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Merchandise alley

The reserves played tonight against Leicester at GGL, I went (as did one or two others). It finished 2-2, Robbo scoring both for us and looking pretty impressive. Des Byrne also played, he looked very good. So did Angryman and Per Karlsson as well. Sorry there are no photos available, but typically I left the SW19 Digital Instamatic at home….

As threatened, I have received a reply from WFC marketing about my letter. You can read for yourself what I read here, and I suggest you pour through it before you come back….

Done that? Good. Right then, here goes….

“Dear Robert,”

Good start 🙂

“Thank you for taking the time to put down all your Marketing ideas for me. It proves at least one person read my Programme notes in the Wigan programme! “

You mean that somebody actually went to the Wigan game?

“I am open to ideas and firmly believe that the Club needs to know how its supporters feel about certain things. You will recall we held a very informal meeting of a cross section of season ticket holders before the end of last season for that very purpose. By the way haven’t you noticed that The Crazy Gang has been dropped? It was one of the first ideas brought up at the said meeting that we acted on straight away. There may well be old stock carrying the logo but certainly any new merchandise or souvenirs will be Crazy Gang free. “

Hmmm, I get the feeling that Sharon slightly missed my point about the CG – it’s still on as part of the membership scheme, so it hasn’t been fully dropped. Mind you, as the thing was phased in mid-season in the first place, hopefully it’ll be fully gone by Xmas

“Taking the supporters feelings a stage further, I am having three designs printed in the Matchday programme in the very near future, for the 200 1/2002 Away kit. I want the supporters to vote on the shirt they’d like to see the team in for Away matches. (The Home strip is staying the same design.) “

Hmm, nice. Wonder if the yellow shirts will have “Golddigger” on them?

“Regarding stock for the new shops please bear in mind that during the interim period of the shared shop being abandoned and the new ones opening there has been no Merchandise Manager to reorder during this period. There is a very limited staff that have to juggle many areas of responsibility therefore the supporters patience is called for. Improvements will follow. “

OK, fair comment, and much kudos to those who run it for no pay whatsoever. I will wait and see to see what happens

“There are some new lines coming in for the Wimbledon shop that are not cheap, nasty or tacky! I could quote a lot of proverbs like `one man’s meat is another man’s poison etc when it comes to what people like and dislike. Trust me when I say after eleven years of working with Wimbledon, I came to realise very early on that you can’t please all the people all the time! Choosing stock is the Merchandise Manager’s remit.”

Hmm, do I get the impression that Sharon wasn’t too happy with my comments about the quality of the merchandise 🙂 Let’s hope the Merchandise Manager isn’t Stevie Wonder…..

“Your suggestions re videos are sound and I agree in theory. (I have passed a copy of your letter on to Reg Davis as he deals with anything to do with media, the press and publications.) However it isn’t as straightforward as you think. For a start you could get copies of Manchester United’s reserves no doubt but a copy of a Wimbledon game in the 1980’s or even the early 90’s is damn near impossible. Then, given the hypothetical situation that one could be traced, the cost would be prohibitive to the amount we’d sell. Yes, you might buy one and another 20 or so others but not 1000 or 2 or 3 that would need to be ordered. Believe me we’ve looked into this time and time again. I’m not spinning a yarn either it’s fact.”

Sounds a reasonable response you would think? Well, have to say, I’m still not entirely convinced by this explanation. Assuming that only 20 people would buy it is a DANGEROUS assumption, and one that any half-decent marketing board would avoid at all costs. Whatever happened to research? Would it hurt to put a nice big bit in the programme saying “We are interested in selling the FA Cup Final video, we need 1000 takers, who’s interested?”. That’s how they should approach it – if nobody responds, so be it. But I bet they’d get plenty of orders if they just offered it. As for copies of WFC games in the 80s are concerned, well I can probably understand the FA Cup games, but surely somebody must have copies of the games that WFC themselves filmed? Again, a quick publish in the programme and who knows? Have to admit that this was the sort of comment I was expecting…..

“The Surrey CC magazine again is great. (full of adverts notice, because of the cost of production) There are very few Clubs in the Premiership that can run to this expense. You are no doubt aware that printing costs are high, although the more you print the cheaper it becomes. You then have to take into consideration the cost of design. Wimbledon do not have enough season ticket holders and members combined to warrant such an outlay. – Oh I wish we did have a following of 20,000 supporters! “

Here’s a thought for you : does the programme have to be in full glossy colour? Why not make it like the US model, whereby you buy a programme for a whole fortnight and you get a teamsheet handed out at the game itself? I understand Liverpool are about to try it

“As I said, thank you for your contribution, it is valued and I hope I’ve replied to your comments to your satisfaction. WTID

Regards, Sharon Sillitoe Marketing Manager. “

Hmm, nice of them to reply so quickly, though there are still too many instances of “we can’t so we won’t” about the letter. Ah well, the club shop looks nice.

Elsewhere, a certain ex-manager of ours is selling a book. I’m under contractual obligation to slag him off for his works of fiction and truth distortion, but I just haven’t got the heart……