There is tons of romance associated with soccer (football), and feelings often trump reality as owners set off to build their own FC’s around the world. What soccer fans wouldn’t want to own their own club? Make the big decisions? Live and breathe for a badge they helped create?
The clubs that last are the ones that can garner local support and meet their bills. I wonder if prospective club founders see romance in the business side of things? Have they ever googled “How to start a football club? We did.
As a new club, it will be important to raise funds quickly to cover the essential expenditure such as affiliation fees, league membership fee, pitch hire charges and kit. Decide on the fee for annual player subscription and set up a bank account in the club name.
New club checklist:
- Select club name and colours
- Appoint club officials
- Write club constitution and organise Annual General Meeting
- Affiliate with your local County Football Association and the league you wish to enter
- Produce a list of running costs
- Understand the rules of competitions you wish to enter
- Familiarise yourself with Safeguarding Children rules if running a team including under-18s or vulnerable adults
- Obtain adequate insurance
- Purchase suitable kit and equipment
- Hire pitches for matches and training Raise fund and set up a club bank account
- Notify members of fixtures and liaise with opposition
Firstly, employ a manager who knows what he is doing. Secondly, unless absolutely necessary, do not sack him — continuity breeds success and it allows a good manager to buy into and develop an idea. Thirdly, use all income generated to run the club — players need to be paid fairly and on time, while bills (in particular local businesses, and Southend United’s current nemesis, HMRC) must also be paid promptly. Fourthly, to generate further income, assets must be made to “sweat”. In the case of the football club this, for example, includes ensuring the most is made through shirt sponsorship opportunities and corporate sales (all, of course, while ensuring all fans who want to support the club are not priced out of doing so).
This is the first essential must before you do anything else. You need at least 2 or 3 people to take some responsibility – many hands make light work as they say! Being part of any League carries a heavy burden for one newcomer. From these people, elect a secretary, a treasurer (oh yes, it all costs money) and a manager. Of course one person can do several roles, but it’s a lot for a newbie to take on alone. Unless you’re a strong individual, your club won’t last long.
It’s no use just picking any place to play and then finding out that you have got a bigger facility than you needed or a place that ends up being overly expensive. For a local football team, in the beginning, you should look for a pitch at the bare minimum. Not all pitches need to have changing rooms or showers because many of your players will choose to come and go in their kit.
If you are really strapped for cash then go for the pitch only, otherwise you can look for places which have changing rooms, floodlights, or even a club house.
If you want to bring the sport to your own backyard, the first thing you need to do is put the word out and make sure you have enough interest to get at least four teams together. Social networking is a great place to start, and you can always place notices on bulletin boards at community centers, as well as in the classifieds of your local paper.
“Owning a football club is a statement that you’re at a certain level as a businessman,” says Dan Jones, Manchester, U.K.-based lead partner of the Sports Business Group at New York-based Deloitte Consulting. But it is not just about status.
There are many benefits in engaging with your local community and for that reason outreach is fast becoming an essential component in becoming a sustainable 21st century club.
Being entrenched in your local area not only increases your clubs exposure to potential sponsors but also your ability to attract new players.
We would encourage clubs to contemplate creating a stand-alone position on their executive to deal with this important area of club development and to design a strategy that embraces every opportunity available for your club to grow.
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