can bring the club closer to them with the fabulous support of National Express.”
Richard Graham, Aldershot Town Commercial Consultant and creator of the Seats for Soldiers scheme, said: “Seats for Soldiers is a unique idea that we created as a way for the club and patriotic companies such as National Express to pay tribute to the troops and their families.
“Football is a popular activity with the soldiers and their families and provides the opportunities at which football fans can show their respect and affection for our men and women in uniform. As a former Army kid myself I really hope that other sports clubs will follow our lead.”
And Colonel Charlie Lambert, Commander of Aldershot Garrison, added: “We’re extremely keen to promote local community business, and I’ve been hugely impressed by the engagement from the football club with the Garrison, and I’m even more delighted to see a national company that wants to support this local initiative.
“The response I’ve had so far is that the soldiers are chuffed to be given the opportunity to come and support their local football team.”