Interviews with four key people involved in the partnershipFleetwood Town and Lokomotiv Tashkent began their journey together this week as the two clubs came together and agreed a unique partnership which will see both teams benefit in numerous ways.
The Cod Army held a press conference on Monday afternoon at Highbury Stadium, unveiling the partnership with representatives from both parties present.
Below are a few key quotes from both sides, including the thoughts of Steve Bellis from Kick Worldwide, who was instrumental in the partnership being agreed.
Steve Curwood, Fleetwood Town Chief Executive: “If somebody had said to me 12 months ago that this partnership was to be agreed, I would say that you were crackers.
“I have been talking to Steve Bellis from Kick Worldwide and I have known Steve for a number of years and his work in all parts of the world with various projects.
“He has great links all across the world. Fleetwood Town have never really had an opportunity to get involved in these types of projects before because we weren’t at a level then to add value to what he was delivering oversees.
“We have continued dialogue with Steve throughout our progression as a football club and he has seen a significant opportunity for Fleetwood Town to partner up with a club that he has had good relations with in Uzbekistan.
“I received a call from him saying that there may be an interesting partnership available.
“Lokomotiv Tashkent were looking for a UK club to partner with. Steve spoke to them and they did their research and we have been approached by them to partner up in a number of links.
“Where we go from here is that we will have a delegation that will go out to Tashkent in the forthcoming months and sign a formal partnership which will detail areas that we anticipate will benefit both sides.
“We anticipate enjoying a commercial tour in pre-season of next year with the opportunity to send other Fleetwood teams out there over the forthcoming season.
“It is a longer term partnership. There will be business links and football is a perfect bridge for commercial trade and marketing.
“There is a lot of trade that won’t be known to most that goes on between the UK and Uzbekistan and there are a lot of companies involved in that, names that people will be familiar with who do a large amount of trading with the nation.
“If we can create a bridge where it will make commercial trade a bit more interesting then hopefully a number of those companies will benefit from an association with Fleetwood Town.”
Gretar Steinsson, Fleetwood Town’s Technical Director: “It partnership replicates the ambition of Fleetwood Town. We are ambitious and we are innovative and this is a key part of it.
“It is great to explore and see different opportunities, not only on the football pitch but we are looking for ways to benefit off the football pitch too.
“We are looking at education, marketing, commercial, multimedia and many more different ways to help improve Fleetwood Town FC.
“We are exploring new possibilities we can benefit from. This is the start.
“This is not the norm. A lot of clubs would be interested in doing a similar thing but it is hard work, it is not easy.
“A lot of people are pulling together to create this and make this happen. We are different, Fleetwood Town have risen extremely quick and we do things differently.
“We are adventurous, we are ambitious and we want to see different things. We are very open to new ideas and this agreement is a part of that.
“There is a huge population of people in Uzbekistan. It is a huge place to put Fleetwood on the map. It is something we probably where not expected to do a few years ago.
“But now we are doing and testing it out to see how we can do it. I am certain that many aspects of this cooperation will be successful. I am sure this partnership will help us improve as a football club.
“It is exciting and it fits. Both football clubs are looking to expand in all areas and exploring different revenue streams. I don’t think Lokomotiv Tashkent could have found a better partner and same for us. We both can’t wait for the future.
“Football is always changing and growing. It is important to be open minded and see what other countries do and cultures do.
“We can then pick up ideas that we can use to benefit ourselves. “
Davron Azizov, Director of Marketing and Communications at Lokomotiv Tashkent said: “I felt quite a good philosophy of football when I visited Fleetwood on Saturday for their game against Colchester United.
“We are all here for future development which will bring us to a new level of development and progress.
“We see Fleetwood as a role model in UK football as they’ve developed from the very bottom to the success which they have now.
“We want to put all our efforts together to develop a good partnership base with youth football as that is our future.
“Developing this partnership will put all our goals and targets in front of us, and hopefully in the near future we can do a lot together.
“It’s good awareness for the Uzbekistan audience to know more about Fleetwood Town, and for Fleetwood Town’s audience to know more about Uzbekistan.
“We were introduced to Fleetwood which was a great honour in itself, and even though we play at different levels now, I believe they can go on to become a Premier League team.
“We thank Fleetwood for a warm welcome and accepting us. We are looking forward to this tremendous project between Lokomotiv Tashkent and Fleetwood Town.”
Steve Bellis from Kick Worldwide concluded by saying: “I created my own business, Kick Worldwide’, and wanted to build on what we’d done in the past and share that experience of bringing clubs together from the UK.
“We’ve known Fleetwood Town for a long time and they’d told us in the past that if they did ever reach League One then they might look at something international.
“I think more people should be doing something like this because it’s visionary. When you talk to the chairman here you can see he is visionary.
“What’s interesting here though is that it’s Uzbekistan who have chosen Fleetwood. They have looked at the market and what’s makes sense for them.
“They understand that a club like Fleetwood is a perfect role model for them given the success they’ve had in such a short space of time.
“The clubs are at a fairly similar age so actually there’s a lot more in common than first appears.
“Clearly there are going to be financial opportunities for Fleetwood which will open the door for new sponsors.
“It’s more than financial benefits though. It’s about sharing experiences and bringing the two places together.
“What we’ve noticed from experience is that football is a great bridge, and has a great at of overcoming politics and languages.
“It’s something you can use to bring people together. I’d love to see Uzbekistan footballers come over to Fleetwood, and in return young footballers from this country experiencing Asia too.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity and another example of how Fleetwood are looking ahead and continuing to move forward.”