By introducing the names ‘Championship’, ‘League One’ and ‘League Two’, The Football League has begun a concerted effort to refresh the public’s perception of the competition. In doing so we are seeking to reclaim rather than dispense with our heritage. Our top clubs will be competing for the same trophy that has been used since the end of the nineteenth century - a Trophy that is engraved ‘The Football League Championship Cup’.
The aim of this re-branding exercise is to make our matches more attractive to a wider audience, so that more people regularly choose to spend their Saturday afternoons at Football League matches and in addition to make our competition and clubs more attractive to commercial partners. By achieving these ambitions we will help to ensure the long-term viability of The Football League.
The supporters are central to these plans. Last season 16m supporters attended League games; the most for 40 years. We are looking to build on this to attract 21m supporters to League games by 2010. To achieve this goal we as a League must ensure that the next generation of football supporters follow their local club.
How are we proposing to do this? By focusing our attention on the integral role all the clubs play in their local communities.
Our 72 clubs are the embodiment of community; in many cases they are the biggest communal activity in their towns and cities. We want to further enhance the value of each club to its local community.
What does this mean in practice? During the next twelve months The League plans to develop a series of initiatives in conjunction with the clubs. These will enhance the relationship and links that clubs have with their supporters and communities, encourage more people to attend games at their local clubs, increase the number of children playing football and deliver vital new commercial revenue.
The Football League is developing a sense of renewed confidence and an enhanced appreciation of its values, and its value for money. Our competition is about ‘real football for real fans’.
Thank you for the support you give your club and the Football League.
Sir Brian Mawhinney
Chairman, The Football League