Skip to content

Archive for

Will the grass be greener? #Brexit

It will take a while to realize the full implications of #Brexit.  Not everyone will agree with my musings, but I seek to at least get it off my chest.

I was undecided at first, but decided to understand the facts.  I decided to vote Remain from a somewhat selfish perspective seeing that my motives were protectionism and crystal ball gazing (at least on the probability of predictions!), as to that I felt best for my Family and Businesses.

As an educated marketer, I read and read and saw reasoning in the economic reports, one after another that suggested, “you gotta be in it, to win it” – at least in respect of financial stability for our once great Nation.

I could recite a Library but just read.  Ask me if I was so wrong to believe:

BREXIT: the impact on the UK and the EU” (Global Counsel, 2015); “Should We Stay or Should We Go? The economic consequences of leaving the EU” (London School of Economics, 2015); Annual Health Check of the U.K. economy and periodic report on the financial sector “ (IMF, 2016); and “Quarterly Inflation Report” (Bank of England, 2016) etc.

So on economic grounds and potential avoidance of a recession, I was in the IN club.

The blue and yellow map representing votes cast in the EU Referendum, whilst reminding me of Fenerbache, showed that for the populous, we now are officially a ‘Broken Britain’. The people have voted but have they voted on facts?  Is it just hearts rather than heads?  I do wonder were the relative pros and cons really explained.  I feel not, just a circus of lies and misinformation especially from LEAVE. The campaign showed untruth after untruth yet this didn’t derail the wagons of Farage et al. With my personal interests in Turkey – some communication from that divide came close to racism – and was at the very least scaremongering around immigration and/or islamophobia.

Whilst, I must stand up for the principles my Grandad, Bill Stores, taught me: “never fall out about politics or religion” there is the odd contact for their views and so called ideology that I have no desire to face in the immediate future.  I do have a ‘gut feel’ – no more than that – that a ‘Gentleman’s agreement with Turkey’ may have been tabled to try and assist with accession.  This related to NATO and use of bases in Southern Turkey and the recent trafficking of refugees from Turkey to Greek Isles.  Maybe this relationship has faltered also – and it will be interesting, if right, to see the fallout from any such beliefs especially in relations between UK and Turkey.

Britain is broken.  Either that or like lemmings our citizens have simply followed the ‘redtops’ whether they read the dailies coming out in favour or not of the European Union.  The UK population voted OUT – although in fact as I always said #tooclosetocall – only just over half did in percentage terms!  The disengagement with the way things are, be that poverty lines, discrimination or UK politics undoubtedly contributed. So were people always voting in the EU debate or in fact something else? Voters voted against the advice of the Leaders of their traditional political parties except for in corners like Scotland, who in turn will no doubt pursue a claim for independence as its’ people wanted to stay in the EU.

The people spoke, as is the point of a referendum – and Europe must fear others will follow suit. Maybe, Denmark again or Netherlands?  The demographics apart from geographical territory make an interesting read.  The younger appear in the same camp as me, but the elder age-bands voted for a swift exit.

What do I believe are immediate implications regarding Turkey? The first input I felt was a good rationale response from Turkey’s Prime Minister,  Binali Yildirim: “The EU should reconsider its vision” in the wake of Britain’s impending exit, be that 24 months away. President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may have been less calm depending on risks of promises not coming to fruition?

What, if any are potential repercussions in the world of sport where, I and ACROBAT | FCSM trade?  If you take the EPL, in 2015-2016, 432 European players were registered to play with our clubs.  Don’t expect them to be shipped out but future transfers can expect to be impacted.  By 2017-2018, any new incoming players will not have an automatic right to live and work in the UK.  Europeans could then be subject to the same immigration rules and regulations as non-EU players.

In the sport of the oval ball, rugby, repercussions are likely to be less severe. Unlike in football, there are not as many players of European origin represented in the Premiership as its NGB, the RFU, has had protocol for a while encouraging the  clubs to ‘Buy British’ with English qualified players actively encouraged through financial incentives.

