Last week I noticed a couple of articles in PR Week on one of my favourite subjects – football.

It has been well documented that more and more owners of Premier League clubs are now coming from foreign countries and that is bringing its own set of problems.

Many of these new owners don’t understand the traditions of their clubs and fully grasp the importance of their culture to the fans – many simply live and breathe it everyday.

I seem to remember a certain Russian Billionaire starting the foreign ownership craze off.

Some of these owners are welcomed  with open arms like the new Manchester City Owners and some are not like Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett who have had so many public spats they have brought embarrassment on themselves and my beloved Liverpool FC.

The real question amongst all of this is what makes the new owners popular?

So here are my five top tips to becoming a popular football club owner:

  1. Leave the manager to get on with managing the team and buying players – you don’t know best that’s what you pay him for
  2. Back him when he needs players to better the team
  3. Manage the clubs messages carefully. In-fighting doesn’t help and brings instability to the whole club
  4. Engage with the fans but keep a low profile yourself – the best chairman stay in the background and don’t comment on every issue under the sun
  5. Invest in the youth structure and local community schemes as this shows the local people you actually give a damn

The power of the fans shouldn’t be underestimated, you only have to look at Mike Ashley to see how powerful they can be and rightly so in my opinion. Toon fans are particularly passionate and they just want a board and manager to bring some genuine stability to their beloved club.

Living in the North East, I have many friends who love Newcastle and they just want to see a stable environment and a good brand of football. There have been murmurings in the media recently that the club will be hard to sell as the fans have pushed this chairman out but I think Newcastle is a great investment if someone has the right amount of money and dedication.

Football club owners have to remember that if they go for popularity, it almost always ends in tears. My advice stay in the background and back the manager but that is easier said than done!

About Chris Norton

Chris Norton is the founder of Prohibition and an award winning communications consultant with more than twenty years’ experience. He was a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University and has had a varied PR career having worked both in-house and in a number of large consultancies. He is an Integrated PR and social media blogger and writes on a wide variety of blogs across a huge amount of topics from digital marketing, social media marketing right through to technology and crisis management.