While the middle class are getting lots of media attention with their mass migration to non league, corporate brands are quietly buying into all aspects of grassroots football.
What happens when the middle class move in on traditional working class environments (in property terms it’s called gentrification), it acts as a useful distraction to allow big business to move in and clean up. While all the liberal-left press are falling over themselves to document the positive impact of the posh boy take over of non league football the big corporate brands are happy to quietly look for safe spaces to sell their product.
McDonald’s have already got a massive presence in grassroots football [see here] now it’s the turn of Lidl to move in. Is there a pattern emerging here? The novelty value of virtue signalling orchestrated by the middle class, bored with their own cultural outlets, ironically going to non league football paves the way for corporate brands to target ordinary kids love of football with bribes and incentives based on prominent product placement and cynical recuperation. Cheap lager and cheap sentiment brought in from the student unions or cheap lager and cheap football shirts provided by budget supermarket brands? Basically we’re fucked either way.
Below is the report about Lidl’s move into grassroots football:
German discount supermarket chain Lidl, which has been rapidly expanding its operations in the UK, has signed partnership deals with The Football Association (the FA), the Football Association Wales (FAW) and the Scottish Football Association (Scottish FA) in a major deal that lasts until 2018.
Under the terms of the deal with the English FA, Lidl has become the “lead partner of FA Skills as well as Official Supermarket of the Three Lions.” The programme is expected to provide over a million opportunities to play football a year and will be given impetus through Lidl’s network of stores. The deal was brokered by Starcom Mediavest Group’s SPORTS at SMG division.
FA Chief Executive, Martin Glenn said: “Lidl have joined us at an exciting time as we focus our efforts on supporting the grassroots movement through better facilities and coaching.”
Ronny Gottschlich, Lidl UK CEO added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Lidl and one that we are both excited and extremely proud to be a part of. We look forward to building successful partnerships with The FA, at both a national and community level throughout this great footballing nation.”
Despite some tongue in cheek comments in the media about a German take-over (and obligatory reminders of 1966) Lidl’s involvement in creating more grassroots opportunities and partnering with the national teams is powerful statement of commitment to the UK market. The role of the FA’s official supermarket was previously held by Tesco who are very much on the defensive in the face of a German onslaught on their business.
Lidl, alongside German discount chain Aldi, has already taken 10% of the UK grocery market and is set to invest £1.5 billion in UK operation over the next three years, opening up 50 new sites a year and refurbishing up to 150 existing stores in a bid to create a more upmarket perception of its brand.