Stansted FC is hoping local businesses rally behind its bid to replicate the first team’s cup-winning success by taking up sponsorship opportunities at Hargrave Park.

Last year, the team were winners of the Errington Cup and Gordon Brasted Trophy and narrowly missed out on winning the Essex Senior League. The aborted 2019/20 season had seen the team soar through the standings following a tepid start, thanks to some intelligent signings.

Stansted playing YouTube sensations Hashtag United in October 2019 in a game that drew crowds and was watched by 200,000 online

Looking ahead to the restart of the 2020/21 season, the Airport Army’s first team players have been training hard while complying with social distancing measures. Managers Paul Pittuck and John Watters are urging local firms to rally behind the team with advertising (contact Paul on 07752 008948 for more details).

Stansted FC are up against YouTube sensations Hashtag United, who were expected to win the league this year before the pandemic led to the cancellation of fixtures. Local rivals Saffron Walden FC, whose strong fan base can notch up the biggest away attendance numbers, are also expected to pose a strong challenge.

Founded in 1902, Stansted FC is a long-standing local institution

The presence of these two strong rivals in the league, alongside other good local teams such as Takeley and Hoddesdon, should present an attractive opportunity for business sponsors interested in banner advertising around the ground and adverts in the matchday programme.

Hashtag’s global brand following ensures that banners in Stansted stadium will be seen by the 488,000 fans who have subscribed to its YouTube channel.

Meanwhile, the presence of local teams in the Essex Senior League provides opportunities for local businesses to drum up customers within the wider local community. The keenly fought local derbys at Hargrave Park lead to photos in the local press – and the chance to have your brand snapped behind the goal-line.

Banner adverts feature prominently in goal photos

Whether an airline or a car mechanic, Stansted FC’s home ground is prime advertising real estate. Advertisers don’t have to lift a finger – banner production is included in the sponsorship price!

More importantly, local businesses sponsoring Stansted FC will be supporting the continuation of 118 years of community football heritage. Non-league clubs cannot afford to “play behind closed doors” like the Premier League. They rely on income from sponsorship, attendance and refreshments.

Non-League match attendance could return sooner than the Premiership. Smaller crowds mean better control of social distancing, for instance. Stansted FC’s ground could still feasibly support a good attendance even with one to two metre spacing.

Youth Football: Looking to the Future

Stansted FC is launching a new youth section

Stansted FC is also looking to the future with the development of youth teams, in partnership with the Michael Richardson Football Academy. The club is starting with a new Under-13 side, which will compete in the Eastern Junior Alliance League this coming season, as part of its plans to create reserve and Under-21 sides in the future.

Parents of those interested can contact Michael Richardson at michael@stanstedfc.com, phone 07809 908 268 or sign up for trials, which will take place once the FA gives its permission.

The Youth Team are also looking for kit supply and sponsors – so help the children become the future of local community football by sponsoring the youth team!