Danny Rogers: Premier clubs must keep PR players onside

Who would be a comms chief at a big football club? It amazes me how, like the odd political or economic issue, football stories these days to develop at close to the speed of light.

Danny Rogers
Danny Rogers

But it is not just the pace of news that challenges those PR professionals working for Premier League clubs. Often those 'breaking' stories simply aren't true. In recent weeks, we have read that Wayne Rooney was definitely leaving Manchester United, Roy Hodgson was being sacked as Liverpool boss, and (on Monday morning) that Carlo Ancelotti was resigning as Chelsea manager.

At the time of writing, all three of these individuals were firmly ensconced at their respective clubs.

Often, as with Rooney, the media agenda is manipulated by third-party agents negotiating better contracts for their clients.

At other times, it is a 'wish' story; so if a manager has suffered a minor run of poor results, journalists decide he is about to be sacked, or resign.

This is regularly based on no particularly evidence, or sources at the club, but simply that it might well happen and no-one wants to be last with the scoop.

In the case of Ancelotti, a local newspaper journalist close to Chelsea had tweeted on Sunday night that he was about to break news concerning Ancelotti. This was enough to stir other following bloggers and hacks into a frenzy, with some claiming that he had indeed resigned. Rumour became 'fact'. So much so that Ancelotti was forced to give a press conference on Monday denying the rumours.

Club communicators also face the challenge that the general public doesn't much like their paymasters - the club owners or, ultimately, the players.

They are perceived to be greedy and lacking in moral guidance, which does not exactly help the comms team manage the news output.

And, finally, there is a sense that English clubs, for so long the richest in Europe, are running out of cash.

There is talk of them falling behind the rest of Europe's elite, particular top Spanish clubs, and we already see them trimming their playing staff.

Let's hope these clubs do not start to similarly cut back on their comms teams, because the above explains exactly why such brands require talented and experienced PR staff.

Football remains a highly lucrative business and the fans are here to stay. Indeed, it is the club reputations that look closest to skid row.

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