Fans loving pioneering programme

By David Watters

Fans of EVO-STIK League Frickley Athletic have been voting for their man-of-the-match in Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup goal fest at the SW Jackson Utilities Stadium using one of the most innovative programmes in football.

One of the first clubs in the country to tap into ‘augmented reality’ digital technology to share match highlights with fans using smartphones last season, the Blues stepped up their game for the 10-1 rout of Liversidge in the preliminary round after trialling their latest innovation in their first home fixture against Northern Premier League newcomers Marske United.

According to the club’s official Twitter feed @frickleyafc, the state-of-the-art publication quickly sold out with the winning player set to be announced today (Sunday) to give supporters the chance to vote after any post cup celebration “hangovers” had dissipated.

With the future of programmes said to be increasingly under threat throughout football, the mission of the EVO-STIK League East club to save their own publication hasn’t gone unnoticed, their pioneering work earning Frickley coverage on Soccer AM and contact from a number of impressed Football League clubs keen to follow their example.

EVO-STIK League South Digital Challenge winners Frickley Athletic

EVO-STIK League South Digital Challenge winners Frickley Athletic

@frickleyafc also generated more than 40,000 impressions on Twitter as a result of their appearance on Sky’s hit Saturday morning show, the surge in publicity helping the club’s award-winning media team become one of the inaugural winners of the EVO-STIK League Digital Challenge at the NPL's 2017-18 end of season awards in June alongside Colne, Farsley Celtic and Cleethorpes Town.

The 2018-19 EVO-STIK League Digital Challenge is up and running again after kicking off on the opening day of the season and the Blues are looking to be among the contenders again after confirming that fans would be using digital technology to choose their top stars on matchdays for the rest of the campaign.

A new designer Nat Warnes is also working on new programme covers and fixtures posters while officials are also looking forward to passing the 10,000 followers mark on Twitter within weeks as their stats on social media continue to surge on the back of the publicity they enjoyed last term.

Spokesman Michael Johnson said: “We started the Augmented Reality campaign last season and the interactive Man of the Match is our latest effort to save the programme. The AR stuff was the idea of one of our media team, Chris Medwell, and his students at his former employer Doncaster College. It has gained us coverage on Soccer AM, the BBC Sport website and other media outlets. We also had some EFL clubs getting in touch asking about the technology.

“The matchday programme can't be allowed to disappear and we've given ours a complete refresh this season to keep interest levels high - new cover, new features, AR match highlights and now an interactive Man of the Match feature. Yes, it's a lot of work for the programme team but it's something that we want to do.”

He added: “We know it's hard work, we know lots of clubs haven't got the time or resource but I've been getting a programme since I first started watching the Blues in the 70s when my dad took me. It lifts your spirits on a long journey home after a tanking more often than not!"

Thanks to title sponsors EVO-STIK and parent company Bostik, Colne and Farsley Celtic collected £1,500 alongside the Blues as the clubs demonstrating the greatest improvements in web traffic and social media engagement in their respective divisions over the course of the historic 50th anniversary 2017-18 season

Launched to drive up the social media stats of EVO-STIK League clubs and encourage the most innovative content, the EVO-STIK League Digital Challenge also saw Cleethorpes Town collect a £500 prize for achieving the highest number of views and downloads for unique video content featuring EVO-STIK branding for their work supporting UEFA's Everyone Plays campaign to promote LBGT inclusion.

Images courtesy of Onionbag Photography, Rob Lock & @frickleyafc/Twitter

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Where next?

EVO-STIK League Final Scores: Sunday 26.08.18 Head to the fixtures pages for a full classified results service from Sunday's preliminary round tie between Worksop Town and EVO-STIK League Carlton Town in the Emirates FA Cup ...
New pitch is perfect for first fixture Buxton are getting ready to finally kick off on the new artificial new pitch they've had laid by the EVO-STIK League's official pitch partners GreenFields on Bank Holiday Monday.

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