A piece of mischief from a trio of junior jokers left National League club AFC Fylde red-faced last week, but by taking it in good humour and making the most of it on Twitter, the club received some excellent national exposure.
The story itself is worth a giggle and was picked up on by the likes of talkSPORT. It involved three young Fylde supporters tricking the club’s stadium announcer into calling for a Nissan Micra to be moved during the Coasters’ FA Trophy reply against Ramsbottom United last Tuesday. What the announcer didn’t realise was that the Micra didn’t exist, and the registration number was a classic double entendre.
What’s interesting for those of us involved in digital marketing and social media management is how the Lancashire club responded to the hoax on Twitter. Rather than issue a stuffy, po-faced statement about the emergency announcement service being misused, AFC Fylde decided to accept they had been duped and roll with it.
It started with a ‘Wanted’ call for the three baby-faced pranksters, whose grins and thumbs-up gestures were captured in a tweet from the club.
This was followed by a picture of the offending would-be-vehicle details scrawled on the back of a match ticket, presumably ready for the announcer to read out.
Realising that these tweets were getting hundreds of comments and retweets, the club truly embraced its jackass status by sharing a video of Bart Simpson’s many prank calls to hapless barman Moe Szyslak.
Gradually, it emerged that the three Likely Lads were not wanted so that they could be punished, but instead rewarded.
In a statement on the club’s website, Fylde Chariman David Haythornthwaite described the incident as “a great bit of harmless fun”, and the culprits were presented with AFC Fylde kits and other merchandise. This got national coverage from the likes of The Sun, SPORTbible and talkSPORT again.
The Ramsbottom tie has been an eventful one all round, with the initial clash ending in an extraordinary 5-5 draw – enough to attract the attention of the BBC
AFC Fylde are an ambitious club who were playing in the West Lancashire League just 12 years ago, but many Premier League football fans will be unaware of their progress and their aim to reach the Football League by 2022. National exposure like this helps draw attention to their achievements, while at the same time coming across as a friendly club where fans can have a bit more of a laugh and a connection with officials than in the Premier League, so the three troublemakers have really done their club a favour.
Only one question remains – can any fans come up with an even funnier registration plate?