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The rise of the ‘over-the-top’ transfer announcement

Social media plays a larger role than ever in the lives of football fans around the world.  Since social media’s initial breakout in the early 2000’s its reach and engagement have soared higher than ever expected. This rise in social media fandom in the sport has given footballers and fans alike the perfect opportunity to keep in a constant loop and feel connected to their favourite footballers and feel closer to players than ever before. In this day and age, social media is now the go-to if you want to try and communicate with your favourite footballers and vice versa. Football stars are well-followed celebrities in their own right and many of them tend to use Twitter and Instagram as a remote mobile press conference after each and every game to grow their influence. It’s often used as a means of gaining influence and making themselves a more attractive prospect, a handy tool at their disposal when it comes to contract negotiations. However, the rise of social media influence on football culture also offers an opportunity for football clubs to get creative with their marketing and perhaps the best example of this is their output during the transfer window. The days of the boring boardroom snapshot are over as football clubs try to outdo each other with high-drama videos. From City announcing Haaland to Arsenal’s welcome for Vieira, the player announcement video is commonplace now. Here’s our collection of cinematic masterpieces and PR clangers from over the years.


Erling Haaland to Manchester City in 2022

It’s fair to say Manchester City’s long-awaited unveiling of Norwegian striker Erling Haaland was well worth the wait for City fans after his lightning-quick start to life at the Etihad with City now 1/4 to win the title according to the best betting sites. While his play on the pitch is anything but ordinary, his announcement video was pretty route one. Recreating a photo of an adolescent Haaland donning a City shirt while perched on a sofa, the video racked up 10 million views on Twitter. City’s social media team captioned the post “HE’S HERE!”, showing a level of excitement that was certainly not replicated by Haaland’s expression. Nonetheless, it was a smart announcement, even if Manchester City’s attempts to convince a sceptical public that Erling Haaland is a lifelong Blues fan are becoming a little tedious.

Stuart Taylor to Southampton in 2017


Deliberately spoofing the over-the-top transfer video, Saints brought the full Hollywood approach to the relatively mundane signing of a reserve goalkeeper on a 1-year contract. The resulting advert was something you’d expect to see at the cinema rather than on a football club’s twitter page. Southampton opted to use a movie trailer-style approach to unveil their new man, including action film staples such as yachts, helicopters and a car chase along with intense music to build up the suspense. It might have been deliberately over the top but with over two million views the widespread reaction was to commend the marketing department behind the stunt.

Gianluca Scamacca to West Ham United in 2022


West Ham’s announcement of the signing of Italian international Gianluca Scamacca was notable for two reasons. Firstly, it was posted via a classy remake of the opening credits to Channel 4’s cult 90s highlights show, Gazzetta Football Italia. Secondly, they spelt his name wrong in a classic example of how there is a propensity with social media to see the positive hype surrounding a new signing backfire with a simple mistake. The video was promptly taken down and reposted, attracting more attention to the £30m signing than probably would’ve been generated by an ordinary, accurately-spelt post. Maybe that was the plan all along.


Paul Pogba to Manchester United in 2016


Part cult, part music video, part footballing news, Paul Pogba’s return to Manchester United for a then-world record £89million was the transfer that cemented social media’s role as the primary means of communicating transfer news with the world. Timed for maximum impact in the Far East and the USA, the news appeared just after midnight UK time, a clear nod to the commercial reality that shirt and merchandise sales are now as much a part of the ROI of a transfer as on-pitch performance. The #PogBack hashtag sought to build a homecoming narrative as the player returned to the club he left in 2012, while famous grime star Stormzy’s inclusion helped spread the news to audiences far beyond football. For Adidas, with trainer sales and other sports to appeal to, it was a canny move.

Matt Paterson to Oxford City in 2017


With Premier League transfers usually seen as quite a big deal, it isn’t always the same story when you go down a few leagues. Due to the huge reduction in funds and revenue, Oxford City decided to unveil their man with a picture of him signing his contract in McDonald’s with a free Barclays pen. The unusual location generated significant buzz, with Oxford’s tweet retweeted over 1,000 times and picked up by several sporting publications. Even the McDonald’s UK Twitter page got in on the act, retweeting and helping Oxford City share their news with wider sports fans who follow the restaurant.

Andre Moreira to Aston Villa in 2018


Love Island is a modern-day reality TV phenomenon, and Aston Villa struck while the iron was hot with this one theming a Twitter announcement of new signing Andre Moreira around the ITV show. Demonstrating a clear attempt to piggyback on popular culture, their tweet that focused on “a new boy entering the villa” drew mixed reactions, some in stitches while others understandably dubbed it “cringe-worthy” or “embarrassing”. That being said, nearly 500,000 people have now viewed the tweet which has racked up over 2000 retweets and 8000 likes. It might be an example of blatantly jumping on the bandwagon but in the social media age, it is clearly an effective tactic of drawing attention.

Wout Weghorst to Burnley in 2022


Try to ignore Wout Weghorst’s disappointing form at Burnley, and instead drink in the marvellous cinema of his social media announcement video. Leaning heavily on the 6ft 6 in Dutch striker’s enormous stature, Burnley produced a Jurassic Park-inspired video that likened their new £12 million signing to a terrifying prehistoric creature. Torrential rain, a battered jeep, deafening roars; their Deadline Day repurposing of a classic Hollywood scene was clever. Sadly, he didn’t look quite as scary when up against Premier League defenders.

Photo by Unsplash

Article title: The rise of the ‘over-the-top’ transfer announcement

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