The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
Bellingham United doesn’t kick off their first-ever season until next May but the club have continued to make news with their networking and preparation for their debut. Owner Jeff McIntyre has contacted us from England in regards to a very special night for the new side.
by David Falk
Jeff McIntyre has seen some pretty big soccer matches, in some very famous arenas. As owner of Major League Soccer’s Official Scarf Supplier, Ruffneck Scarves, Jeff has had his share of soccer thrills. This is new territory, though. His own side and the development of a new history.
“Tonight (in England), we just had one of the best experiences in our soccer-filled lives,” McIntyre tells me via email. “Bellingham United (established 2011) was the official sponsor of the Mansfield Town FC (established 1897) v. AFC Telford match in lower division English Football Association (Football Conference Blue Square Premier).”
B.U.F.C. were hoping to eventually make a partnership with an English club official, and Mansfield Town made quite an impression. “First off, they asked us to come to the match two hours early so they could interview us for the local television station and do a photo shoot with the Mansfield Town FC execs and team manager,” describes Jeff.
“Secondly, they invited us to the executive boardroom and lounge for dinner and beers with the owners and the other local business leaders. Then they had us walk out onto the pitch with the players and present the home team captain with the game ball and have Bellingham United announced over the loudspeakers as the official sponsor of the match and new club partner of Mansfield Town FC.”
I guess that cat is now out of the bag! A quick look at the M.T.F.C. website confirms that yes, yes it is.
McIntyre continues, “Lastly, they brought us back into the executive boardroom for post game interviews and had the man-of-the-match present us with M.T.F.C. jerseys with our names on them and the game ball autographed by the entire team.”
The way of doing things for B.U.F.C. so far has been to do them right, with class, with an understanding of the sport and of club and supporter culture. Bellingham should get ready for some great times starting in 2012.
“Needless to say,” McIntyre says of the chance for M.T.F.C. to connect with a new American side and with an area of Washington that produces plenty of soccer talent, ”Mansfield Town are very excited about the potential of partnering with BUFC on several fronts. They were the most gracious hosts and really treated us like royalty.”
The Hammers and the Stags are entering into a partnership that is born to assist both sides going forward. “We think that this will really give us something to build on as we start talking to them about opportunities for the future,” says Jeff.
McIntyre listed just a few of the opportunities below:
- BUFC players going on trial to MTFC
-MTFC sending reserve players to play for BUFC for development
- Potential international friendlies
- Marketing/advertising and co-sponsor opportunities
- Exchanging ideas on club operations, processes and overall brand development
- Increase scouting visibility into the US for MTFC
Bellingham United will kick off their inaugural season in the Pacific Coast Soccer League in May 2012.
The match? Mansfield Town surrendered a late goal in a 1:1 draw.