Cork City's Aaron Howey on keeping supporters engaged in the off-season

Club launched a new jersey at the weekend, with the away kit coming early in 2022
Cork City's Aaron Howey on keeping supporters engaged in the off-season

Steven Beattie, Cian Coleman, Gearóid Morrissey, CCFC players; Colin Healy, manager; Roos Demol, Recruit Refugees Ireland; and Cian Bargary, Jonas Häkkinen, Cian Murphy, CCFC players. Picture: Aaron Howey

ALTHOUGH the season is finished on the pitch for Cork City FC, for those working for the club off the pitch, these next few months can be their busiest.

The club unveiled their new 2022 home jersey this weekend with the away jersey to be released early next year.

City’s marketing executive, Aaron Howey, is excited about the next few weeks and is expecting a much different off-season compared to last year.

“This time of year is when the job gets exciting and fun because you have new jerseys and I expect there will be new signings, at some stage,” Howey said.

“You just get to have a bit of fun in the off-season. I do a lot of work on social media, and announcing signings nowadays is all about trying to do something different that hasn’t been done in the past.

“I’d always try and go down the catch-your-eye sort of route when creating an idea of how to announce a signing.

“I get there is a serious side to it, and there has to be a time and place for the serious stuff, but, I guess, in the off-season, when there is no football being played, you kind of have to go down a more humorous route because you want to attract people’s attention and keep people involved as well.

Credit to the players, because they make my job a lot easier with their attitude. I suppose they are the social-media generation of players.

“They are always up for things, even at the start of the season, when we are doing our media days, and we record goal celebrations and GIFs.The players are willing participants.

“This year, we started a TikTok and had a video of Mark McNulty and David Harrington, which got a great reaction,” Howey said.

 Veteran goalkeeper Mark McNulty. Picture: Larry Cummins
Veteran goalkeeper Mark McNulty. Picture: Larry Cummins

“The home jersey is out and we expect to release the away jersey then in February or March.

“There hasn’t been any images leaked yet of the home jersey. I always keep an eye out for that sort of stuff. People are always trying to mock one up and see what it could look like, and, to be fair, that’s what I used to do before I started working at the club.

“There has been a couple of mock ones that have been close and are kind of like it, but the actual jersey hasn’t been leaked yet.

“We have also been working on selling season tickets for next season and there has been a great uptake so far.

“Last year was probably as bad as it gets, in terms of difficulty-wise in selling season tickets. We went down a season card route in the end, where there were other events, as well as matches, included.

“People kind of knew last year that there was a high possibility they wouldn’t be getting to any games. People nearly had to part with their money knowing that they probably wouldn’t get to a game. Luckily, by the end, I think supporters got to attend 10 matches.

This year has helped that we ended the season with a couple of wins and a few good results, whereas, the previous year, we had been relegated. When results are better on the pitch, it makes our job easier.”

Although Howey’s job title is marketing executive, everyone at the club helps one another in every department. Howey has always been a fan of the club and loves working for the team he supported growing up.

“The job is a bit of everything,” Howey said. “There’s the media side, such as social media, the website, the press conferences, etc.

“I’ll print a jersey for a player if Mick [Ring, City’s kitman] isn’t around. There’s bits of everything, but that’s just not for me, it’s for everyone. We are a close group, so we make sure we pull our weight.

“My first-ever match I went to was the league-winning game in 2005. I went with my uncle and brother.

“I was the definition of a sunshine supporter,” Howey said. “I’ve been supporting the club since then. I didn’t start going to away games until 2013, and it was all on the John Kennedy buses.

“I’ve missed two games in the last three years and it’s just a bit surreal I get to go to games as part of my job.”

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