Sunday, 31 August 2008

The business of football

Please indulge me for a few moments while I put my grumpy old man hat on.

OK...Deep breath....

As a kid I grew up in a so called new town just outside of Liverpool.

Not the Liverpool near Sydney. The real one on Merseyside.

Up until the time my parents emigrated to South Africa I was a Saturday afternoon regular on the terraces of Anfield.

The golden age of English football.

My memories of the likes of Keegan & Toshack, my neighbour Steve Heighway and King Kenny Dalglish will stay with me forever.

That was a time when Liverpool ruled the world.

A time before money, a great deal of money, changed football forever.

Now this is not some old bloke's ramble about the good old days.

This is a rant about the dumb shit football club marketers try to foist on young kids under the guise of being a true fan.

I'm talking about things like a very expensive must have 'new' shirt every season.

Not just one shirt mind, but a shirt for home games, one for away games, one for the FA Cup and of course one for the Champions League.

And just when you think you've bought enough branded club merchandise up pops a splash page on the Liverpool website trying to convince you to put an animated Liverpool character on your mobile.

Don't get me wrong. I love the idea of football club stuff on my mobile. I actually have a couple of classic football videos on my iPhone.

Note the word video.

Yes I have real players performing superhuman footballing feats. Not stupid little 3d animations that don't even look like the footballers they're supposed to be.

Of course if they gave away the 3d animations I wouldn't be writing this.

But they don't.

They're just another marketing exercise designed to squeeze money out of the pockets of young fans.

Now I could be barking up the wrong tree here, but wouldn't it be better if the football club gave away mobile phone animations, You'll Never Walk Alone ringtones etc?

Rewarding the loyalty of fans rather than exploiting it.

Now there's an idea.