Johnny Cantor: There’s huge potential for Albion to have fans all over the world

Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against Birmingham last season. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against Birmingham last season. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

I’m not sure you are going to get people walking the streets of Jakarta in a Glenn Murray shirt but there is huge potential – it was a quote that stuck out from a contributor this week.

As we explore the exposure of the Seagulls away from these shores now they are a Premier League club, the opportunity to promote the club abroad seems extraordinary.

Andy Jackson, the global director for FourFourTwo magazine based in Singapore who spoke to me this week, illustrated just how vast the market is for a team in the Albion’s position.

Jackson confirmed that the move up has registered in South East Asia. He also pointed out that even though listeners and viewers in some countries may never go to watch a game live at the Amex, they are potential supporters.

He noted that there are a quarter of a million people in Indonesia who can watch more Premier League football than you or I due to a difference in the broadcast regulations. As well as potential pre-season tours, which are obviously key for more established teams, there are also the digital opportunities with possible club websites in local languages.

Chief executive Paul Barber has said the club won’t run before it can walk but as an astute commercial operator will be wholly aware of the possibilities.

The interview also touched on the appeal of Brighton and Hove Albion. ‘Everyone here loves an underdog’, clarified Jackson.

Albion’s struggles now have excellent awareness across the nation but would the team and manager start to fill column inches in Vietnam or Australia?

The team isn’t the most glamorous but in Chris Hughton they have an ex Spurs player who was part of a glittering era for Tottenham.

In fact, the Spurs side of the 80s is well known to global football followers and ex pats of a certain age. Argentinians Ricky Villa and Osvaldo Ardiles were team-mates who crossed the world to become a part of the game in this country.

Hughton knows all too well what is coming. He’s played at the top for club and country. He’s managed at the top too. He will be aware of the world that awaits and the possible exposure.

He will also be aware of the pressure to stay in the division and the pressure on him as the man at the helm.

Spreading the Albion gospel may take time for the club, time they may not be afforded, but if they succeed like AFC Bournemouth and Burnley and stay in the division, they could plot a course out of the Channel and to warmer climes. Pre-season tour to Bali anyone?

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