Model to copy?

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Model to copy?

Post  lewism5964 on Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:26 am

As my girlfriend supports Weston Super Mare, I have followed them a lot over the last 5 years. Early on in the 5 year period they were a team in a similar position to Redditch, one of the lower teams in the Blue Square South and only being saved from relegation on formalities a number of times.

However, Since their recent managerial change a year ago the clubs fortunes have completely turned around. This is not down to major investment or anything like that, it is simply the managers input and the marketing of the club. He took a team of players from the Southern League South and West and has made them play off challengers in little over a year. They play good football keeping it on the deck and there seems to be a great team spirit.

The average attendance this season has also risen dramatically from 260 to 382 fans. It is obvious that a winning side is factor behind the increase but also a solid and consistent base of communication now exists. Their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/WestonSuperMareFC?sk=wall is regularly updated and looks professional and they are now doing a newsletter like what we used to do.

This is not a case that I think we are doing poorly on these aspects, I think we are heading directly in this direction with the seemingly now settled squad Hyde has brought into the club. I just wanted to provide an example that it is possible without throwing money at things and keeping patient. If we as a club had a more consistent form of communications I feel we may benefit more than we currently do. Its been said before many times but it something we need to keep pushing for because I think that communication with the potential fan base is key.

Sorry for the ramble.

UP THE REDS!
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Re: Model to copy?

Post  Leethall on Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:24 am

Lewis,

As an avid non league fan I have watched WSM from a distance and how they have improved over a period of time. I agree that this model is a great one to look into and possibly learn from, a lot more on league clubs should share these sort of models.

Indeed the Manager they appointed was from 2 steps lower, was it Bridgwater or somebody? He has though moulded them into a very good side in a competitive BSS league where you are up against some top sides like Woking, Welling etc. I was reading Lee Hodges comments from the recent Truro v WSM games over the Xmas & New Year period and he stated that they were a class side.

I also agree on the communication element, the thing that we have to improve on is this area. You need to get something set-up and work on it to keep improving and building this to be better and better. I think this would have significant advantages looking further into the future and having a longer term strategy at the club with fans input will aid this.

Hopefully the meeting that Steve has mentioned between the club and some of the TRUST members will give us an update on this strategy. We all have a part to play from owners, staff, TRUST, fans, Yoof set-up etc to aid this using all mediums available. As proved at Weston if in a year you can improve average attendances by 122 fans then that is brilliant progress.

The other element to consider with RUFC is that by gaining promotion to BSN and with the club being in good shape is the increase in attendances that will bring. Potentially next seasons BSN (subject to promotion/relegation) could mean home fixtures against the likes of Halifax, Chester, Nuneaton, Worcester, Glaaarrssttaaa, Hednesford FCUM etc) where crowds could significantly rise. Stafford have had some bumper crowds in Evostick North with the likes of games against Chester, Hednesford, FCUM etc and I believe they have seen a dramatic increase. Unfortunately we won't be getting promotion this season and the Sourthern Prem is a weaker league than the North but also means we miss out on more local derbies (eg Stafford, Hendesford, Chasetown, Rushall etc) and the potential to get larger gates. We however need to have some targets set to try and get Saturday and a midweek crowds increased by looking at what can intice people to the games. I know this subject is debated lots and there is an apathy to the club in the town but you know if people come to a game and it is exciting and welcoming then you need to entice these back.
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Re: Model to copy?

Post  adiy price on Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:05 pm

leethall i sit at home reading what you say and find myself agreeing with most of it, not this time i think if we dont go up it might be for the best long term. if we go up the budget would stay the same because the attendances havent improved, i feel we'll struggle. that said if we stay in this league for one more year and we're challengeing people might come and watch, winning teams get fans, then the budget can go up, also with luck by then we'll have a 3g pitch and if that puts £100,00 a year into the budget we should be able to compete Senile
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Re: Model to copy?

Post  fingers on Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:57 am

I follow Weston's progress with interest - I lived down there for a while in the late 90s and still get to their games round this way when I can.

Attendances are up because they're now competing in a league that they used to finish in the bottom two of season in season out. They kept getting reprieves. Also, the actual increase in average attendance may be misleading - they have played some of the better supported sides which have boosted home gates - whether their gates will be that much higher come the end of the season is questionable.

Laird has put a good side together down there - Kane Ingram can be a little hot headed but is a key to their creativity - they are also quite good to watch.

But don't be fooled by the notion that they're making steady progress and are sustainable - like most clubs, they have someone making up the shortfall, and while they are probably over achieving with the budget they have, it is considerably supplemented and has been for years.

The ironic thing is that they spent a lot more on the side when they had a former pro as manager and finished in the bottom two all the time - they cut the budget, got a lower league boss in and have improved, but nonetheless, it is supplemented.
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