Date: 28th October 2014 at 11:10pm
Written by:

Further to my blog entry in June on the loss of Weslowski to Shrewsbury I would like to update on progress to date at Oldham.

At the time there were 3 possible reasons for the loss of Wes, that is:

* Finances – Simon Corney’s recent Oldham Chron editorial was refreshing and allowed your average fan understand the workings and restrictions placed on lower league teams – all of which have obscure business plans that would not be supported in the normal business environment. Thus this was proven as a contributor to Wes’ move.

* Club potential – Micky Mellon’s ambitions have been proven at Shrewsbury. But Latics has its own ambitions and new players becoming heroes to the fantastic number of young new fans seen at our games every week (e.g Forte (of course), Elokobi (inspirational leader), Philliskirk (massive engine), Mills (Mr Consistency), James Wilson (the next big transfer), etc….).

* Current squad – Johnson had players coming through capable of replacing the losses (Wes, Grounds, Tarks, Smith) e.g Clarke-Harris (since sold for a fantastic fee for an unfinished player). Also, Johno’s signings have been astute and inspirational, creating a squad and team unit not dependent on individuals but adaptable to changes without drastic losses in form.

I have attended all but one match so far (financial reason – job loss) and the enjoyment and enthusiasm continues to grow.

There is a new wave of young support reminiscent of 73-74 that ‘bounces’ all the way through each game – which has spread to us oldsters in the Main Stand.

We are now seeing a club that is proven to be well run within the financial restrictions placed on it. We see a team that is to me the best since the mid 00’s (play-offs) and players that young fans can rave about. We have a young manager that has great potential and who appreciates the growing support and noise made.

Finally we have a future. Bradford was the highest gate of the season – nearly 6,000. We have not lost in14 games – a hard team to beat that is scoring. A new stand. And a commercial strategy that on the face of it looks like we can rely on our own efforts to fund the future – organic growth.

HOWEVER – one area that Mr Corney could look at – engagement and retention of the individual fan.
Whilst the commercial aspect of the off-field team is developing I see little evidence of marketing aimed at the core fan. Rather I see focus on rightly on corporate marketing.

I am a season ticket holder and would have expected that this ready-made database of repetitive income and support be recognised and courted over the past few seasons. Instead all I see is a letter of thanks stating that my season ticket is ready for collection.

Also I am not aware of the members scheme we had in the late 80’s/90’s. Do we still have one?

There is a catchments of over 250,000 within a 15 mile radius of Boundary Park (sorry Simon – it will always be). If we were to capture the interest of just 5% of this we could regularly fill the upcoming expanded seating to capacity (12,500).

Football fans are a special entity. Not only are they customers, some are shareholders, and all are stakeholders – they have massive interest and involvement in a business that produces no monetary return for them but rather enjoyment, sadness and sometimes pain.

Most fans cry out for information about their club – that is communication. Many fans want involvement – that is how can they make a difference. A few even look to immerse themselves in the club they support.

What is true is that we can court a lot more fans than the core 3,000 we have at present. All fans would contribute more if they feel they are an inclusive part of the club and this could be achieved through granular marketing communications.

A controlled website is not the only answer. Get to know the lone fan very closely and what they want on match-days (and beyond), record this into a targeted database, position the message to be communicated and start to pull the fanatics into the club by showing they make a real difference. Work on their referral skills to get other potential fans to join them at games – then see the income grow.

Social media word of mouth comms is proving itself – it is immediate and potentially viral and so needs to be used.

Imagine this – a text / email message on match-day asking them if they are coming to the game or promoting that days match? This can also be subject to a special offer of a reduced value smaller on-line programme (Visa payments are great). ??? = increased engagement with fans and potential sales of programmes even if the fan cannot attend the game.

AIDA – attention, interest, desire, action. The actual match is not the whole – the history, the social side, the moans and groans, the stadium, the weekly build-up, the merchandise, the home made merchandise, the blogs, the social media, etc….

Enough said – but there is a lot, lot more.

This site is looking for bloggers, so if you’re a fan that can offer us a genuine opinion we would love to share it with the masses!

To email your own unique article/blog for publishing

Join The Vital Debate