Tag: News

THE INSIDER: The Rise and Rise of Women’s Football

What a fortnight it has been for women’s football, writes Icons.com Sales Manager, Ben Soley. Amid the feverish anticipation for this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, club-level attendance records were broken and investment in the sport continued to reach new heights both on and off the pitch.

It is becoming increasingly evident that women’s football has a huge potential for rapid and wide-ranging growth, as well as the ability to become a very lucrative industry in its own right. And, as with any industry exhibiting these trends, now appears to be as good a time as any to climb aboard the bandwagon and invest in an area of sport experiencing an explosion in popularity.

Two Sundays ago saw perhaps the most prominent and staggering example of how far the women’s game has progressed. At Atletico Madrid’s new home – the setting of this year’s men’s UEFA Champions League final – a world record was set for the highest attendance (60,739) at a women’s club game.

To put that into context, there were over 7,000 more fans were in attendance for the women’s game in Madrid than were at the home of Real Betis, as Lionel Messi stunned the world with a magical hat-trick.

FC Barcelona Femení’s victory means Atletico’s lead at the top of the table is cut to three points with just six games to go. The evident enthusiasm for these fixtures only enhances the reputations of its stars, like Lieke Martens, a recent Icons signee.

While it might go without saying that more television viewers will have tuned in to watch Messi and company than Martens and her team, the numbers at the Wanda Metropolitano paint a very real picture of women’s football as it begins to benefit from larger platforms and more stable and respectable infrastructure.

On top of this, coverage of women’s football is vastly improving. The Telegraph this week launched a dedicated Women’s Sport supplement and a daily section in its printed publication. The initiative has been widely celebrated and has led to comments that echo Clare Balding’s affirmation that “the tide is turning”.

This all comes on the back of a commercially successful European Championship in 2017, which was watched by a record-setting cumulative TV audience of 178 million. Now it’s reported that another record has been broken as nine countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Japan and South Africa, have submitted formal bids to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The next step forward is clear. In order for these enterprises to become sustainable the women’s game still needs yet more funding from large corporations, the types behind the big-name brand sponsorships that power men’s sports.

Enter Barclays. A long-serving partner to the Premier League, Barclays last week penned a £10m sponsorship deal with the Women’s Super League (WSL), the top tier of women’s club football in England. The groundbreaking deal sets a precedent for other big-money deals in this country and around Europe. Beverage industry giants are also leading the way with prominent partnerships between Budweiser and the England Lionesses and Gatorade and Manchester City.

Here at Icons, we work closely with such blue chip partners, such as Mastercard, Pepsi and Heineken, helping them promote their sponsorships of tournaments such as the UEFA Champions League. Big name brands have the spending power to help support women’s football, to help it grow, but they are also understandably interested in a return on their investment.

It is clear now that there is rising interest in the women’s game, led by these visible and record-setting increases in gate numbers and TV viewing figures. What should follow, naturally, is increased investment from sponsors wanting to get in early and capitalise on the sport’s growth.

Earlier this year, we met with The Football Association to discuss the Official England Licensed Memorabilia range and licence. We agreed there were huge positives to take away from the Lionesses’ success at the recent European Championships and that the team has great potential. It’s a young, hungry and undeniably exciting team. Potential like this always has the ability to excite potential partners and sponsors on the lookout for areas of rapid growth where they can find a speedy return on investment.  

A World Cup year is a crucial time for any sport, but especially affects one that so often experiences scepticism from outsiders. With women’s football on a remarkable and culturally-important rise in the build-up to this summer’s tournament in France, clubs, brands and media outlets are actively increasing their involvement in various ways.

We can see the potential the sport has – that’s why we signed with one of its brightest stars earlier this year. Perhaps now it is time for more brands and corporations to sit up and pay attention.


See the full range of Lieke Martens signed memorabilia by clicking here.

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Icons CEO Instrumental In Bringing Fraudsters To Justice

Icons Shop Limited CEO, Dan Jamieson, and former head of A1 Sporting Memorabilia, Terry Baker, played key roles in the jailing of David Rennie from FA Premier Signings for the sale of faked signatures.

As one of three expert witnesses during the trial, Dan brought forth his expertise in the signatures of many of sport’s biggest stars and his vast experience in the memorabilia industry. He described the lengths Icons goes to in order to acquire authentic signed memorabilia from the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Pele, Diego Maradona and many others.