I fear for households like mine – and indeed many others.  I fear for SMEs and larger corporates alike.  I fear for public sector (including higher education) and funding regimes. I just fear for the ‘unknown’ we now enter – as I strongly believe the debating and voting was a misleading marketing agenda from both sides – and people got confused and caught up in the web of lies.

Of course, the threat if in-migration and terrorism is a serious threat. So, we’ll now have more control of our borders.  Will we? Let’s wait and see.  Immigration has benefits and my children would not have been cared for by midwifery and consultants without skilled labour from overseas taking jobs that our indigenous population weren’t able to fill.

My people don’t disappoint me. Everyone has free speech in our Nation.  What upsets me is the ineptitude in the marketing and communication in facts.  Yes, hindsight is a wonderful thing, yet, with just a little more co-ordination, people would have been better equipped to give their most objective opinions.  Just a few percentages’ swing would have meant that the grass we know to have been continued to be played upon.  Whereas, I have severe reservations that by Brexit the ‘grass will be greener’.  I’ve not heard much yet on this subject, but won’t be the slightest bit surprised if this is the final straw to some citizens – and another motivation to ‘brain drain’.

Of course, as our branding at ACROBAT | FCSM constantly shouts: “you have to learn the rules of the game, and then you have to play better than anyone else!”  So rant over, and we’ll just try and get on with it in the best interest of my Family, Businesses and Clients – both in the UK, Turkey……and Europe.

My only consolation is that I know my immediate people, in near proximity, are still on the same wavelength. Proud of you Manchester and Stockport folk that saw fit to vote Remain and oppose the trend seen across the Country .

“Over and out” and back to watching the Euro 2016. My next holiday is in Gibraltar 🙂

Adrian Stores is CEO at ACROBAT | FCSM: Award winning MARKETING, FUNDRAISING & SPONSORSHIP consultancy | specialism sports and leisure | UK & TURKEY

Marseille: Ultrasound #englandfans

Ultrasound: (Ed.defn. is a diagnostic imaging technique used to see internal body structures). In the same way, I provide my own insight and commentary on this Weekend’s trip to Marseille to watch and support the England National Team in the European Championship – Euro 2016.

I was inundated by goodwill messages seeking confirmation of my safety, and that of my ten-year old Son, after the final whistle of the England versus Russia fixture.  It did make me think, I wonder what the media is broadcasting back in ‘Blighty’ and to what extent was it accurate and consistent with our experiences.  I wrote for reassurance and clarity on my Facebook page:

Home safe and sound my Friends – thanks for all goodwill messages. Of course, I’d protect my Son at all costs. Not seen a single incident involving England fans myself. Sure there will have been some. But any incident we witnessed was caused by Russian supporters. Not trying to dismiss moronic behaviour of mindless few, but expect as usual it’s the World’s media that like to sensationalise and blame the English always as ‘agent provocateurs’. At least based on yesterday in Marseille the police’s official statement was more balanced IMHO.”

This statement from National Police Chiefs’ Lead for Football Policing, Assistant Chief Constable, Mark Roberts said:

“England supporters had been in Marseille yesterday without issue. At around midnight, there was a short confrontation where a group of approximately 70 local youths approached a pub where England fans had congregated. This was quickly dealt with by French police and one English supporter was arrested. We are aware of no further incidents overnight.”

The trip will be remembered as one of the most enjoyable breaks in my life.  An emotional, fun and quality time in the most part for Father and Son in their first international football adventure.  This Video highlights just a few snippets of our ‘holiday fun’.

