The Football League has parted company with its lobbying firm
Westminster Strategy and is on the verge of appointing a new agency to
handle a much wider PR brief. Lowe Bell is tipped as the likely
The move is part of a wide-ranging review of the 72-club Football
League’s operations under its new nine-man board headed by Ipswich Town
chairman David Sheepshanks.
The first part of the process was the commissioning of management
consultancy Deloitte Touche to produce an in-depth report on the
structure of the league and recommend ways to modernise it. It is due to
deliver its report in time for the league’s AGM in June.
At around the same time the league hired a new PR consultant: veteran
football writer and former QPR chief executive Dennis Signy. He
described his role as ’advising on issues’ - while the league’s press
liaison officer, Chris Hull, continues to handle routine press
The league has also been trawling for a PR agency. Lowe Bell was one of
four agencies which pitched last week for the account, which is believed
to be worth some pounds 200,000 in fees.
The appointment, if confirmed, is likely to involve a team drawn from
both Lowe Bell’s lobbying and financial PR agencies, reflecting the fact
that there is increasing interest in football clubs as an investment
Westminster Strategy has handled public affairs for the Football League
since 1993 as part of a joint account with the Premier League and the
Football Association. It has also run the press office for the breakaway
Premier League since 1994. WS director Mike Lee said the agency’s work
with the FA and Premier League would continue.
The major issues facing the Football League include the dwindling funds
available for clubs in the lower divisions from the Football Trust, as a
result of the football pools being hit by the National Lottery.
Negotiations over TV rights and the transfer mechanism have also proved