There are far more important things to worry about right now such as keeping ourselves and our families safe by sticking to the government guidelines. It’s difficult, however, not to think about Covid-19 robbing us of the business end of the 2019/20 football season. That hasn’t officially been decided across all of our leagues but if football does return “this season” it certainly won’t look anything like what it would’ve done in normal circumstances.
Despite the current situation, our football clubs and their fans are still doing some incredible things off the pitch up and down the country. It’s important to keep positive and talk about everything good that’s happening right now, and that’s why we wanted to focus on this in an episode of the Scottish Football Marketing Podcast.
Michael and I were joined by the Scottish FA’s Club Services Manager, Danny Bisland, to discuss just a small number of the things happening across a selection of our clubs. Please do listen to the episode if you want to hear us shining a light on those examples. I’ve summarised those examples down even further in this post so if you’re unable to listen or just want a flavour of it, then please read on.
No matches or the potential of behind closed doors matches in future poses a real threat to Scottish football clubs, we all know a huge number of them rely heavily on home and away fans going through the turnstiles every week. Clubs, fans and third parties have tried to combat this by doing what they can to raise vital funds that could be the difference on whether some of our clubs continue to exist come the end of this.
Early on, both Dunfermline and Raith Rovers launched fundraising efforts in which they hoped supporters would be able to help out with if they could. Dunfermline had a couple of different ways that fans could donate to make it as easy as possible for them, while Raith launched on JustGiving. Both clubs have now raised almost £100k between them at the time of writing. An absolutely incredible amount.
Partick Thistle fan, Caroline Mackie, has been leading the fan-led fundraising efforts for her club. I didn’t mention this on the podcast but since recording have been reading up on it and her, now club endorsed, drive has broken through the £30k mark. That total, coupled with a direct donation to the club total of £20k, means that Thistle fans have raised over £50k for their club and that’s alongside taking part in continuing initiatives such as 50/50 draws and purchasing 2020/21 season tickets when they were launched, despite the uncertainty of what next season holds for everyone and for their club in particular. That’s over £100k raised so far as well. It’s amazing to see.
Donate a Ticket is a platform that’s been created solely for the purpose of enabling fans to donate the cost of a ticket that they would’ve attended to their club, obviously despite that match not going ahead.
✅ Another milestone – £30,000 donated!— Donate a Ticket (@DonateATicket) April 23, 2020
Well done to all clubs involved. Although the official season would’ve been nearing a finish, we have big plans to keep helping clubs fundraise throughout the summer.
Why wouldn’t you sign up if you were a Scottish football club? 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/s6gEIxGVlD
As you can see above, they’ve broken through the £30k mark in money donated so far across 70+ clubs, with Raith fans again showing up in supporting their club by donating over £6k through the platform. The platform is open for any club to start getting involved in and all they need to do is get in touch with the team behind the project.
Connecting with their Community
Danny mentioned that they’ve long advocated that Scotland has some of the best run community clubs in Europe and this past month or so has just backed that up even more so. Football has the power to engage with people across society.
Aberdeen’s Community Trust is award winning and they’ve come out with a number of initiatives to keep encouraging fans to be part of the club from a distance. Just a scroll through the #StillStandingFree on Twitter shows you all you need to know, from staff members and players making phone calls to elderly fans to homework competitions for kids to all fans being encouraged to “paint their homes, streets and social media channels red” in support for the club.
“We had a 75-year-old season ticket holder, no family in Aberdeen, hadn’t had a meal that day.”— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) April 9, 2020
Aberdeen are playing a vital role in their community to help people in need during the coronavirus pandemic. pic.twitter.com/ueJNEPVxyq
The Spartans Community Football Academy have just completely stepped up their efforts in this time of crisis and need for so many. You’ve got skills schools and challenge activities to keep kids entertained but you’ve got the flip side too which is them delivering over 10,000 packed lunches plus working alongside Social Bite to get food to the vulnerable in their community.
Nairn County’s message to their fans and community was “you have supported us, now its our turn to do the same for you.” They’ve offered assistance during the time that they’d normally be playing on a Saturday to anyone who feels as though they can’t carry out their day-to-day activities. The club really are offering assistance on anything, from walking dogs to picking up prescriptions. Tremendous.
As Danny says on the podcast, some of the connections clubs are making, not just at this time, but through initiatives that are ongoing as well, are absolutely priceless. It’s football for good.
It’s difficult not to mention Motherwell when it comes to Scottish football content these days but the way they’ve shaped their club brand over the last couple of seasons means that even without any action on the pitch they can still pretty much act like it’s business as usual.
No different to other clubs, they’ve been setting some homework for school children. There’s always a Motherwell slant though, bringing it back round to being all about the club. Whether it’s maths by adding player’s shirt numbers together or geography based on who the club has faced in European competition over the years, the exercises are downloadable PDFs that can be printed off and filled in by kids (and probably some adults) whenever they want.
Michael’s highlighted the positives in using archive match footage on plenty of occasions on the podcast in the past, and it’s almost been the go-to in these times. The Scottish FA have taken full advantage and have been showing plenty of past Scottish National Team and Scottish Cup matches on their YouTube channels and Facebook pages. I keep forgetting to ask Michael how difficult the decision was to show the 2-2 game against England…
Both Dundee United and Kilmarnock have been running World Cup of Kits votes on Twitter as well. Killie’s competition has reached the semi final stage at the time of writing, with The Killie Trust taking advantage encouraging fans to wear their Killie kits to celebrate the 55th anniversary of their 1965 league title win.
At the Kirkpatrick household, we decided to go the extra mile!— Gary Kirkpatrick (@garyyyk_) April 24, 2020
The letters are made up from match-day programmes since 2004/05 with of course, for today’s theme, a bunch of recent strips.@clayslapkillie @GrahamKirkpatr6 @TrustInKillie #killiekit pic.twitter.com/tA1KfEwxWs
There was no way we could mention every single brilliant thing a club had done over the past month or so. This was just a snapshot. We really do have some of the best clubs and fans in the world.
Guest posts are always welcome on Sports Marketing Scotland if you’ve got an opinion to share on the business or marketing of Scottish sport. The email address to get in touch with is firstname.lastname@example.org, or just find me on Twitter @sportsmarketsco.