This entry is in response to an article I read in February on EPL Talk. The article was entitled 5 Reasons Why Manchester City Can Conquer America. The Gaffer discussed Manchester City’s upcoming preseason tour of the United States. The writer mentions this could be an opportunity for Manchester City to become popular in the U.S. He then breaks down the 5 reasons why Manchester City can conquer America.
Below are the 5 Reasons why I think Fulham can conquer America republished here:
- Americans love a great manager of a club. In American football, baseball, basketball and hockey the manager or coach is under the microscope of the fans of their teams. For example I will use Bill Belichick the Head Coach of the New England Patriots. In my opinion he might be the greatest coach in NFL history. He is constantly under scrutiny and is a polarizing figure. Belichick though is a 3 time Super Bowl champion ,who whether “you like him or hate him” has the respect of the media and the fans as a great head coach. As a fan I know the Patriots are always going to be well prepared and be put in the best situation to win. Roy Hodgson has put his club in the best position to win every week. As a fan their is not more than you can ask from your manager. I think Americans would be intrigued by Hodgson’s history with the team and how he dug them out of possibly being relegated in 2007 – 2008 season. They will also appreciate how he started to rebuild Fulham on defense. Americans love a team that plays strong defense in any sport I would argue. It is a major key to victory. What also makes Hodgson appealing is his personality. In interviews and during games the man seems under control and confident. Roy would be a huge hit in America.
- Fielding a strong international squad. As stated in the EPLtalk.com article America is a melting pot of many nations. What is great about Fulham is that the team like the EPL in general have an international makeup to its squad. The strikers are Bobby Zamora fom England and David Elm from Sweden. In the midfield you have Damien Duff from Ireland, Danny Murphy from England, Clint Dempsey from the United States, and Dickson Etuhu from Nigeria. In the back on defense you have Chris Baird from Northern Ireland, John Pantsil from Ghana, Brede Hangeland from Norway, and Aaron Hughes from Northern Ireland. Finally you have Mark Schwarzer in goal from Australia. Americans tend to be attracted to players they can relate to. The makeup of this team has someone for every fan.
- Americans love to get behind the underdog. I think Americans like to get behind a team that doesn’t have all the money in the world to spend on players. I think Americans are attracted to teams that have a strong work ethic and have to try harder to work with what they have. A team like Fulham reminds me of the 2001 New England Patriots. They did not have the most talent, but they played together as a team. Another team I would compare them to is the Minnesota Twins in baseball. This team does not have a huge payroll, but year after year they field a team that contends for their division. I think Fulham can be a team that contends for a Europa League spot consistently each year. They are not going to be a Champions League Team. I know if Americans watched Fulham beat Manchester United earlier this year they would be hooked on this team. The underdog beat one of the best teams in the world. Americans definitely would be behind a team like Fulham.
- An American Player on the team and a past that has had several Americans on the squad. This goes back to the melting pot theory. Americans can relate to a team that has one of their own on it. Clint Dempsey is a very good player for Fulham. He is I would say a star on the U.S. World Cup Team. As we go into the summer many Americans will be watching the World Cup. Since Clint Dempsey plays for Fulham it will give fans a chance to see a prominent Fulham player. This could very well attract new fans to the club.
- Fulham selected Fenway Sports Group as exclusive North American Agency. The Fenway Sports Group I have written a few months back about. This sports marketing agency could be a huge help with the growth of Fulham. Their main responsibility is finding corporate sponsorships including on the jersey for the 2010 – 2011 season. This organization is closely affiliated with the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox have to be considered one of the best marketers of there brand in American Sports. This marketing has helped the Red Sox funnel money to pay for players. There is no question that marketing has had a huge positive effect on the Boston Red Sox. The result is they have won 2 World Series titles in the last 6 years. I think this firm could potentially help market Fulham better and build its brand. This could help the team have more money to spend on players.
I think these are 5 very good reasons why Fulham could become a favorite in the United States. I do think at some point they need to plan a summer preseason trip to America again. Seeing the team in person would definitely help build fan interest as well. They did come several years ago for a summer trip.
Maybe you don’t think it is important for a team to breakthrough in America? I certainly can see that. If you are a fan of Fulham you want to see them compete every year in the EPL. The more fans of the team can mean more money which can be used to upgrade the team. I am of the mindset the more fans the better wherever they come from.