Dan also detailed the various ways Icons provides its customers with proof of the authenticity of a signed product. He explained that Icons strives to offer all available proof of an item being signed using photos and video, as well as key details such as when and where our signing sessions take place.

In doing so, he helped prove that the people behind FA Premier Signings were faking signatures and misleading the thousands of sports fans who had bought items from their website.

Also key in bringing Rennie to justice was Terry Baker, the man from whom Icons Shop Limited acquired its sister brand, A1 Sporting Memorabilia, in 2015. Baker has worked closely with the Icons team for a number of years.

Icons Shop Limited remains staunchly committed to the protection of the sports memorabilia industry from the litany of fakes and frauds that threaten to ruin the reputations of genuine memorabilia dealers.

We continue to work with trading standards agencies and other memorabilia outlets in the fight against such fraudsters. We strongly advise our customers – and any sports fans wishing to buy genuine signed sports memorabilia – to be diligent in their assessment of memorabilia sold online.

 

For more information on how to avoid fakes and frauds, please see our previous blog post “How To Buy A Genuine Lionel Messi Signed Shirt”.



It’s official! Eden Hazard joins the Icons family!

Icons Shop Limited is delighted to announce that Eden Hazard has signed an exclusive deal with the world’s leading signed football memorabilia company.

A fans’ favourite, the Chelsea and Belgium star is twice a Premier League winner and will feature in Icons’ flagship memorabilia ranges: our official UEFA Champions League range and official FIFA World Cup collection.

Hazard commented: “It is great to be part of the Icons family and I am looking forward to working with them for the coming season, especially with the 2018 World Cup in Russia coming up.”

The new exclusive Eden Hazard signed range will be sold on Icons.com and its sister site a1sportingmemorabilia.co.uk, as well as on FIFA.com, UEFA.com and in Harrods.

Icons was awarded the world’s first ever signed football memorabilia licence by FIFA in 2010 to produce a range of signed iconic World Cup products. In July 2012, we were awarded the first ever official licence for the UEFA Champions League and last year announced a licensing deal with the England FA. We have exclusive contracts with the world’s most famous international and UK players such as Lionel Messi and Dele Alli and enjoy long term relationships with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Maradona and Neymar Jr.

Dan Jamieson, CEO of Icons, said: “Icons’ promise is that our products are “signed by the world’s best” and Eden is certainly one of the world’s best footballers. It’s a match made in heaven.

“We are delighted that Eden is now an Icon and we can bring a 100% authentic signed memorabilia range to his fans around the world. Authenticity is everything to us, as it is everything to our customers.”

Having swept four trophies in five seasons since joining Chelsea from French side Lille in the summer of 2012, Eden Hazard has developed into one of the Premier League‘s most exciting and most technically-gifted players. Collecting numerous individual awards along the way, Hazard‘s explosive style has attracted a multitude of praise from fellow professionals, managers, coaches, fans and pundits alike.

His talent was no more evident than in 2014-15 when, as leading light for Belgium, he reached the quarter-finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup before returning to England to win the Premier League and the Capital One Cup as well as the PFA and FWA’s Player of the Year awards.

A further title-winning turn in 2016-17 has cemented his place as one of the world’s most sought-after talents, a player of remarkable natural talent whose stock is only rising by the day.


Shop from our full range of 100% authentic Eden Hazard signed items by visiting Icons.com today…

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CLOSED | JOB VACANCY: Football Editorial Internship

Work-For-Us

Think you know the greatest footballers of all time? Then we’ve got the job for you! That’s right – the home of the world’s best signed football memorabilia is looking for the world’s best editorial intern!

This role will report directly to Icons CEO Dan Jamieson so send us your CV and covering letter (with the correct usage of capital letters), explaining why you would be a good fit for this internship.

Check below for the full details of what we’re looking for and if you think you fit the bill why not apply now via Gorkana Jobs?

