Caversham United's Zac Dellow. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com
Caversham United's Zac Dellow. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com

How Twitter fame has helped Caversham United pay the bills and raise £5,000 charity cash

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The Reading & District Sunday League side have over 10,000 'followers' and have sold merchandise around the world
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Caversham United's Zac Dellow. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com
Caversham United's Zac Dellow. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com

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Reading FC, Reading FC Women, Slough Town, Maidenhead United. That’s it. The only four football teams in Berkshire with more Twitter followers than Reading Sunday League’s Caversham United. But how did it happen and does it matter?

To “The Billy Goats”, while the numbers don’t make much of a difference on the pitch*, our ever-growing platform gives us a huge opportunity to perform increasingly well off the pitch.

*Caveat: Of course, the numbers and the Twitter “fame” do make a difference on the pitch, especially to our opponents… If you are one of the handful of spectators watching our games on a Sunday morning, the chances are that you will hear a call from the opposing sideline asking “have you tweeted about that yet”? The answer, of course, is probably yes! 

A question we often get asked is how did we do it? How did a Sunday League team get so big on social media? The answer: it didn’t happen overnight. Was it easy? No. Is it worth it? Totally.

For us, it started with engagement with some of the European giants who lead the way on social media engagement in the football world. Think AS Roma, think Bayer Leverkusen, think Bayern Munich. And yes, those European giants, including the Champions League winners, all follow Caversham United. If we threw into the mix the likes of Benfica, Valencia, Fiorentina, New York Red Bulls, Sydney FC and Zenit St Petersburg we’d just be name dropping…

Stoke Poges Saints FC vs Caversham United (blue) - Paul Gutteridge in action for the Billy Goats. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com
Stoke Poges Saints FC vs Caversham United (blue) – Paul Gutteridge in action for the Billy Goats. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com

One of the key parts to our success is engagement. For those that are unfamiliar with our story, our club crest, club nickname and home shirt were all decided by our Twitter followers. While not every club out there is going to welcome those levels of fan involvement, interaction and engagement with fellow clubs, followers and the football community are essential. It takes patience, it takes time and there will be doubters. We have received our fair share of scepticism and hate from “bigger” clubs and their supporters. Do Step Two or Three clubs like that a Sunday League minnow has more followers than them [FiB doesn’t like it much either 😉 – Ed]? No. Does that bother us? Also no.

So why have we invested the time and effort into growing our social media presence? Quite frankly the results for us have been outstanding. Our “rise to fame” on Twitter has helped us to find sponsorship deals, allowed us to interact with a huge range of people across the football world, enabled us to sell shirts and merchandise to supporters around the world and to raise over £5000 for charity. For a football club with just one adult Sunday League team that’s pretty good going we would say! 

The other question we are always asked is what’s next for Caversham United [because adopting a goat wasn’t enough? – Ed]!? The answer to that one will be in my next article..

~ Chief Goat, December 2020 

Listen to the Berkshire Football Stories podcast with Paul Gutteridge, discussing all things Caversham United, below.

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