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Watch it…..

Use of social media remains under the watchful eyes of consultants and employees in the football industry.  However you feel, it has merits and can be a vital part of the mix of marketing communications.  Of course, there are some like our very own Ryan McKnight that could equally highlight where such tools have been detrimental as have former managers like David Jones who I’m led to believe detested online fans forums and banned players from viewing.

FC Business (and Aaron Syed Jaffery) has recently presented some interesting findings.  I comment on those of interest to my activities in UK and Turkey.  Like any other form of strategy, measurement is critical to assess ROI.  I was intrigued to learn myself, that one client (a major Champions League player in Europe) had three countries above its own with more social media followers!  Attracting ‘Followers’ is not enough and that outlook merely represents vanity or an additional channel of communication.  Activation requires more calls to action and tangible results justifying any investment and assessment.

From a selective sample some interesting findings:

–  Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal are top three Facebook numbers with Liverpool a close fourth.  Though recent recruits at Manchester City with social media expertise suggest it will climb in this table also.  Crystal Palace is at the foot.

–  On Twitter, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool have top spots with far lower numbers (e.g.  first position Facebook 33M; Twitter 2M).

– Looking across mainland Europe top three FC Barcelona, Real Madrid then Manchester United.  Galatasaray are in fifth though.

– Galatasaray reach third in Twitter however, with 2.7M followers.

Seems appropriate to finish these musings with my Son’s picture sitting on Fatih Terim’s lap in the dugout at Shrewsbury Town as I get starred at for wearing the new County away kit (which apparently resembles a recent Fenerbache away one!).  Watch this space the creativity for social media and tools have no boundaries.


The concept is gaining momentum not least through Supporters Direct’s motivation.  In my tenure as director of Stockport County Supporters’ Co-operative we authorised such an approach to Edgeley Park.  It’s fair to say Stockport MBC had no idea what this meant having never faced such a request before.  At least there are precedents now including: Oxford United to Liverpool.

The main attraction, in theory, is that “under recent legislation if a stadium gets an ACV designation, and its owners later decide to sell up, they must first offer fan bodies or other community groups first chance to make an offer for the ground.”.

A current collective of County fans has sought to reignite this proposition. Will they beat Manchester United to it? What I require to fully appreciate is what this will ‘fans’ or ‘financiers’ do after any such notification, to fund any alternative holding?  It will however, hamper asset stripping.

Football Apprentices

Not for the first time do HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) turn their attention to the ‘beautiful game’. Clubs who fail to pay their staff the National Minimum Wage will be prosecuted.  Never mind the minimum wage, there has been a spate of recruitment adverts offering the opportunity for work, without pay!  2013-14 will result in penalties (or at least that’s the threat).  It doesn’t stop there, HMRC says some clubs are not paying backroom staff the legal minimum.  Research has illustrated that posts are being advertised for work at football clubs in areas such as sport science, marketing, supervisors etc. HMRC is now taking pre-emptive action to safeguard workers by contacting 44 football clubs, to ensure they are not breaching minimum wage regulations.

Michelle Wyer, Assistant Director of HMRC’s National Minimum Wage team, says: “Paying the National Minimum Wage is not a choice – it’s the law. It can’t be right that as some players are paid millions of pounds, other members of staff are paid below the legal limit.  HMRC enforces the rules, protecting workers from rogue employers and ensuring they get at least the wage to which they are legally entitled. Where an employer ignores these rules, we will take steps to ensure arrears are paid out in full and the employer fined. In the most serious cases, criminal prosecution can follow.”

Aman for all seasons

The ‘Indian’ economy is the World’s tenth-largest by nominal GDP and third-largest by purchasing power parity, yet few ‘exports’ have made it in British football.  I am delighted this Week to have become the sponsor of Stockport County’s latest recruit in Aman Verma – and wish him every success at Edgeley Park.

Aman said to the Manchester Evening News “the size of Stockport County made it an easy decision for him to join the club.”  We certainly need him to be a ‘red hot indian’ after the latest two defeats to Altrincham (away) and to Colwyn Bay (home).  In fairness, having witnessed both I personally felt that only Aman and Adriano Moke deserved any real credit from the performances.

COWS (County’s Official Web Site) states: “The midfielder began his career at Leicester City but having worked his way through their youth academy he failed to break into the first team squad and was eventually released.  Having then played well for Conference North outfit Redditch United he was invited back to Leicester for a trial in December 2008, when he did enough to secure a six-month contract, which was then extended for a further year.  Verma spent spells on loan at Crewe Alexandra, Histon, Kidderminster Harriers and Darlington before joining  Kettering Town for the 2011/12 campaign. Last season the midfielder spent time playing in the Maltese Premier League with Floriana (the Vaughan’s Club!), leaving the club after it ran into financial difficulties.”