 

DETAILS

  • You will be based at our offices in Kentish Town, London
  • You will be paid London Living Wage
  • Interviews will take place in early June with a view to starting later in the month
  • For more details on the role please contact [email protected]

 

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES AND EXPERIENCE

You must have:

  • A flawless command of the English language
  • A love for – and an in-depth knowledge of – football and other sports
  • Strong subediting skills and a meticulous attention to detail
  • Experience of various social media tools and platforms
  • An excellent phone manner
  • An ability to work comfortably with content management systems
  • Experience of working with Photoshop (i.e. basic design and photo editing skills)

 

Additionally:

  • Foreign language skills are desirable (especially Spanish) but not essential

 

You will:

  • Update player profiles, product descriptions and various imagery
  • Write copy for adverts and promotions
  • Post from our social media channels, including our FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages
  • Contribute to the Icons blog
  • Assist with the management of our stock levels and inventory
  • Get the opportunity for travel and to meet the world’s best footballers and sportspeople

 

PLEASE NOTE: WE ARE NO LONGER TAKING APPLICATIONS FOR THIS INTERNSHIP.



Icons Shop Limited Shortlisted For A Sports Business Award

Icons Shop Limited is delighted to announce that it has been shortlisted as a finalist in the category of Best Small Business Serving Sport at the Sports Business Awards 2017.

This past year, we celebrated working with both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for over a decade. We also announced a brand new licence with The Football Association to produce Official England Licensed Memorabilia, further expanding our range of official licences with the world’s biggest organisations, events and brands, which already included the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA EURO 2016 and Official Messi Signed Merchandise.

In addition, Icons Shop Limited doubled turnover, experienced record sales for the busy Christmas and New Year period, expanded its staff and further strengthened its relationships with the world’s best footballers.

The Sports Business Awards celebrates “the vital influence of business within sport” and “recognises the organisations, teams and individuals who excel in a variety of business, CSR and sports governance disciplines.” The ceremony, which takes on June 2nd at The Brewery in London, will be attended by over 400 professionals from a variety of industries within the world of sport.

Also nominated in our category are All Sport Insurance, Beyond 90, Designwerk, FKPro, HRP Equestrian, ILG Business Ltd and Traveleads.

 

Click here to find out more about the Sports Business Awards. For the full list of finalists, click here.

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CLOSED | JOB VACANCY: Financial Controller

Work-For-Us

The home of the world’s best signed football memorabilia is looking for the world’s best financial controller… That’s right, if you’re a number-crunching football fanatic, this is the job for you!

Check below for the full details of what we’re looking for and if you think you fit the bill why not apply now?

 

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES AND EXPERIENCE

You must:

  • Be a qualified accountant
  • Have a good working knowledge of IFRS, the reporting standard of our parent company, Marka
  • Have sound analytical skills and business acumen
  • Have a passion for sport and football in particular

You will:

  • Report to the CEO and our parent company’s financial team
  • Get the opportunity for travel and to meet the world’s best footballers and sportspeople

 

DETAILS

  • This is a full-time role
  • You will be based at our offices in Kentish Town, London
  • The salary will be £50,000 p/a
  • For more details on the role please contact [email protected]

 

CLICK HERE TO APPLY VIA LINKEDIN



Why We Love Dramatic Endings To A Football Season

Saturday’s clash between Atlético Madrid and FC Barcelona at the Nou Camp will be only the third ‘winner takes all’ match on the final day of the campaign in history and the first since 1951.

Top 5 most dramatic endings to a football season

But over the past few years football has brought us some other spectacular and dramatic season endings. We have made a list in chronological order of the best five.

#1: English Premier League of 1988/89

Arsenal midfielder Mickey Thomas wrote himself into the history books when he scored the most dramatic of late winners to clinch the 1988/89 First Division title. Arsenal travelled to leaders Liverpool on the final day of the season needing to win by at least two goals to take the title on goal difference from the Anfield club. Leading 1-0 in injury time Thomas surged forward from midfield, ran onto an Alan Smith flick-on and chipped the advancing Bruce Grobbelaar to score Arsenal’s crucial second.

Click here to see the video.

#2: Spanish Primera Division of 1993/94

Picture the scene on the final day of the 1993-94 La Liga season… It’s Deportivo against Valencia at the Riazor on the final day of the season. Deportivo, sitting on top of the league, need to just hold their nerve and win to claim their first ever La Liga title. As the game heads into injury time it’s still 0-0. Title rivals Barcelona are beating Sevilla so Deportivo need to win.

