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The Seven Golden Secrets Of A Successful Stadium

The Seven Go£den Secrets Of A Successful Stadium

By Paul Fletcher MBE, with Ken Sharp.

7 chapters.
315 pages.
125,000 words.
84 colour photographs.
Foreword: Alastair Campbell.
Inside cover: Tom Watt.
Back Cover: Alan Shearer OBE
Retail Price: £78.00.


Often, books about football stadiums display an aerial photograph of a famous ground on the jacket. The cover photograph on The Seven Go£den Secrets of a Successful Stadium reveals Paul Fletcher’s belief of what football stadiums are all about, spectators.

Books about stadiums are boring. Traditionally they are written by architects, project managers or structural engineers who comment on the design, the function or the form of the building.

This book is different. It’s written by a client. Someone who commissions these people to build a stadium for him. And here’s where the author is unique. Not only did he visit numerous football stadiums from the age of 8; play in football stadiums professionally for 16 years; work as a Commercial Manager in football and then took on the Chief Executive role, he was then given the task of, ‘build us a new football stadium’ by the Board of Huddersfield Town in 1991.

Four years later, under Fletcher guidance, the new McAlpine Stadium Huddersfield opened and was voted ‘Building of the Year’, an incredible achievement.

Paul Fletcher then moved to his old club Bolton Wanderers as CEO of the new Reebok stadium, Bolton, which later won the ‘BCI Building of the Year’ in 1998. After two years he was seduced down to London to be Commercial Manager at the new £450million Wembley Stadium. But, after 20 months, as costs escalated he resigned his position on a point of principle.

Within weeks he was offered the position of Chief Executive at the proposed Ricoh Arena, Coventry where he stayed for over 6 years to create the first new stadium to include a hotel, exhibition hall and casino, a £114m project.

In the 2007 New Year Honours list he was awarded the MBE for his services to football.

Paul Fletcher has always been fascinated by the commercial aspects of a football stadium and is the inventor of ‘StadiArena’, a concept which converts an open-air football stadium into a covered arena in 6 minutes. He holds patents in the UK and Europe with World-wide patents pending. Licenses have been sold to TransStadia India where 6 new stadiums are planned all featuring a StadiArena, with the first, in Ahmedabad due to open in 2013. In addition two similar stadiums are planned in Sydney, Australia.

For the last few years Paul Fletcher has been back at Turf Moor, Burnley, where he spent 10 years as a professional player. In his first year back at the club, Burnley were promoted back into the FA Premiership and now plans are afoot for a new StadiArena stand plus the World’s first UCFB, University & College of Football Business.

Paul Fletcher focuses on community, legacy and football spectators when developing stadium venues. He is a long-standing critic of stadium architects and was once described as the ‘Prince Charles of stadium architecture’. He says that architects have ‘infiltrated’ his beloved football industry selling ‘goldfish’ bowl designs to clubs where the end users, the supporters, want atmosphere and excitement not form and function. Yet an eminent architect who proof read the book says “I thought it was a great read and I suspect only you could have written a book with that knowledge. It definitely fills a huge gap in the stadium book market. You seem to give away a lot of 'secrets' but I was relieved to read at the end that you were writing a second book as the cost one book seems cheap for what you are telling your reader”

Football is a £trillion industry. It is the only sport that is played in every country in the world. The FA Premiership is by far the most successful and lucrative league in World Football. In England there have been 28 new stadiums since the tragedies at Bradford City in 1885 and Hillsborough in 1989. The UK is world leader in new stadium design and technology of which Paul Fletcher has played a significant part. A football stadium, built with a 50 year lifespan, is used for one year out of the fifty, lying idle for 49 years. Future years will see many changes and Paul Fletcher will be leading those changes.

The Seven Go£den Secrets of a Successful Stadium explains the history of sports building; the design and development stages; the construction phase and finally the opening and operation. The book is littered with anecdotes and personal experiences explaining how Paul Fletcher sees the stadium industries’ development. He suggests this knowledge can either ‘make a £million’ or ‘save a £million’ for anyone looking to build a new stadium who is beginning as a ‘naïve’ client, as he was.

Fletcher has asked his good friend and stadium guru Ken Sharp to write the commercial sections describing him as ‘the world’s greatest stadium salesman’. An Australian by birth Ken Sharp has sold over £40million of ‘business club seats’ at five UK stadiums since he was persuaded by Paul Fletcher to leave Australia for the stadium opportunities in England. A number of other stadium specialists have been invited to write specific sections for the book.

The Seven Go£den Secrets of a Successful Stadium are: Sense, Smart, Source, Study, Sponsor, StadiArena and Seeing; and each chapter explains the importance of these categories.

The foreword is written by life-long Burnley fan Alastair Campbell; the inside cover piece is written by actor and football fan Tom Watt; Alan Shearer OBE is gushing in his praise for Paul Fletcher on the back cover ending with the words, “As one paid up member of the ‘Former Centre Forwards Association’ to another: Respect!”

Paul Fletcher has been a successful After Dinner speaker and Motivational speaker for over 20 years and one section of the book covers the importance of self-development, staff motivation and the importance of having fun.

A chapter list or the first chapter is available by request: paul@paulfletcher.co.uk