Leeds United: the business doesn’t market itself to potential future fans anymore – it’s content with the rolling income of a half-full stadium, complete with the attendant reduced police costs.

There have been no club shirts available in the high street sports shops (or shop, singular, as the case more or less is) for years now, so the kids snap up the upper-end ‘EPL’ glory fare with abandon, indirectly funding Newcastle United as if they didn’t know there’s a team in their city.

They probably don’t, come to think of it. Is it a lost generation if the fact they’re being lost doesn’t particularly register with them as they’re disappearing from something?

But Leeds United: the business is OK – it has its unfeasibly loyal core target audience to fall back on time and time again with a well-executed annual begging letter, of course. Oops.

So, it transpires that it can’t even market itself effectively to them, as the much-discussed season ticket renewal letter of doom and the illiterate drivel that constitutes Official Site ‘stories’ attests. Josef Goebbels would roll in his grave.

All this considered the key question remains: who can we get to fill our new top of the range corporate and hospitality facilities? Don’t worry, I’ve thought about this one so the club doesn’t have to. They’re very good at not doing stuff, as we know.

The new target markets for LUFC are as follows:


These are Ken’s people; folk who know where he’s coming from – all that common sense self-before-side stuff. They wouldn’t have to admire the pretty football, because there isn’t any – they could simply gaze out of their box at an asset-strip well done. This is their kingdom to share and enjoy. The shirt sponsor’s even Gibraltar-based, to remind them of their tax-efficient superiority with every turn.

People with mental health conditions

From Barry George to Ed Miliband, the evidence is compelling that this oft-ignored social strata could be tapped by the club. A direct mail out to psychiatric intensive care units is strongly recommended. A sub-target audience within this target audience is people with acute memory loss – of the last decade, to be even more specific. Recent events suggest that those suffering with depression should, however, be avoided as potential allies of the club.

People with beards

Some would argue that taking your brand to a group based solely upon their physical appearance is a risky business – but we live in a face-value world, and those with hair sprouting from their faces are particularly likely to find kinship with their own. The appeal of a brand inexorably attached to a man that has not let changes in fashion dampen his commitment to beard-wearing would be potent. This leads nicely on to…

East London ‘creatives’

Given his other love of large, silly spectacles plus the afore-mentioned facial hair, it’s clear that the true crowd to appreciate Ken’s machinations, perhaps even see him as a father figure, is one that he’d presumably having nothing but contempt for:  types who like nu-folk and dubstep and were made virally famous in that Being a D***head’s Cool video.

Elland Road can even be marketed as a slightly down-at-heel ‘retro’ venue, which it is of course, but a fact until right now largely under-exploited in targeting new support bases.

Chest makers

On to the business-to-business marketing.

With so much unused war stocked up, we’re going to need a bigger chest to store it – and interested bidders will surely be prepared to prostrate themselves at the feet of LUFC, claiming lifelong interest in pursuit of such a lucrative contract.

After the chest has been constructed, the appeal to the chest industry would unlikely be over. It’s inevitable that chest enthusiasts will also use LUFC’s revamped East Stand facilities in order to catch a glimpse of the mighty war chest, and this surely brings continued incentive among designers and manufacturers: further business lead-generation potential while not watching the game.

Fire makers

With so many irons…well, see above.

PR/ HR professionals

“Oh yeah I’m a big fan of Leeds – anyone in this industry should be. Fascinating stuff to observe – so many fantastic real life car-crash case studies. With this sort of collateral it’s simple to panic, and ultimately win over new consultancy clients.”

Repressive regimes

This is potentially the biggie – hence being saved until last in time-honoured tradition. Attracting and keeping new audiences is all about finding the right moral and ethical fit, and the elites and subjects of the likes of North Korea, Zimbabwe and Syria are perfect.

Depending on the level of regime stricture on outside media consumption, we can even try telling our new followers that this is of the highest quality football entertainment England has to offer; perhaps play them a video of the Champions’ League campaign.

No huge marketing outlay should be needed: an invite to a soiree at his Monaco residence should easily seal the deal – and they’ll be buying their own drinks, of course. Yes, a long-lasting bond can be established at executive level between those who tell lies, stash cash and ignore the needs of their people, while the riff-raff, after years of being bombarded with smoke and mirrors, may well be charmed by Ken’s spin on the old despotic regime game.

Let us toast to future friends!

Written by Gary Hartley