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  • Writer's pictureThe Trust

Fan Engagement Index 2023: Fourth straight title for Exeter City

We're proud to announce that Exeter City have won the Fan Engagement Index for the fourth time.

Speaking on topping the table for a fourth consecutive season, Club and Trust Chairman Nick Hawker said: “This is testament to the great work by both Trust and Club Comms teams. The collaboration around Fan Forums, more than anything, is indicative of being a fan-owned club. Engagement with our biggest stakeholder shouldn't be a surprise!”

The Fan Engagement Index for the 2021/2022 season has been released by Think Fan Engagement, and it’s showing most Premier League clubs still outside the top-thirty, with only Brentford, Everton and Norwich City from last season in the top 30.

Two Premier League clubs, Newcastle United and Leeds United, are now in the bottom four of the table, which measures Fan Engagement according to Dialogue, Governance and Transparency. The data collected is collected annually from publicly available sources, with all clubs sent a copy for comment.

A number of EFL clubs, led by Swindon Town, have shown significant improvements, with Swindon posting a huge 100-point, 72-place rise from 92nd and bottom, up to 20th place. Bristol City, Bolton Mansfield & Preston have also shown big improvements. Bottom of the table are Hartlepool United, with the first zero score in the Index’s history.

Winners are once again Exeter City, with Carlisle in second place for the second year in a row, and AFC Wimbledon maintaining their third place yet again. Bradford City have broken into the top ten for the first time, posting a fifty-point increase.

The owner of Think Fan Engagement Kevin Rye, said, “The Fan Engagement Index was created as a positive way to make clubs take Fan Engagement more seriously, with an ambition to place it at the centre of everything they do. I’m not convinced we’re there yet, as can be seen by too many clubs still not - publicly at least - meeting fairly basic standards of engagement with their fans.

“But we know huge change is possible. You only have to look at Swindon Town under Clem Morfuni and Rob Angus to see it can be done. It’s not a matter of size, it’s a matter of willingness. They chose to embrace Fan Engagement at the heart of their business model, and it’s paying off. The same can be said of clubs like Bradford City and Bristol Rovers. Both were languishing towards the bottom of the table in 2018/2019, but now they’re comfortably amongst the best twenty clubs in the country.”

Speaking about Exeter City, Kevin Rye said, “Once again, Exeter City have won, and I’m not surprised. The question is always: can they keep delivering, and the answer so far is yes.”

The first Fan Engagement Index was published for 2018/2019 season, and scores clubs in the top four divisions of English Football using publicly available data on their Dialogue, Governance and Transparency in Fan Engagement. Clubs were also asked for their comment on the data collected.

The full table for 2021/2022, including biggest risers and fallers, can be accessed at and

Top ten clubs:






Exeter City

League Two



Carlisle United

League Two



AFC Wimbledon

League One



Cambridge United

League One



Lincoln City

League One



Doncaster Rovers

League One



Newport County

League Two



Norwich City

Premier League



Bradford City

League Two






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