Since promotion to the Football League, the Imps have been undergoing a ‘partner review’, something Liam Scully promised on taking up the post of Chief Executive. This week a delegation has been meeting with Errea in Italy, looking at our kit offering and retail.
City are in a ‘three-way’ deal with Errea, Andreas Carter and themselves. Having taken on board some of the comments from pre-season about availability and quality, Liam was keen to meet our kit manufacturer and begin to plan for next season.
With stepping up into the Football League the level of service we are offered by Errea now rises also, a meeting was crucial in order to lay out our current goals and values. I’m told that they aligned perfectly with Errea who are keen to accommodate us wherever possible. One of the main issues revolved around us having a bespoke kit and the various issues that come with that.
If we were to take an Errea design and stick a few badges on it, many of the lead times from order to supply would be slashed. However, the club are keen to have a bespoke design which then adds significant issues to the order process. It means much more planning and the process from initial design to delivery could be as much as eight months. That said, a professional football club is quite right to want a unique design in order to strengthen their brand.
I raised the issue of supply times with Liam, particularly with the away shirt (pictured top) in pre-season. Rather than pointing the finger at our suppliers, Liam confessed perhaps the club had under estimated demand. He wasn’t a part of the team that did that, but he stressed that he too would have ordered the same amount based on the evidence available. It was another by-product of our rapid growth brought about by winning the league.
What I immediately liked was the honesty about where mistakes had been made. It would have been really easy to simply say the meeting was to deal with those issues or lead me down the path by blaming suppliers, but Lincoln City of 2017 has a certain honesty and integrity about it. New kits might not seem like big news, but when you’re waiting three weeks with a crying child because his mate has one and he doesn’t or (worse still) have to listen to your 64-year old father constantly going on about his away shirt not being in stock, it becomes a big issue.
As a Football League club much is changing, even now, and the partners with whom we work have shown a willingness to adapt to the ever changing scenery.
The ‘partner review’ I discussed was simply a promise Liam made to a couple of fan’s forums early in his tenure as CEO. It wasn’t a tool to bash our partners, it wasn’t a method to oust them either, it was simply a review of all the comings and goings at the club to ensure our values and ideologies met and (I imagine) our interpretation of the value of the business on offer. As a Football League club much is changing, even now, and the partners with whom we work have shown a willingness to adapt to the ever-changing scenery. Take Double ‘M’ for instance. The burger I had a couple of weeks ago was alright, definitely an improvement on last season. Little steps perhaps, but not if it is your child wanting the burger (or your 64-year old father of course).
By the way, has anyone ever had the hot dogs in the Executive Boxes? They must be a foot long with more meat on them than Matt Rhead’s thighs. Tremendous. Anyway…..
Liam also revealed that in the near future we can expect an announcement regarding match-day car parking. Again, discussions with potential partners have taken place and the hope is that there will be ample car parking made available on match days within a ‘brisk five-minute’ walk of the ground.
One wonders if perhaps the City Council will be looking at incorporating the new multi-storey with the increased traffic flow into the city on a match day? Speculation, but there would be no better way to ensure the new multi-million pound travel hub got immediate use than by offering good rates for match day parking. That would perhaps allow for an accurate forecast of where people will head from in order to get to the ground, maybe allowing for street vendors or the like to take up positions? As I said, pure speculation, but the way the club’s offering is evolving I could see it happening.
None of this affects the product on the pitch, but it all contributes to our enjoyment of the day. Ultimately, if we lose 3-0 to Coventry, it doesn’t matter where you park or what kit you’re wearing, it will sting. However, I for one am delighted to see the club taking proactive steps to update and improve the offering to the paying fan. I don’t doubt for one second that, people allowing, this has happened in the past, the difference now is that an open and transparent football club are ensuring fans are kept in the loop wherever possible.