Lewes FC who I saw a couple of times when they were in the Conference, but have since slipped down to the Ryman League have been hitting the news recently for their innovative posters and it got me thinking about a few other things.
The Rooks have captured the headlines and the campaign seems to be working as their attendances have been going up. Not surprisingly really as they seem to have scoured all elements of culture and have had posters that hark back to Roy of the Rovers in the 70's;
had a poster that shows Banksy's gay coppers for the clash with Met Police on Valentine's day (an image that seems to be omnipresent in nearby Brighton;
and played to propaganda images like Che Guevara and Soviet images, including the one below that was used to advertise a match on mother's day.
It has to be said that the posters are great and it's good to see that they have had the desired effect, but I wonder what impact these types of posters can have for other non-league clubs. Many non-league clubs put posters on their websites for local businesses to download and display and it seems like a decent idea. Quite often these posters are fairly poorly designed and use clip art and worse of all comic sans fonts, but Lewes aren't alone. Hebburn of the Northern League also have a go at the weird and wacky with varying degrees of success.
I am wondering if the idea of snazzy posters might catch on elsewhere in non-league football. At a time when clubs grounds tend to be out of the centre of the town and no longer part of the community, in that the towns have many people who have moved to the town rather than being born and bred it might be a good way of raising awareness and capturing new fans. Ely City had a go during the Vase run, but it ultimately failed as most of the games got rearranged. Perhaps people are just not interested, but if you don't know about a local club and aren't that dedicated you won't find out unless it's in your face as it was. That said with the weather as it has been for the last 6 months you also need your social media presence to keep people informed of when games are off. Something that might not always work with traditional fans. I had to tell the bloke who owns the paper shop today the game was off for example, as he wasn't and probably has no interest in being on Twitter. I am only on it for following news like this on local football, but that is a different story.
It's funny how society has changed from print to electronic media and football posters are perhaps a good example of this. When you think of football posters from the Soviet Union, you probably think of the propaganda type of thing like this from the communist era:
However, when I lived in Ukraine in the early noughties the posters were a saviour. The football newspapers seemed to just stick to the dates and times that were decided when the fixtures came out and the websites were not really much help either. However, if on the wall of posters down the road the kick off said 5 PM at Respublikansky, the website said 4 PM at Dynamo and the paper said 6PM at Obolon you could rely on the poster being the correct one. They also made good souvenirs and I've got a few from the now defunct CSKA's UEFA cup in 2001 somewhere (my favourite being from the win against Finnish club Jokerits, who have now given up on football and stick to ice hockey).
Anyway, it's great to see posters making a come back of sorts and lets hope print and electronic communication can work together in creative ways to bring fans into non-league football in the way Lewes have and not just be the images of yesteryear that seem to appear on t-shirts in Sports Direct from time to time and in the ad pages of When Saturday Comes every month.