When you are proved wrong about something, you can choose from a variety of ways in which to deal with it. You can just keep quiet and hope that no one remembers. You can pretend that your previous comments were misinterpreted. You can hold your hands up and admit those very tricky words: I was wrong. I was certainly wrong about the Bristol Rovers sponsors draw.
When it was founded, I thought the worst. Of course I did. It was something new. It was tough to get a major sponsor for the club so why not invite businesses to pay an equal sum of money to enter a raffle to be the main shirt sponsor instead? How tinpot, was my reaction. It says everything about Bristol Rovers that we are happy to have some local company on our shirts. How much better would it be to have a massive worldwide brand instead? Much more prestige. Well, the draw has continued under the new ownership and guess what? It’s bigger and better than ever.
Wael Al Qadi, our new president, gets it. He knows there could be more money with a major single sponsor but instead he embraces the companies who have been with the club through dark days and still darker days. And not only do the traditional local businesses take part, some big brands, like Thatchers Cider and Heineken have joined the party. Thanks to the commercial side of the football club, a large six figure sum swells the coffers and everyone’s happy.
My own reaction, full of negatively and ridicule probably explains why I would never be a success in business. It did not occur to me that by attracting partnerships with other businesses might have long term benefits for both parties but that’s exactly what is happening. Along with the Gashead Network, a group of local businesses, Bristol Rovers is becoming part of a bigger community than ever before.
Thornton’s travel have won the top prize this year and their name will appear on our home shirts. Good for them. The ideal kind of winner if you ask me. Local, long term partners of Bristol Rovers; how wonderful to see their loyalty rewarded.
No, this is not a tinpot arrangement. It’s fair to businesses of all sizes and it brings in much needed dosh for the football club. People like me should have realised this a long time ago, but better late than ever, eh?