|SPONSOR - LETTER TO THE FANS
(Wednesday 25th June 2003)
Following the controversial move to sell off the naming rights to Adams Park, Phil Brown, Chief Executive of Causeway Technologies issed a "letter to the fans" in a further attempt to quell the ill feeling amongst many Wycombe supporters.
The "letter" is reproduced in full below.
Dear valued supporters,
As a fellow football supporter, I can sympathise how unsettling it is when rumours of change at a club start flying around.
Some of you by now will have heard that Causeway Technologies is the new sponsor of the stadium. What I would like to do is to tell you something about Causeway, and myself and the circumstances that led to the announcements of this week.
Causeway is a successful multi-million pound local business situated in the Wycombe area. We are one of the UK’s fastest growing software companies, with leading construction companies around the world using our products. We were established in 1999, and have been growing year on year, with 100% growth in the last 12 months alone.
For my sins I am exiled Everton supporter, having lived in South Bucks for 15 years, during which time I have adopted Wycombe Wanderers as ‘my’ local team. I take a keen interest in the welfare of Wycombe Wanderers Football Club, and have always tried to support the club wherever possible. For example, my company Causeway were the first company to donate to The Friends of Wycombe Fund, and helped the club last year by donating a database of 16,000 local companies, which was used for the Friends of Wycombe mailshot.
Like you, I was concerned by the financial impact to the club of the withdrawal of Integrity as shirt sponsors; the loss of this ‘record’ deal was a huge financial blow to Wycombe Wanderers. Rod Tomlin and Mark Austin contacted us shortly afterwards, and asked us to consider various sponsorship proposals. Of these, the Stadium naming rights were of most interest to us, as this form of sponsorship would fit into our brand building campaign.
It has been reported for some time that the club was offering the naming rights to Adams Park to a commercial sponsor, and there was talk of ‘Adams Park’ being retained in the name. I have to tell you that the Directors of both Causeway and Wycombe Wanderers spent a long time agonising over the Stadium name, but for the sums of money involved, we needed certainty that our brand would be strongly promoted. All parties agreed that this requirement could not be met whilst ‘Adams Park’ remained part of the Stadium name. This would have been the case with any serious Stadium sponsorship deal, and I think that you should consider how brave it was of the clubs’ Directors to recognise this reality, in the full knowledge that it would upset many fans.
A number of fans have contacted me and expressed dismay claiming that that the club is selling its Adams Park heritage. We have all read about the financial plight of Nationwide League Clubs, and whilst Wycombe Wanderers are a very well run club, they are not immune to the commercial circumstances that have seen once famous clubs call in the receivers. So whilst Premier League clubs are selling their homes and heritage to compete (Arsenal moving from the historic marble halls of Highbury, Man City leaving their Maine Road fortress, and my home town club Everton, looking to move away from our beloved Goodison Park), the reality for Nationwide clubs is that they are having to consider every option, purely to stay in business.
Deep down, I am sure that most of you acknowledge this, but I do understand that it is sometimes a little hard to take. Some of you will remember the outrage of most fans in the 70’s when the top clubs allowed the front of their sacred shirts to become advertising boards for sponsors. You would be surprised today to see a club without a shirt sponsor, and unless you are Barcelona, a club without a shirt sponsor is a club with real problems. I firmly believe that Adams Park was going to be renamed in any event, and it is likely that other clubs will follow suit in order to generate the funds to stay in business. It wouldn’t be any surprise to me to see every professional club ground named after a sponsor within 10 years. Our local club is not selling heritage, but is leading the way in devising sustainable ways of generating precious revenues to help build a better team.
For what its worth, I believe that as long as you passionately support Wycombe Wanderers Football Club, you should stand behind the Directors in everything they are doing to preserve professional football in High Wycombe. I have witnessed at first hand the miracle they are performing in keeping the club in business. The Stadium, its name, the shirt sponsors, are all incidental when survival is the name of the game. The most important thing is that 11 players take the field every week wearing the famous quartered Wycombe Wanderers shirt, with an aspiration not only to be survivors, but also to be winners.
It’s for this reason that I am both proud and delighted that we have been able to help our local club in this way. I just hope you come to see us as a local company that is prepared to support the commercial activities of the club by investing hard earned cash at a time when others would run a mile.
Let’s all pull together in the same direction in order to secure the club’s future success. I look forward to a long and successful partnership with you all.
All the best,
Click here for official press release regarding the ground sponsorship
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