Posts Tagged ‘Football’

I have moved!

June 10, 2011

I thought that I would freshen things up, and start a new blog focused on Fulham and football in general.

The Maestro’s Metronome



Why Christian Vieri and Bobby Zamora are more similar than you may think

November 4, 2009

Ok, the title may be a bit misleading. Whilst browsing the web I happened upon the Daily Mail video special about poor refereeing. One of which was South Koreas ‘magical run’ in the 2002 world cup. Their run to the semi-finals still irritates me as, being part Italian, I watched as they beat Italy. There were some dodgy decisions against the Italians (not as bad as against the Spanish in the next match though), and a golden goal won it for the South Koreans. Funnily enough Fulham’s very own Seol Ki-Hyeon scored in that match.  The Italians took the defeat with their usual grace. Funnily enough the Korea coach at the time was none other than Gus Hiddink, that lovely guy who helped our neighbours last season. Strangely, during the media love in, nobody mentioned previous luck Hiddink had enjoyed.

The other Fulham Link which I will pull out of this is Christian Vieri’s miss in the game. Have a look at 5.11:

Does this remind you of anything? I think my point is, other than randomly enjoying highlights from previous world cups, that even world class players miss absolute sitters. I know that it has been a few weeks since the Bobby miss, but I happened upon the clip and  thought I would put in my 10 pence.  Random? Yes. Interesting? Maybe.

No Logo

November 2, 2009

At the moment I am reading No Logo by Naomi Klein.  It is based around the idea of ‘the rise of the brand’ in the late eighties and into the nineties.  Although it is now ten years old it is still both an interesting and relevant read.

The reason I mention this is because it got me thinking about the relationship between football, sponsorship and branding.  In recent weeks the spectre of stadium sponsorship has reared its ugly head at both Fulham and Newcastle, although to a more serious extent at the latter.  In the case of Fulham I doubt that there is really anything to worry about. The Fenway Sports Group who have become consultants to Fulham and mooted the idea of a name change have a tradition of focusing on the history of clubs when marketing them. I think a rename of Craven Cottage is about as likely as a rename of Fenway Park. In the case of Newcastle, Ashley wants cash and it is likely that a rename is on the cards as long as he cannot sell the club.

If we look at stadium sponsorship pragmatically, then it is an excellent idea. In exchange for something of relatively little economic value ( a name) you receive lots of money. It is of course not that simple. In the UK and to some extent across Europe stadium names are sacred ground. In the UK the few sponsored stadiums are generally new builds (see The Reebok and KC stadium).  Nostalgia surrounding names is still strong and viewed as central to the identity of many clubs.

The question is if this will change. I believe that it is only a matter of time before football goes the way of US sports. Ever since the creation of the brand that is the Premier League, football has been steadily progressing to total branding. The big clubs have led the way (notice how Manchester United are not an FC any more) and others are sure to follow. Football teams do have an innate advantage in the branding process in that they posses badges. These logos give the club an immediate graphic identity and a base for the brand to be built. Football is also surrounded by companies which really spearheaded the rise of the brand such as Nike. The logical next step for advertising and branding in football is stadium sponsorship. With many clubs looking to move into new stadiums over the next few years stadium sponsorship is inevitable.

What does this mean for the game? Without wanting to sound like a paranoid conspiracy theorist, the inevitable end is the end of real competition. We have seen a shift in power upward to the ‘big 4’ in the premier league and this will continue.  A European ‘super league’ would be the ultimate form of branded corporate football, a place where the most powerful teams engage in a perpetual struggle similar to that of the warring nations Oceana, Eurasia and Eastasia in 1984.

I know that this seems like another moan from a supporter of a club outside the top four but I do think there are some important points that need to be addressed. The lack of competition in the Premier League and others across Europe is a real worry.  Whilst at the moment the ascension of Man City and other clubs sustained by heavy investment gives the illusion of competition, these clubs are based on a bubble which could burst at any time.  The FA, UEFA and FIFA really need to look into imposing limits on squad size and wages before the brands at the top become too powerful.