Meet the YouTube business providing a platform for non-league football with the help of young people

BY RYAN MORAN

Alan Hansen wrote himself into football folklore with his infamous “you can’t win anything with kids” analysis of Manchester United before the won the Premier League in 1995/96. But one company in Brighton prides itself on achieving success with a fresh-faced workforce.

Brighton-based videography company Your Instant Replay film football matches in London and the South East, employing A-Level students all the way up to university graduates. They film, edit and run YouTube channels for non-league football clubs by filming matches and editing them down to highlights.

Louis Clark, founder of Your Instant Replay, started by filming at Steyning Town FC and now counts YouTube sides SE Dons, Hashtag United and Palmers FC among the clubs they film for. The Dons, Hashtag and Palmers have 840,000 subscribers between them and that’s just three of the companies on the company’s books.

Clark, an ex-Brighton and Hove Albion youth player, started the company after studying marketing in America while playing D1 college football for Syracuse in upstate New York. After leaving America he played football for three years in Australia and the Philippines.

After initially accepting an offer to play with Jermaine Pennant at Tampines Rovers in Singapore, he turned it down to start Your Instant Replay. Clark bought a camera and a tripod and filmed his friend’s games at Steyning Town.

Clark said he faced some scepticism from non-league clubs in the early days. “I was just going up to clubs and saying, ‘look, let us film your games’ and they were like ‘why would we want it filmed? We don’t have a scaffold, we don’t have anything, and we don’t want it filmed’. I was fighting a lot of battles with people that didn’t understand it, but they do now. Everyone gets it now.”

Your Instant Replay has gone from filming four teams casually and doing filming for free in their first season to having demand for 50 games a week, all within three years. This raised a dilemma for Clark.

He said: “There was a decision to make. Do we just hold back, learn about what we were doing a bit more and then do a good job? Then off the back of doing a good job, take the work. Which was a hard decision.”

Clark was self-taught from filming to editing, using iMovie in the first two years before upgrading to Premiere Pro before their third season of filming.

Clark said: “I think a lot of them come to Your Instant Replay and they have no work skills. And it’s like starting again almost.

“They come to me after graduating university and they’re like I don’t know what to do. They say, ‘I have a sport journalism degree but I don’t really know what to do’.

“I love kids like that. I want as many of them guys as possible and our whole work force is youngsters. Whether it’s the guys that do the socials, the guys that are going out and filming, the guys that are in the office until one o’clock Sunday morning, editing Saturday’s games. Doing the marketing, everything, all young people.”

Their decision to employ youngsters has been incredibly successful, with their videos reaching over 8.5 million views, and over four million impressions on social media since their inception three years ago. Clark puts this down to creating relationships with companies with big social media followings like 433, SPORTbible and Soccer AM, who have 47.1 million followers between them across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

He said: “For the first two years we weren’t on their radar. The odd clip would get posted by Soccer AM but it was an as and when, sort of thing.

“You’re praying for someone to smash the bar, it come off their face and then they scissor kick it in the top corner or something.”

This upturn in fortune for Clark has presented the opportunity to expand and create more job opportunities in wider areas. Clark said: “We’re scaling up and we’re staffing up. When we get this money we’re going to be able to offer more part-time jobs, more full-time jobs across more things. Not just filming, not just editing.

“I ideally want a sales team, people actively trying to bring more clubs in, more work in. Our main thing we’re being strong with at the moment is that we have all this content but can someone go through it all and pick out these viral clips for 433 and Soccer AM.”

Clark has no plans to bask in their success. He aims to gain more work in London next year due to the density of teams in one area, with the aim of going national in the longer term.

Clark said: “I heard, and it seems a bit lofty, that like 15,000 games are played across the UK from all levels. I’m talking pub football to Conference Prem (now The National League). I heard it was 15,000. I can’t remember where from, but at £100 a game that’s £1.5 million a week.

“I’m saying obviously that’s never going to happen but if you can take one percent of that you’ve got a great business. They have plans to innovate the product as well.

“We’re just trying to stay ahead of the curve. I think the next thing is live streaming but there’s rules around live streaming. You can’t live stream any game on a Saturday at 3pm.

“We’ve live-streamed a few games this year. Some clubs are for it, some are against it. It stops people paying their tenner when they come into the ground which is very important to a lot of clubs to keep them afloat.”

Clark wants to stay rooted with the company’s purpose of filming in non-league and grass roots football, despite big projects with Nike and Pro:Direct Soccer in the pipeline.

He said: “For me, honestly I want to keep it where we started. So, any Saturday team, any Sunday team, any youth team, women’s football, disabled football, beach football.”

(Feature image: Ryan Clark/Your Instant Replay)

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