Thursday, 13 January 2011

What do FFA think of Mrs Wensing. Fozzie: Here's a case study on FFA Engagement

What do the FFA think of Mrs Wensing? 80 years of age, she went out of her way to sign the A-League4Canberra supporters pledge in 2009. The FFA could not have cared less.

Fozzie has spoken.

At the recent inaugural fans forum in Sydney, a marvellous initiative btw, to look at and solve the problems facing football in Australia.

Fozzie states: We have not engaged enough people.... one and a half million who play, five or six million who care about the game....we (The FFA and Clubs) have simply not engaged them.

We don't leverage our community.

And how right he is. It takes work, short and long-term initiatives, to open our ears and eyes to the football community. The football community that will never reduce. So let's get to work

And of course the football community is the business community. Everyone plays, everyone's child is playing etc etc. We are connected through football - we just have to be smarter.

What organisation wouldn't die for our connections?

And how quickly, if we get it right, we could see the fans flooding back.

Is it that hard to get another 50,000 in Melbourne, 32,000 in Brisbane, 25,000 in Sydney, 23,000 in Newcastle, 18,000 in Central Coast etc etc. Sure it looks like it right now but I don't believe it is.

Not with clever engagement, a real vibe, and a valuing and leveraging of our football community. Our grassroots players, our grassroots friends and parents, their friends, our Socceroos and Matildas supporters, our EPL followers, our NSL, VPL and State League followers and of course our rusted on A-League followers.

Would these people rather support football or knock it? Everyone would support something visionary, something inspirational.

Much as they did in Canberra - despite the strong smell of the Cosmos still in the room and in town with League and Union entrenched. Getting grassroots support was no problem

Over 100 Ambassadors signed up - two from every club in the region - I know I rang them. It took 100 phone calls. No-one rejected the idea that they would be the Canberra A-League Ambassador for their club - no-one.

And that's what Fozzie is talking about. Engagement, building community.

We bring our football people together and we're powerful - a resource. Getting more people to A-League games is our single most powerful tool.

In Canberra the FFA has done something that shows they have NO FUCKING IDEA how to engage the grassroots community to grow the game.

The A-League4Canberra bid made great strides, building community, overturning the "Cosmos factor" culminating in 20,000 people turning out to watch an A-League based Socceroos team take on Kuwait. A record crowd.

We had something to build on. The FFA had something to build on. A community working to build football, that's their business isn't it. And we mugs were doing it for them, for free!

The FFA threw a wonderful opportunity in Canberra out the window, completely diregarding the work the locals had done to grow the vibe - with the A-League bid gathering 15,000 signatures and from one who stood outside various centres in Canberra getting sign-ups - it was easy.

I with the other volunteers could have got 100,000 signatures for a football team in Canberra. Such is the size of the community, such is the army of supporters, volunteers, such was the goodwill.

The FFA didn't want that grassroots support!

The FFA response was simply astonishing.

The FFA simply did not care. Could not see a way to assist this community to build towards a professional team. And if Canberra can't get a team, well there aren't many other options are there?

Reap what they sow? Sadly they have.

But with the renewed vigour, grassroots renewal we can grow the game stronger, and quickly.

After all we are already connected - just not through the turnstiles. Not yet.

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