The PFA awards took place recently and with the rise of Leicester City this season the anticipation for the illustrious event was perhaps more significant than previous years. With this year being more in the public eye than ever before and social media so rife in society nowadays; It was a massive opportunity to formally display the extraordinary talents that our country’s football structure represents, and to display it in an elegant and exclusive fashion.
Of course it is well documented throughout the season that different achievements are up for grabs, and it is our natural assumption at a period in the season as late as April that the mind does tend to question who is worthy of winning PFA Players’ Player of the Year, Young player, Woman’s player, Team of the Year etc.
As television audience on BBC’s Match of the Day 2, the general public were shown the awards from the comfort of their living rooms and saw the crucial moment where Riyad Mahrez was given the illustrious prize of Player’s Player; I am made up for him. He truly deserves it and has had a remarkable season.
Nevertheless, that was all we were given, a few moments on Match of The Day, some highlights on the news and some documentation in the back pages of print across the country. An opportunity I feel that was not seized and it was quite disappointing to see from a PR and Football perspective. An event of this size ideally needs to be live on TV and be correctly promoted and marketed in the right way, to be viewed on Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, etc.
Social media is vital in the modern day and age, when it comes to an event of this magnitude, it needs to be utilised effectively. It just was not such a footballing nation like ours deserves more and the PFA I feel failed to deliver here, more could have been done to engage the wider public and inspire millions around worldwide.
I feel the event could have had better engagement with people such as myself and leave us to feel more included in the proceedings. Rather instead, leave me merely looking on into a world that I will never experience, with a calibre of people that I will never be a part of. I have managed to accept this…Bitterly, but nonetheless I accept it.
I was talking to a friend of mine today and we are both madly into football. But he was not aware of the PFA awards. Incredibly strange, the whole thing went over his head. “You’ve been living under a rock I said.” I was intrigued; he did not normally miss football news of this calibre. What went wrong? How had he not been aware of everything like I had been?
I visited the PFA website and it was satisfactory to say the very least. For such a prestigious association it was bad. The colour and theme was poor and looked like it had been designed by a 7 year old in an ICT lesson, hardly a website to be proud of and support a long legacy and current association of many outstanding athletes. I also went on Facebook to see if there was any engagement strategies there. None. A PFA Facebook page with just 4,200 likes, that is abysmal.
Arguably, a lot of the work had been done for the PFA in the way that the awards are already so well established; many celebrity guest appearances were on show and with football being so important to our country they as an organisation can get away with being slack and using limited promotion or engagement strategies.
I feel this is lazy and a bad example to set for the elite of football in our country. Furthermore the PFA should be far more active in terms of social media and really set the bar for the best association body that is around. The PFA awards is all a positive influence, it is all good PR and needs to be celebrated and elevated in the correct way. There are so many admirers to these footballers and I feel it only right that the fans should get a bigger slice of the pie when it comes to this.
The likes of Facebook Live or Periscope I feel should have been used in order to give supporters a real opportunity to view the awards and really feel a part of the experience. Maybe also interactive voting polls on Twitter from the PFA Twitter account to include the fans who make it all possible. Where would Football be without its fans?
I hope that the PFA Awards become more interactive next year by truly utilising their social media channels and becoming a live TV event, the demand is there from the fans. Football is forever evolving in the modern era and becoming even more popular, this event needs to be placed on a pedal stool and given the coverage that it is capable of. Such a wonderful set of awards deserves more of a focus,