Today’s columnist, Neil Anderson: Putting city on football map

Lord Mayor of Sheffield unveiling the Youdan Trophy at Sheffield Town Hall alongside sculptor Graham Ibbeson (left) who made it and Keith Hackett, tournament organiser (right).
Lord Mayor of Sheffield unveiling the Youdan Trophy at Sheffield Town Hall alongside sculptor Graham Ibbeson (left) who made it and Keith Hackett, tournament organiser (right).
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Cities need identities and unique selling points – USPs – to set them apart from rivals. It’s what tourism and the ability to attract outside investment is built on.

It spreads a feelgood factor amongst the local population and turns them into a ready-made marketing machine as they wax lyrical about their city to anyone who will listen to them.

Sheffield has USPs in abundance but one that can regularly get lost is its stake in the history of football.

We’re home to the world’s oldest club in the shape of Sheffield FC. In fact there’s a plethora of firsts, including oldest football ground Hallam FC, first ‘derby’ game Sheffield FC v Hallam FC and the oldest major football ground – Bramall Lane.

I had the pleasure of looking after PR for a new tournament that is hoping to reclaim the city’s place as the home of football.

The new Youdan Trophy celebrates yet another Sheffield first – the world’s oldest football tournament.

The Football Challenge Cup presented by Thomas Youdan Esq was played only once at Bramall Lane in 1867 and pre-dates the FA Cup by a full four years.

The messages of thanks and support from the teams that played in Sheffield last month as part of the new Youdan Trophy left no-one in any doubt this is an event capable of putting the Steel City back on the international map.

The visiting clubs have now taken news of Sheffield football back as far as Australia, where the furthest team travelled from.

The Youdan Trophy enjoyed the backing of Sheffield City Council and both universities which helped to give it a massive profile across the city.

The event was organised by Sheffield-based You-Are-The-Ref.com who need to be congratulated for their drive and belief in making it happen. Plans for Youdan Trophy 2016 are already taking shape with a big increase in the number of teams playing at under 14 planned and the introduction of under 16s with more teams flying in from Europe, America and the Far East.

The organisers are promising year-on-year growth and age groups for girls following links that have been made with teams in the USA and the rise of the professional women’s football in the UK.

The Youdan Trophy is aiming to grow to become the biggest and most prestigious tournament of its kind in the whole of Europe and leave no-one in any doubt as to where it is being played – in Sheffield, the home of football.

* Neil Anderson, Public Relations Guru