Friday, July 22, 2005

English clubs must put "more effort" into Asia

Robert Elstone, Everton's new deputy chief executive is already convinced of the significance of his English Premier League club's links to Thailand, established with their first sponsorship deal with Chang Beer last season and strengthened by a new agreement to cover the next three seasons. It is the most lucrative deal of its kind in Everton's history.

"The potential in South East Asia is enormous," he told Liverpool Daily Post. "We know the Premier League is watched religiously on TV, no more so than here in Thailand. Our relationship with Chang gives us a fantastic platform. We want to make the fan base here come to life and make those supporters Evertonians for life. It's a big challenge for us but also a great opportunity," he said.

"We have the potential with Chang to cement a much more meaningful relationship with the Thai fans. The alternative, as many Premiership clubs seem to do, is to drop into this territory, play a game or two and then turn up again two or three years later and hope that helps cultivate a fan base. I'm not sure that it will."

The inference is that English clubs have to put more effort on the ground here in the Far East. "Our community and academy teams have already been out here," Elstone added.