All day long, on match day, we had ‘a ball’ (excuse the pun!).  Infact, the whole trip was in the same vein.  Fans from clubs throughout England chatted and entertained one another in a convivial fashion.  I could recall numerous, but as a minimum we spoke to fans from Burnley, Tottenham, Oldham, QPR, Leeds, WBA, Everton etc.  All fans from England played their part in creating a fantastic atmosphere and spirit.  Of course, there was booze and ‘boisterous’ behaviour (as the radio pundits call it) but remove the singing and socialising and the roots of this great Game are erased.

Such a tone was common to the inter-action also.  All day we shook the hands of Russians looking forward to the evening’s game. Plenty of smiles and banter and England’s nominated fan even beat the Russian counterpart in a game of mini ‘ping pong’ in Marseille Harbour. An early handshake with one ‘rival’, when meeting again at the gates to Stade Vélodrome, resulted in a giant, man-hug so common is that friendship and bond of football.

We attended the Fan Park which was good to pass the time and keep the Lad entertained.  All sponsors showed good preparation to creating brand exposure, whilst soliciting personal contact details to add to the CRM no doubt, and future direct marketing campaigns.  No small budgets will have been incurred for such extravagance.  Turkish Airlines, Hisense and FDJ (La Ola) hit the target, Hyundai let down by incompetence by its ‘team’ manning the stand.

In preparation for Euro2016, our Police, confiscated the passports of nearly 1,400 people as part of the ‘Passport Surrender’ operation. That is equivalent to 97 per cent of the individuals currently subject to a banning order who hold a passport in the UK. Would the presence of these ‘hardcore’ of alleged hooligans have inflamed the situation? Possibly.  Would they have shifted more ‘blame’ to the English fans. Unlikely.  Of course, there’s a minority, that will always let down the true supporters and instigate criminal actions, but make no mistake from our experience the confrontation and protagonists were clearly, the Russians and French.

French Ultras took a focus on attacking English fans.  But the Russians took hooliganism to a different level.  I suspect the latter’s antics would be the foundation of a saleable commercial computer game – and movie that would make Green Street and Football Factory look like a children’s programme.

Supposedly these fans that started disruption in the Stadium, after the release of flares and bangers, were well drilled, of ‘one vision’, combative, ‘tooled up’ and conducting activities with military precision.  They have taken football hooliganism to a level never before witnessed in my opinion.  Thank goodness rather than the traditional, scapegoating towards England supporters – enquiries after investigation appear to remove the instant reflex and blame and appreciate the biggest finger should point East.

150 Russian football hooligans were behind the violence, French prosecutors have said. Brice Robin, Chief Prosecutor in Marseille, says: “most of the 35 people injured in the four days of fighting were English, four of whom are in serious condition.” Furthermore, he commented: “These people were well prepared for ultra-rapid, ultra-violent action. These are extremely well trained people.”

On a separate note, hindsight is a wonderful thing, but the security at the Stadium was inadequate.  We could have taken terrorist materials and weapons into that Ground without difficulty as precautions and staff were found lacking.  Whilst, incredibly concerning, it gives added credence to the work that we are commencing at ACROBAT | FCSM with Safety Awareness which are gurus in sport venue security having planned and implemented successful campaigns at: Olympics, World Cups and Commonwealth Games.

Robin, continues: “Our spotters in Marseille saw them putting in gum shields and putting on martial arts gloves and bandanas before attacking England fans in the Port. We know some were carrying knives because one England fan was stabbed. They wore a kind of uniform – all in black t-shirts and clothing and most carried bum bags, possibly to conceal weapons.”

Football hooliganism is a different ‘Game’ now.  It has gone up a Level.  I wouldn’t be surprised if an English ‘Hooligan Hit Squad’ forms and seeks to climb that League table of Ultras show of strength.

But the final comment must again be taken from my social media.  I posted: “Now this is what really happened in Marseille #‎Euro2016‬ Quality Dad and Lad time #‎priceless.”

It remains and always will be in my work and play – the beautiful game.  Fan engagement will continue its momentum.  But the landscape for confrontation may have changed for good, hence my titling this post, ‘Ultrasound’.