Robert Osbourn’s “View from the ‘Van”
The 22k Challenge for CFU Vice-Chairman, Tim Christopher
In July 2015, CUFC Operations Manager, Andy Beattie, asked Tim if he fancied a new role and responsibility on a matchday, and he immediately agreed. It was then that he discovered that he had agreed to try to increase the sales of the matchday programme to 22,000 in the forthcoming season.
Starting with a very small group of programme sellers (Linda and Graham Shipp, Dave Barber and Simon Penn) plus the CFU ‘van and the Club Shop, Tim also had to provide the right number of programmes, different each match, to the home and away changing rooms, the Hospitality Suites, Boardroom, Endeavour Club, Media, as well as to the sales outlets and programme sellers.
As a confirmed “tekkie” Tim immediately decided to devise a set of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure whether or not he was on target to achieve the magic 22,000. With 23 home league matches, plus an unknown number of possible cup games, a provisional average of 1,000 a match was to be sought.
The programme, itself, had undergone a transformation, with Tom Stewart having been tasked with its production, in succession to Mark Johnson, who had achieved several awards during his time as editor / writer / coordinator. Some old favourites were being missed by regular subscribers and the task was to make the programme relevant to both new and old alike. With Tom keen to respond to feedback, this has been achieved, in my view, with this season’s version incorporating new features as well as retaining those which are much-loved.
Tim was able to persuade additional sellers to join up, by approaching the CUFC Futsol squad and the CUFC Women’s team, both of which turned up trumps. Next, it was equipment on the agenda - hi-vis tabards and the right sort of money belt (comfortable in the wearing but practical in the ability to hold your cash).
Teaming up seasoned pros with newbies was a good strategy, as was knowing how to present a programme to a potential purchaser and how to smile at fans at the same time as seeking to part them from their £3!
In the event, the highest sales were made with Luton visiting, when 1,300 copies were sold, as compared with just 360 on a Tuesday night in the Johnson’s Paint Trophy against Dagenham & Redbridge.
Introducing the randomly-inserted signed programmes, bearing the hieroglyphic of the featured player has proved popular, particularly with youngsters.
So, how did Tim and his team fare against the challenge to sell 22,000 programmes? I suspect that the target was set with an element of “finger in the wind”, in the first place, but total sales across the season were 21,843, just 157 short of the mark.
As always, in football, there are reasons to explain the apparent shortfall: initial lack of sales staff; disillusionment by a few regulars over changes of style and content; inability of team to win enough games, particularly in cups where progression may have entailed extra matches (I like that one, as it places the blame squarely on anyone not involved in producing and selling the programme!)
However, a pretty good effort by all concerned and something to be exceeded in the season to come, we hope. We thank you for buying this programme. The programme sellers all hope you enjoy the match.
You can now subscribe to an online pdf version of the programme by heading to cufcdirect.com
If you would consider joining the team of programme sellers, please get in touch, or leave your details at the CFU ‘van.
07957 344005 @followCFU
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