Published on March 26th, 2016 | by jamesdelargy
Ferran Soriano’s MCFC vision
Manchester City’s CEO, Ferran Soriano did a speech at the Annual Supporters Club Dinner on Friday 18th March – and everyone’s talking about it.
Read what the Spaniard said below and/or watch the video above.
“Manchester City is not a consumer product – it’s something much more important. You cannot manufacture a brand or a history of a club. So the first thing that I had to learn was who are we? What’s the essence of Manchester City?
I think this one is very, very easy to learn. You just have to look at the history of this club and how this club was born and it tells you everything. It was a daughter of a vicar in the church of St Mark’s who decided, more than a hundred years ago, it was a bad idea for boys and for men to fight and to drink after work.
The family running the St Mark’s church created a cricket club and a football club. And this is who we are and as amazing at it seems, you look at the core of this football club today and the way people think about this football club and the way people behave, and it comes from that time. We are a community club. We are club of the community of Manchester.
Our challenge, what we do every day – and I can guarantee you we spend a lot of time thinking about it – is how do we take this to the 21 century and to a global world. So what is the equivalent of the daughter of the vicar today? What is the equivalent of creating a football club to help young people develop themselves? And we work very hard and everything we do is guided by this. This is the only way we can be successful, recognised and valuable in the world is if we are true to who we are.
It doesn’t mean doing things the same way we did 100 years ago, of course not. This is the challenge. The challenge is to find a way to be a community club in the 21 century.
We’re doing pretty well. When you look at City in the Community and you look at what they do for young people in Manchester it’s pretty amazing. And we are more global – I can say this – than any other football club in the world. By far. In the world of football it’s possible to be local and global.
We are local because we are rooted in Manchester and we are global because we have people in this room coming from Vancouver, Dallas, New York and they all share the same passion.
I want to say something that I know some people don’t like and I’m going to tell you why people don’t like it. From time to time I find a City fan who tells me ‘I’ve been through all the ups and downs. More downs than ups’. And the typical expression is: ‘I was in Macclesfield’. If everybody who told me they were in Macclesfield really was in Macclesfield, they would have Wembley Stadium! It can’t be true. So, actually, I had to look at the map and find Maccelsfield.
But I get what they mean. This club was in difficult situations years ago and you were all there. And that makes this club special. But the people who were following us – the people who love Manchester City – today, from Dallas, from Japan…they are part of the family. This is the beauty of it. This is why this is so amazing. And there’s no better job in the world than the job that we do.
On Tuesday, I was in Dallas for a meeting and I had to watch the game against Kiev. So I don’t know if you can imagine what it’s like to be in Dallas to watch a football game but the first problem is going into a bar and saying ‘I want to watch football’ and they look at you and say ‘there is no football on’.
‘I mean soccer!’.
So I went to a bar, I was alone watching the game, miserable, without sound, suffering. And when I saw Vincent Kompany falling on the floor, I could sense your silence. You were all silent. But as time passed by there were more and more people who were coming and sitting with me, watching soccer and watching Manchester City. We can embrace that. You are the core of this club. The supporters clubs represent what the club is: a community that supports each other and gets together to support the team. We can embrace in this community people living all over the world.
In the three-and-a-half years that I’ve been here, I’ve seen lots of great things. One of the most important is I’ve seen the birth of a family. We have a club in New York, we have a team in Melbourne, we have another sister team in Yokohama in Japan. I was in New York last week for the first game of the season, and there was somebody from Manchester with me that at some point in time said, ‘why are we creating a team in New York?’ And I can guarantee all of you, if you had been with me, in New York last Sunday, with thousands of people dressed in sky blue rooting for the team, New York City, you would have felt something very special. So I said to my colleague who asked me why are we doing this, I said ‘okay, think about it, how would you feel if you were walking around a stadium in New York seeing 30,000 people dressed in red supporting New York United?’ What we are doing is great and it helps Manchester City, and it takes Manchester City to the 21 century. It takes us to be global why we are still and always will be local and rooted in Manchester.
And the challenge is how to continue having the spirit of the daughter of the vicar, while we cover the world. And if you think about it, and I know we want to win all the games, but in the last few years I’ve seen three trophies, I’ve seen the best football academy in the world being opened, I’ve seen the birth of two new football clubs – Melbourne City and New York City – I’ve seen the expansion of the Etihad Stadium…it’s pretty amazing!
And you know what the most important thing is? The future. We have done this in such a short period of time – what can we do in the next five years? The next decade? I hope I will be here and able to celebrate.