In the last couple of weeks I sat down via Zoom with Louis Clark who runs Your Instant Replay to find out from him how they began, what the effect of the pandemic has been and what the future holds. Here is part 1:
TK: Louis, thank you very much for your time for this. Now I came across you and Your Instant Replay (YIR) when I was at Wick FC, but you guys began in 2016, was it something that you always wanted to do?
LC: To be honest mate, I didn’t have a clue when we first started! I’d never held camera nor done any editing, nothing like that, but I played abroad for like ten year or so and everything was filmed out there and I mean everything.
I had mates back here playing County league, Sunday league and Isthmian level and there was nothing like that and as a player I think you want to watch yourself play, I certainly did and was always searching for highlights that evening.
So I felt there was something there, some companies were doing it but it wasn’t consistent. I had to the idea then to come home, I was playing in Manilla at the time, I wasn’t ever going to be a big time professional player or anything and thought I really wanna try this.
Armed with one camera, I signed up at Worthing with Jon Meeney, they were the first club shortly followed by Steyning Town and of course then the first problem if they were both at home on the same day!
So I learnt the hard way it was going to be some expense to start with before I made any money back and I was playing while trying to do it as well, but my head was always on after the game picking up the cameras etc so I gave up playing and been full time at this since 2016.
I won’t lie, it was tough for a year and a half, losing money, trying to pitch it to people who couldn’t see the value in it. We made plenty of mistakes but learnt on the job to improve. We had a good relationship with the Sussex County FA which gave us some early exposure, but what is really great is 90% of the clubs who started with us in 2016 are still having their games filmed by us.
I still don’t think we’ve cracked it we’re surviving at the moment like a lot of things are in this current situation but pre-covid it was my dream job, it still is. It’s still the buzz of being around football, but the last year has no doubt nearly set us back to square one again.
TK: If we go back exactly twelve months from now, how many clubs did you have on board when the pandemic struck?
LC: I can’t quite put a figure on it because we had so many clubs saying ‘can you come and film this one game for us’, so the metric I use is how many we do per week which was 30 games per week and when I say games, Under 7’s Patcham and women’s football on a Sunday, County League and Isthmian plus National League South on a Tuesday night, college games on a Wednesday we do a lot of work with RMA run by Russell Martin and then games all round everywhere on a Saturday.
That was all pre-pandemic but we had lots in the pipeline too. We have a good relationship with the full FA as well, I don’t know if people have seen the ‘England reacts’ videos online that we put out and we had just started do to international friendlies for them. We were booked in to do England Under 21’s Lionesses at St Georges Park, but it all went just like that once the season stopped last March, it didn’t happen.
We were in a really good spot and the aim for this season was to be doing 50 games a week, the demand was there and I had clubs ready to go and now we’re facing fighting battles again, clubs are inevitably going to say next season sponsorship is down so they’ve got to cut costs etc. but the message I try and get across is the footage can pay for itself if you can find a sponsor or more than one or depending on your level the pay per view route.
It can be a real revenue earner for clubs and inevitably it will change when fans are allowed back into stadiums again and there will still be lots of opportunities but for now it’s tough, tough, tough.
TK: Did the first lockdown period change how you were going to do things going into the 2020/21 season?
LC: Yeah massively. As I mentioned we had planned for the 50 games, equipment to buy, getting people in place, and bang all gone! There are no contracts to this, most of it is done on a handshake. We’ve tried service level agreements but of course county leagues we can’t hold to that if they’ve run out of money.
So we kept most of the ones from last year but the ones who were going to come on board it really screwed things up for them and us and it didn’t help with not knowing when the season was actually going to kick off.
You can find YIR here:
@YourInstReplay on Twitter