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Club News

CLUB STATEMENT ON NEW WEBSITE

14 November 2012

Email address for complaints

 

The Football League has invited comments on its new website network and has set up an email address to receive views.

The Football League interactive network of websites moved to a new provider over the summer.

The move has not been smooth and Brentford Football Club is aware of comments and complaints about the new site layout and usability.

These should be addressed to the Football League and can be emailed to webfeedback@football-league.co.uk.

Chris Wickham, Head of Media and Communications, said all correspondence can be copied in to him – cwickham@brentfordfc.co.uk – if required.

Any comments on website content should also be addressed to the Club rather than the Football League.

Chris added: “We believe that the current Football League website model is not fit for purpose.

“The Club signed up to a contract with the Football League interactive, which manages and develops the internet and mobile rights of almost 90 clubs, around ten years ago.

“Football League interactive is responsible for providing the official club website, mobile services and the premium part of the website Bees Player.

“Many clubs, including Brentford, were unhappy about the limitations of the previous website design and technology failures that were a regular occurrence.

“Football League interactive negotiated on behalf of the clubs to partner with a new provider in the belief there would be better service.

“Brentford Football Club were presented with a new website and given a few days to get it ready for launch.

“We did select the website template from three available – the others are operated by, for example, Gillingham and AFC Wimbledon.

“We felt this was the best one to utilise the skills in the department and whilst it may not be as striking visually, we have a lot of news on the front page.

“We were not, however, shown many pages and in some regards had to make a decision blind.

“That decision was taken by me and I stand by it.

“No-one from any Football League club was involved in the negotiations to select the new partner, we have asked to see tender documentation and the final contract but have not yet been given this by Football League interactive.

“We are also going through the contract that was signed ten years ago to see if Football League interactive is in breach with the defects we are suffering and whether we could, if we wanted, terminate that deal.

“The Football League interactive deal was worth a six-figure sum to the Club in the 2011/12 season and if we leave we would have to replace that money in our budget as well as finding the additional funds for people to run the technology side of the site.

“We are unhappy with the way the Club is currently represented on the website, it affects our image and we know it.

“We believe we could produce a better site ourselves but there would be repercussions with us having to fund the technology to provide match commentaries and videos that currently come as part of the package.

“Despite these challenges, the Club is actively speaking to potential technology partners.

“We are assessing whether we could afford to leave the FLi deal and set up on our own.

“The level of service from FLi has reached a point where tough decisions have to be made and we will take them if we have to.”

Chris outlined some of the issues which have affected the service.

“One of the biggest frustrations is the lack of a mobile presence, i.e. on Blackberry, iPhone or Android,” he continued.

“This is unacceptable and we have repeatedly told the Football League this.

“We were originally promised a mobile platform in September and the launch has been constantly pushed back.

“The latest date from FLi was to expect a mobile platform to be ready and launched on November 20.

“This is unacceptably late.

“We have a constant battle to get news on our site – on Saturday between 2pm and 2.30pm we were unable to publish items.

“We had similar battles on Monday and have had publishing failures repeatedly over the past month.

“In September, an alteration carried out by our technology partner, with no prior notification, took out part of our website for weeks.

“Other items raised either by ourselves or other clubs include a desire to remove the button to ‘read more’ on most news pages and to change the layout of the fixtures page so Brentford’s score is always first.

“We see little movement on these and as it took around three weeks to change the main picture background on the website, we are not hopeful.

“These problems, and others like them, lead me to the conclusion that the system is not fit to support the number of clubs on the network.

“Unless there are serious upgrades we will have no choice but to pull out.

“We are, unfortunately, in a situation that we are either in the deal, and take the current technological faults, or we pull out.

“We are not sitting idly and waiting for things to improve, we make minor improvements ourselves every week to try and make it easy to navigate but the main technological infrastructure is not in our control.

“And that is why we are left with no option but to explore possible alternatives.”


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