The Football Association has launched a ‘Together for England’ campaign in the wake of poor attendance figures at England matches, stressing the value of fan support to the success of the national team.
The FA was left disheartened by the lack of supporters at England’s game against Norway last week, as fans reacted to the team’s early departure from the World Cup. Just over 40,000 supporters witnessed England’s 1-0 win, which was the lowest attendance level since Wembley reopened in 2007.
The FA believes that its challenge is to reengage the existing fan base rather than creating a new one, consequently the ‘Together for England’ campaign has been created to bring fans closer to the players throughout the Euro 2016 qualification process. Players, including new captain, Wayne Rooney, as well as Raheem Sterling and Jack Wilshere, will feature alongside inspirational slogans in creatives that also leverage the St George’s Cross. Additionally, a private hospitality box will be introduced in the Club Wembley section of Wembley Stadium which will be used for fan competitions at England home games.
This type of sports crisis management is unfamiliar territory for the FA and England since fans can usually be relied on to rally round the team, win or lose. However, the situation is appearing increasingly desperate meaning the FA has needed to rethink its football PR. Fans are no longer buying into promises of team improvement so a change of tack was needed, with the new line being that England is dependant on fans for their support. This is an interesting sports public relations move as it follows the current trend of putting the fans at the heart of the situation.
The status quo in football is that games are as important to the fans as they are to the players however, with the national side performing below par for so long, this now increasingly applies only to clubs and not country. The ‘Together for England’ campaign is a step in the right direction for a team and governing body that needs to win back the hearts of its supporters.