Sir Bobby Charlton Leads Celebrations at Football Business Awards

November 12, 2014

The football and business worlds assembled in London earlier this month, check as clubs and associated organizations collected the first silverware of the 2014/15 season.  

Away from the European and domestic campaigns, viagra 40mg the third annual Football Business Awards, held at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, saw sports stars and business professionals gather to celebrate the work of the game’s off-pitch talent, collecting their own business Balon d’Or.

The event marks a cultural shift amongst football fans, who simply no longer concern themselves with results on the pitch – results off it are now just as important.

Commercial is king, with sponsorship deals and financial reports now filling newspapers alongside stories of the latest big transfer signing. In an age of economic uncertainty, prudence and good business in the backroom is increasingly valued.

It is for this reason that the Football Business Awards was established, to recognize the efforts and achievements of those who’s work to support the game often goes unseen.

The ceremony included categories for hospitality, marketing, apps, CRM and fan engagement, as well as individual CEO awards for each of the domestic leagues. Alongside the clubs in the audience, were lawyers, architects, marketing agencies and charities, showing that football extends much further than just 22 men and a ball.

‘Today business and football are strongly connected’, explained Simon Burton, Director of the Football Business Awards.

‘Football’s role within the UK is incredibly influential with the sport able to make a real difference in communities, whether social, charitable or educational. It is important therefore that the work football undertakes is inspirational and exceptional and the entrants into this year’s FBAs embody that perfectly.’

If one of the purposes of the event was to champion football’s power for social good, then no-one this year reflected that more so than the recipient of the night’s showpiece prize, the first ‘Global Football Ambassador’ award.

As Sir Bobby Charlton ascended the stage to collect the honour for the work of his charity, Find A Better Way, he received a standing ovation from the room of his peers.

The charity’s efforts to fund research into engineering biological limbs for victims of landmine disasters, as well as its work in education and recovery projects, is just one example of football’s extensive humanitarian initiatives around the world.

The other big award of the night went to Derby County’s, Sam Rush, who was named ‘CEO of the Year’ following a vote from all 92 English league clubs.

Rush, already named as the Championship’s ‘CEO of the Year’, beat Arsenal’s Ivan Gazidis, Colchester United’s Robbie Cowling, Hartlepool United’s Russ Green and St Johnstone’s Steve Brown, all of whom won in their respective leagues.

Reflecting on his success, Rush said, ‘I am very proud, especially as it has been voted for by my peers. The guys that you’re working with and in some ways against over a full season, know how hard the job is so it is very humbling.

“I’m particularly delighted for the club which has made wonderful strides in the last two years and really now is established as one of the top clubs in this country, which I’m thrilled about.’

Elsewhere there were a number of big name winners and a few surprises, none more so than League One’s Notts County, which took home ‘Best Club Marketing Campaign’ ahead of Premier League opponents Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.

The club’s Bench project, which treated each new season ticket purchaser as a new signing, was deemed innovative and original and led to Notts County receiving unprecedented season ticket renewals.

‘It’s unbelievable really’, said Damian Irvine, Commercial Director at Notts County.

‘We were just happy to be here and to be finalists against such esteemed companies, so to be awarded is incredible. We’re a very small club in front of some prestigious larger clubs so it’s a great surprise and privilege to be recognized for the work we’ve done.’

Manchester City may have come up short against the Nottingham side, but it did beat Premier League rivals, Chelsea, to the ‘Best Match Day Experience’ crown.

The Blues, hosting the awards on home soil, were not to leave empty handed though, taking ‘Best Football Club Hospitality’ over London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

‘It’s a big team effort’, remarked a jubilant Simon Hunter, Head of Venue and Brand at Chelsea.

‘It’s not just about us selling it to the customers, it’s about everyone who works on match days, all the security, the hostesses and the team. From our point of view, it’s a fantastic award for us to have the best hospitality against all those other fantastic clubs and we’re really pleased to have won it.’

Other winners included Queens Park Rangers, Perform at St. George’s Park, Firstkind Ltd and the Football Foundation.

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