Football is not a matter of life or death, it is more important than that

Family Football

Family Football

As I sat and watched the Arsenal last night an advertisement appeared on the electronic advertising boards at the stadium, FamilyFootball.co.uk, and it was something to do with E-on, a power company. They have launch something aimed at supporting families and promoting football to them. But have to say right from the off, the site is just so lazy, the guy doing the free styling is lame, he may be really good but the site is just showing the same very short trick over and over and over. And then you have the pleasure of seeing Jamie Rednapp (but without Louise-shame) go on about how proud of his dad he was last year. Boring.

However slagging off E-on, or the web-builder involved, is not what this piece is about. Also, having a pop at any scheme that tries to support more families going to football is not my thing, but I do have an axe to grind, and this promotion is just another example of it. Big business in the beautiful game, it will just never sit comfortable with me. Now I am sure the people behind E-on are all very nice people, maybe even real footie fans, but still, something just not quite right.

Okay lets get to the point, E-on sponsor the FA Cup, fair enough, but come May, when we get to the final at Wembley, just how many tickets will E-on be giving away in promotions, competitions, and maybe even through FamilyFootball.co.uk ? And just who will they be giving them too. Yes the monies that come to football from commercial sponsorship can be a positive thing, and yes lower league football does really need these monies, but just how much can we sell the soul of the beautiful game.

I also wonder, if I were the commercial director of someone like E-on, would I really want the product to be so damaged. One thing that you really notice, that has come about since the increase in commercial deals, is the scene just after half time in any match at the new Wembley, two whole blocks of empty seats while the last of the prawn sandwich’s are gobbled down.  I mean if I was spending millions of pounds on a sponsorship deal I would want the total product to be as fantastic as possible, I would want the real deal. Corporate fans may be real fans, but in most cases they are just people out on a freebie and enjoying all that they can get for free.

So yes the need for commercial deals is real, yes the benefits to so many clubs from eOn and their sponsorship is undoubted, but, and it is a massive but, why do we let the beautiful game get so damaged by these deals. I really do not believe it is the sponsor, but is in fact the people selling these deals, I think they would do anything for the money, lazy salespeople, bad salespeople result in bad deals. But good luck to FamilyFootball, just don’t lose sight of why you put your money into this in the first place.

 

© 2008 Paul Kavanagh. All rights reserved.