Behind The Badge: The New Saints FC’s (TNS) ‘unique’ rise to European football

Welsh football is often overshadowed by the gargantuan size of the English Premier League, with coverage of the latter dominating not just in the UK, but the rest of the world. 

However, there has been one key figure and team that have been flying the flag for Welsh football for the last 25 years and have even got their name buzzing in UEFA European competitions as well. 

This is of course Mike Harris, Chairman of The New Saints FC (TNS), who was the latest guest on the sports sponsorship podcast, Behind The Badge. 

TNS’ rise has been nothing short of unique to say the least. Originating as Llansantffraid FC in 1959, the club made a change that was largely unheard of at the time, changing its official name to Total Network Solutions FC

This was born out of the mind of Harris, who acquired the football club in the late 1990s to change the name after his own company. He revealed the thought process behind the name switch and the unique branding opportunity that he was sure was bound to draw attention. 

The TNS Chairman also recounted how fans reacted to the name switch and how the initial deal became a “significant” commercial agreement. 

With commercial and monetary no doubt a priority, Harris’ focus for the club became how to get Oswestry and Wales football on the map, breaking down barriers in place to achieve “around £2m per season”. 

These successful ambitions are best represented with TNS’ year-on-year involvement in UEFA European competitions, which have led to the club competing against the likes of Liverpool FC in 2005 and Manchester City in 2004 in qualifying rounds. 

Harris did not underestimate the lucrative monetary benefits to competing in European tournaments and broke down how TNS’ involvement has impacted the club financially. 

The TNS Chairman rounded off by reflecting on the impact of his work at the club but clarified he is by no means slowing down yet, signalling his intent to grow TNS and Welsh football further down the line. 

To hear the full episode of the latest Behind the Badge podcast on Spotify, listen here.

To watch the full episode of the latest Behind the Badge podcast on YouTube, click here or watch below. 

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