The Isle of Wight league is going from strength to strength – more than doubling in size since it was taken over.
We speak to Richard to find out how he’s done it.
What attracted you to the LL Franchise in the first place?
I actually first came across Leisure Leagues a few years ago when I saw a roadside board in my local town, the name went in without ever really think of it as a business venture. Anyway time went on and then due to a change in my day job I had a bit more time on my hands around work and coaching youth football. I thought I’d look into who ran the Leisure Leagues night on the island and found out that I knew the match night supervisor. I had a good research online into Leisure Leagues and then discovered that there were franchises on offer so got the ball rolling in at the end of last year.
How have you found it so far?
I soon discovered by going along to the night on the Isle of Wight that it was working well and the match night supervisor Dave Jukes was doing a great job down here already so I didn’t really want to upset that so although I go along to the night every week myself I have still kept the guys on who are doing such a great job. My main focus then became how to get more teams. There aren’t many venues on the island so its hard to get a booking anywhere for more than a hour. However the current night is Sunday and the venue doesn’t have other books on a Sunday so said we could have as long as we wanted. My attention then switched towards creating another division to add to the two eight team divisions when the current season finished in January. The demand has been really high and I have had to add two more eight team divisions to get all the teams that applied in. Word of mouth, Facebook adverts, Flyers and Roadside boards seem to be paying off.
Brilliant news, and the expansion of the league has been great to see. What are your future plans?
A venue in Ryde on the island is due to be getting 6 a side goals installed when building work on a new school is finished this summer. I have had a meeting with the school and they are keen to get a midweek league running as soon as its finished. I already have a few teams that can’t do the current Sunday league but are interested in a midweek one so I am hopeful of at least getting a eight team league but to be honest I feel a 16 or 20 team league could be possible.
It sounds like it’s been about more than just a business for you, what has been the most rewarding thing you’ve found so far,
One of the most rewarding things is seeing people come out every week and just have fun playing the sport I love. Also there is a lack of football on the island for 16-18 year olds with no youth league for that age and its great to see a lot of these lads turning up to play 6 a side in a fun but at the same time competitive league. There is such a mixture of teams and abilities so there’s something for all standards of players which is good. Of course I’d be lying if I said the extra money I get from it every week isn’t rewarding. Hopefully I can make a full time living out of it going forward.
With all those people playing, you must have some funny stories…..?
I have got to say a few weeks back there was a couple of matches last on that were played in thick fog which although probably not advisable there teams had great fun playing in it. One of the matches was probably the most entertaining I’ve seen down there with plenty of banter from both sets of players, appealing for every throw or corner as the ref was struggling to see through the fog, all good though.Back to Blog