Thursday, 26 September 2013

Molson Coors forced to behave

I wrote in February that Alton Town FC, which plays in in the regional Wessex League, was told it was to be evicted at the end of the season from its sports ground so that the owner, Molson Coors, could build houses on the site. With nowhere to move to, the club faced closure. This is an update.

As a signatory to the petition, I received an e-mail recently from the chairman (sic) of Alton Town saying that more than 4000 people had signed, thus persuading Molson Coors to agree to upgrade the local council-owned football ground. He writes: "This would include up-to-date floodlights and the provision of a 3G artificial grass pitch (approved for match play by the FA). Such improvements would enable Alton United Youth (the current leaseholders) and Alton Town to come together as one larger club and thereby all benefit from these improved facilities." Instead of eviction at the end of last season, Molson Coors have agreed the team can stay where they are until the improvements are completed.

I'm glad Molson Coors eventually decided that being the bully boy wasn't good publicity but it's a shame that it had to go this far before they saw reason. It's the same attitude as the copyright lawyers bullying little brewers that I wrote about on 9 September. The good news is that it's another example of social media forcing big companies to improve their behaviour in response to unwelcome bad publicity. I think we'll probably see lots more of this in the future; I certainly hope so.

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