NEWS: Chelsea turns to PR to tackle City image

Chelsea Village, the company which owns Chelsea Football Club, is considering hiring its first PR consultancy to advise on its corporate image and relations with the City and financial press.

Chelsea Village, the company which owns Chelsea Football Club, is

considering hiring its first PR consultancy to advise on its corporate

image and relations with the City and financial press.



The company, which floated on the Alternative Investment Market in

March, has been dogged by uncertainty since the death last month of its

vice-chairman Matthew Harding.



Harding owned 25 per cent of the company and his death has put a

question mark over the planned development of the club. Chelsea Village

finance director Michael Russell stressed that the search for a PR

agency was still in its initial stages.



‘It’s something we haven’t done before and we are just considering it,’

he said. ‘The process is at a very embryonic stage and we haven’t

finalised our views yet.’



Russell added that it was likely the board would ask a consultancy, if

selected, to manage a wide-ranging brief including corporate and

financial public relations. ‘It’s likely we will consider both,’ he

said. The final decision to hire an agency will rest with the board,

headed by chairman Ken Bates.



Chelsea Village has no central press or publicity function. PR for the

football club is managed through the marketing department, while a sales

team handles promotion for the company’s conference and banqueting

facilities. Press releases about the company’s financial performance are

issued from the managing director’s office and circulated through the

Press Association.



Valued at around pounds 160 million, Chelsea is the latest publicly-

quoted football club to seek PR support. Last month Sunderland Football

Club hired Buchanan to support its planned flotation (PR Week, 25

October).



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