Saturday, May 25, 2024

An open top parade down Surbiton high street? Top hockey clubs need to create own fan engagement

Take the 25-minute walk from Surbiton train station to Sugden Road, home of the multiple-winning domestic champions over the last decade, and the AA yellow parking signs a minute or so from the ground are the only signs of a major hockey event being held.

From The Surbiton Flyer, the high steet’s pub by the station, all the way down there are no Surbiton scarves in shops or banners erected on lamp posts by the local borough. There’s no jingoistic love for a club which has now racked up nine women’s titles in 10 seasons, while the men have had their share of success and both enjoying European trips.

While many grassroots football and rugby clubs have the sport at the heart of their communities, is hockey, and Surbiton, missing a trick here and happy to stay conservative?

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  1. Yes absolutely, but until we all – led by England Hockey – start to focus on the infrastructure for families & supporters this will always be pushing water uphill. I love hockey as do my kids, but who wants to watch it standing freezing cold on a school pitch in the middle of nowhere with no facilities open? So I play the game, and get home as quickly as possible to the family. I appreciate the big clubs have a better set up – as do some lucky clubs with a multi-sport facility – but even these are often not designed with supporters in mind. It needs a complete change of mindset & investment strategy.


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