As Deportivo throw everything forward, Nando is fouled in the box: penalty to Deportivo! Regular taker Bebeto bottles it, Donato has been substituted, so up steps Yugoslavian defender Miroslav Djukic. This to win the title. He shoots… And he… misses. His lame attempt, straight at goalie Gonzalez, hands Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona the title on goal difference.

Click here to see the video.

#3: German Bundesliga of 2000/01

Schalke 04 and Bayern Munich reached the penultimate round level on points and it looked like the dreadlock wouldn’t be broken. But in the last minute of their respective games Bayern scored the winner against Kaiserslautern and Stuttgart did the same against Schalke, leaving Bayern with a three-point advantage (albeit with a worse goal difference) over Schalke.

In the last matchday, Schalke amazingly recovered from a two-goal deficit to beat Unterhaching 5-3 but the title would still go to Bayern as long as they could hold the 0-0 score at Hamburg. In the 90th minute, however, Sergej Barbarez scored for Hamburg, sending the Schalke fans into raptures (and onto the pitch) celebrating what would have been their first German title since 1958. ‘Would have been’ had Patrik Andersson not drawn level for Bayern following an indirect free kick in the fourth minute of injury time.

Click here to see the video (in German).

#4: German Bundesliga of 1999/00 and 2001/02

To lose one Bundesliga that was in the bag might be considered unfortunate. To lose two smacked of carelessness. In 2000 Bayer Leverkusen only needed a draw against strugglers Unterhaching but, thanks largely to an own goal by Michael Ballack, contrived to lose 2-0. Bayern Munich don’t blow opportunities like this (apart from the 1999 UEFA Champions League final against Manchester United), and beat Werder Bremen 3-1.

In 2002 it was even worse for Leverkusen. They led by 5 points with 3 games to play, but lost two. Meanwhile Dortmund won their last three fixtures to grab an unlikely title. Leverkusen went on to lose in the finals of both the European and German Cups and have never been the same force since.

Click here to see the video (in German).

#5: English Premier League of 2011/12

Manchester City needed to beat struggling QPR at home to pip rivals Manchester United to the Premiership crown. Losing 2-1 going into injury time all looked lost. But step forward Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero in the 92nd and 93rd minutes to clinch a 3-2 win for the most astonishing ending to any Premier League season.

Click here to see the video.

Follow Icons on Twitter for all the latest football news, chat and competitions: @icons_football

 

 



Why We Love Brazil’s 1970 FIFA World Cup Squad, The Greatest Team Ever

It is the good old Friday afternoon discussion in the pub: what has been the greatest football team ever? We are giving you 5 reasons what made the 1970 FIFA World Cup™ Brazil team so special.

1970-World-Cup-Brazil-squad-is-the-greatest-team-of-all-time

#1: Revenge for 1966 FIFA World Cup™ 
The 1966 FIFA World Cup™ had been a huge blow for Brazil. Following the victories in ’58 and ’62, a new FIFA World Cup™ trophy was all that matters. But it ended in disaster. No win meant a particularly un-Brazilian first round exit, and the team was in complete disarray. They took the ultimate revenge four years later.

#2: A glorious exhibition of attacking football
“What this team needs are great players, players who are intelligent. Let’s go with that and see where it takes us.” Brazil manager Mario Zagallo realized that his role was one of overall management, not specific tactics. It led to one of the most sensational explosions of style and offense in the prestigious history of the tournament. Brazil had once again proved that force of personality could overwhelm the system.

#3: World Cup’s most thrilling attacking force
Starplayer Pelé was joined by thrilling wingers Jairzinho and Rivelino, playmaker Gerson, the nascent talent of midfielder Clodoaldo and skipper Carlos Alberto, a superb exponent of the art of the attacking full-back. Centre-forward Tostao was there, too, his career saved by an eye operation. Together they formed the World Cup’s most thrilling attacking force.

#4: Most memorable match in FIFA World Cup™ history
The group stage of the 1970 FIFA World Cup™ brought together first and foremost champions England and favourites Brazil. The match between them is regarded as one of the best in FIFA World Cup™ history – certainly among first round matches. Brazil won 1-0 thanks to a Jairzinho goal after a fine attack, but the game is also remembered for the “save of the century” by Gordon Banks from a Pelé header.

#:5 The best team goal in FIFA World Cup™ history

 

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