However, a group of friends decided that they should attempt to breathe some life back into the cub and give one last shot. So began a quite remarkable turnaround. The club managed to avoid a completely winless season, and, during the Summer break, rebuilt their depleted squad. With the new season just underway, work started on building the ‘new’ Caversham United. Led by player and Chairman Paul Gutteridge, they embarked on a social media campaign, centred on the Twitter platform, creating online polls to give the club a nickname and suggest the design of a new badge. The focus of this early venture into social media was around the location of the club, the locally famous bridge into Caversham and the goats on the Reading coat of arms. This helped to give the club an identity and raise some local awareness. The Billy Goats, as the new nickname determined, together with their Caversham Bridge badge, gained a ripple of attention locally, including local media, and a renewed vigour which began to show through results on the pitch.
The next move came when the club teamed up with Ireland-based, online football kit and memorabilia entrepreneurs fooballkitbox.com, to begin a competition to design a new kit for the club. This was an incredibly successful move with hundreds of kit designs being submitted, gaining more followers and recognition for both the club and for footballkitbox.com.
The club continued to improve on the pitch, reaching a cup semi-final and, adorned in their wonderful new kit, attaining promotion by means of a second-place finish. The Twitter following of the club was now well over 3,000 and included a host of professional clubs from around the world, such as AS Roma and 1FC Koln (who also have a goat on their badge).
During the Summer, shortly after the announcement that the club had been promoted two divisions and would play in Division Two the following season, they also ran a hugely successful charity cup competition, The Caversham Cup, featuring teams from across the country. The event raised over £2,000 for cancer charity Balls To Cancer.
Their Twitter following is now way above 5,000. They have just completed a second kit design competition with footballkitbox.com for a change strip, have a new ground with better facilities and are most definitely a club on the up. What a turnaround! From almost going out of existence to a double promotion, thousands of followers from over 100 countries across the globe and two superb new kits all in the space of 18 months. That is the power of social media when used in the right way.
Caversham United FC - @CaverhsamUnited
Footballkitbox.com - @footballkitbox