FC Halifax Town: “Join the journey” - Commercial director Williams wants Shaymen to become business hub of the town

John Williams. Photo: Marcus BranstonJohn Williams. Photo: Marcus Branston
John Williams. Photo: Marcus Branston
FC Halifax Town’s new commercial director John Williams says he wants the club to become the business hub of the town.

Williams, who started his new role with The Shaymen on 1 July, joins the club from Huddersfield Town where he was head of partnerships.

It was in that role where he feels he made Huddersfield Town the local business hub of the community, implementing a partnership programme which saw 100 businesses, ‘the Huddersfield Hundred’, back the football club and work closely together.

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Now embarking on a new challenge, Williams stated his excitement to be part of the Shaymen’s quest to get back into the Football League.

“I wanted to join Halifax Town because of their strong ambitions of being a sustainable League Two club and because of the excellent plans they have in place.

“This is a fresh challenge for me, having been at Huddersfield Town for seven years, and when I discussed this role with the chairman, I thought ‘I want to be part of this journey to help get them to League Two’ and doing that by increasing revenue, which has been a massive hit for them this year, like with a lot of football clubs.

“I also want to get Halifax Town on the map. From working in this area for a number of years, I know how prestigious the club is, that it’s in a fantastic area and there’s a number of successful businesses and affluent people from around here. I want them involved in the football club and be part of the journey to get to League Two.

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“I just thought this was a brilliant project and one that I certainly wanted to be a part of.”

Williams worked for DHL before joining Vodafone, where he managed their partnership with Manchester United, working on site at Old Trafford and their training ground Carrington.

“I felt as though I was part of the payroll really, because I was there an awful lot,” he said.

“That time at Vodafone was really enjoyable, I saw and heard things that were fantastic, I’m a Manchester lad originally.

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“Then I wanted to stay in football, had a chat with a couple of clubs and I was given the opportunity by Huddersfield Town to be head of partnerships.”

With the Terriers, John saw two years in the Premier League and was a lead in the commercial team that sealed a multi-million pound contract with OPE Sports; the highest front of shirt sponsorship deal in the club’s history.

“It was a phenomenal experience at Huddersfield Town and I created some memories that I will never forget. I worked with a phenomenal team of people in the commercial department, and it was a great time.

“It was then a case of ‘I’ve done that now, I need a new challenge’ and wanted to stay in football.

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“I had quite a few conversations with the Halifax Town chairman, and it just felt a good fit. This club is an ambitious one and I’m a really driven person. I’ve worked in the EFL, I know how it operates, and I want to get back to it.”

Williams says there are similarities with his role at Huddersfield Town, who went from League One to the Premier League during his time at the club.

“It’s a case of rolling your sleeves up, getting your hands dirty and mucking in to achieve our objectives,” he said.

“It’s thinking outside the box, building partner programmes to fit the objectives of the partner, and tailoring something to what their objectives are, whether it be a social event, a track day, or whatever else, you’re tailoring a package around them.

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“Huddersfield Town’s ground was council owned, so it was a joint venture, which is very similar to Halifax, so I know no different.

“Other clubs who own their own stadium might have branding around the place 24/7, but it wasn’t like that at Huddersfield Town, we didn’t own it, and we shared it with the rugby club, as Halifax do at The Shay.”

With the aim of making Halifax Town the business up of the town, and the local community, Williams is keen to attract new businesses.

He hopes that he can drive new revenue streams for the club, whilst also detailing how success on the pitch next season will lead to increased revenues off it.

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“I always say ‘what happens on the pitch is replicated off the pitch’, but at the same time, it’s being honest and up-front, and saying ‘join the journey, this is where we want to be next year, we want to be in League Two, do you want to be part of it?’,” he said.

“In terms of businesses it’s about showing them the journey they could be on, and using my contacts, because they could say ‘I like that, let’s join you and see what we can do’.

“It’s all about business objectives and tackling an area they may not have been part of, like Halifax, because they’re focused on somewhere further afield.

“The Piece Hall is a fantastic place, there’s Sowerby Bridge and Hebden Bridge, there’s some lovely places.

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“The Piece Hall is seen as the location for events, but I’m looking at Halifax Town becoming the business hub of Halifax, so people want to be part of it, and they want to hold an event here.

“We want people to feel part of what we are doing and be part of the fabric of the football club to give it that family feel. We want people coming to games, events and thinking ‘I don’t want to miss out on that, because if I do, I’m missing out on potential business’.

“Success for me, in the first year, is to build a programme that works and that people enjoy.

“Business has had a tough 18 months and people haven’t been able to go to games or shake hands or go for a drink or a meal.

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“Hopefully now things are starting to develop, and fans will be allowed in next season, which is what every football club wants.

Williams added: “If people want to be part of the journey and what we’re trying to achieve, whether it’s sponsoring a game, being an official partner, or you just want a chat to see how we can work together please give me a call.

“Let’s have a cup of coffee and a chat, let me explain what we’re trying to do, how we’re trying to do it and where we want to be, to get to League Two.

“We need help, we need the support of local businesses to get us there, and get Halifax on the map, because it’s a fantastic area.

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