Put your money on Mossley AFC’s club shop success

TAKE ONE groundsman’s hut, stop the leaks and turn it into a club shop – that is the secret of making Mossley AFC a worldwide hit.

Go to South Africa, Australia, North America or New Zealand and you may bump into someone proudly sporting the Lilywhites’ colours.

Attend at match at Seel Park and you will see dozens of white and black designs in the stands, from shirts to scarves to hats.

Throw in t-shirts, hoodies, coats, badges and other items.

The former groundskeeper shed – now Mossley AFC club shop. Photo by Carl Ennis

That just shows how successful the Northern Premier League West Division side’s retail operation is proving.

It also helps on the field as the money raised enables the club to sign new players.

And it is the brainchild of director Matthew Hayton, who spotted where the cub was lacking and a place where he can take things to the next level.

He said: “Where we operate from was a club shop years ago, then it got turned into a tool shed – it became a store room.

Fans flock to the shop every game – Carl Ennis Photography

“In 2017 or 2018 we started to run a shop inside the social club but that was very much just set up on a table with just a few shirts, a few scarves and things like that, it was very basic.

“But as a board we looked at exploring re-opening the shed as a club shop.

“I could see other clubs were doing it and doing it well. I thought it was something we needed to tap into.

“We looked around and thought, ‘There’s something to be done here. Why aren’t we doing it?’

Matthew Hayton is the brainchild of the Mossley AFC shop – Carl Ennis Photography

“Converting the shed needed a bit of work as it was very leaky – but some of our sponsors helped make it water tight. Now it’s gone from strength to strength, it’s really taken off in the last couple of seasons.

“And it brings in a significant amount of money. Every game it does really well – it’s a huge source of income.

“More money coming into the club means we can sign players. If we can maximise every income source, it all contributes to the club’s running costs, that includes the playing budget.

“Every time someone buys something, they’re contributing to the success of the club.”

Seeing Mossley memorabilia at Seel Park and around the town is one thing, seeing it spread around the world is another.

If anything, they are now the envy of non-league football – a club that attracts gates of about 500 people to a match being on shopping lists across the globe.

But there is no resting on any laurels, Matthew – who makes a point of using locally or UK-based suppliers and credits kit company Hope and Glory for their help – always has his eye out for different things and different ways of pushing the club.

He added: “We’ve had things posted all around the world. We’ve got people wearing shirts in Australia, America, Canada, New Zealand as well.

“Our supporters wear things at matches abroad – I’ve worn my hat at Milan’s San Siro and people send us photos.

“We’ve had hats at Table Mountain in South Africa, on a beach in Australia and skiing in North America.

“But we’ve such a range of items, people who come to Seel Park for the first time are often taken aback by how many there are.

“What we stock is better than a lot of professional clubs. It also spreads the word about the club.

“The more people you see wearing Mossley hats, it stirs up conversation about the club between people – where are you from? What’s it like?

“Hats are probably our best seller and scarves are really popular. We take inspiration from what other clubs have offered and have done a lot of research.

“However, we also talk to our supporters and asked what they would like to see.

“If people come up and ask, ‘Have you got?’ and you think, ‘We’ve been asked that question 10 times today. We need to work on that.’”

Not to make too much of a sweeping statement about what conditions in Mossley and at Seel Park are like, two new ranges are being looked at.

And Matthew is asking locally-based designers or makers to help them out.

He told The Correspondent: “We’re always on the lookout and we’re always open to suggestions.

“We’re all ears and we’re always looking for budding designers or people willing to help us bring designs to life.

“One thing we’ve not done yet is gloves and we get asked for them quite a lot but you have to make sure it’s viable. If you order 100 pairs of gloves, can you guarantee you’ll sell them?

“Umbrellas, with the Mossley weather, is probably a good suggestion we’ve not done yet either.

“We’ve taken good ideas from elsewhere and made them our own – ours can now be envied by other clubs.

“It’s taken a lot of time and effort and you have to invest in it but it’s a worthwhile investment. It’s also a lot of fun.”

*IF YOU can help Matthew and Mossley AFC design or produce new ranges, you can contact him by email at matthew.hayton@mossleyafc.co.uk.


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