The Gareth Southgate effect

It’s no secret that my knowledge of football is minimal, in fact that in itself is an overstatement – I have no interest, much to the disgust of most of the Stone Junction office. One thing that did catch my eye during the World Cup though, was how dapper Gareth Southgate looked in his signature waistcoat, and it turns out I’m not the only one.

By Chris Brown, account manager

Marks & Spencer, which has been the official suit supplier for the England team since 2007, said that demand for its range of waistcoats has risen by 35 per cent, all due to the something that is now known as the Gareth Southgate effect. It’s not just the image of the humble waistcoat that has undergone the Southgate treatment though, he’s also had a positive impact on the England team’s image.

Since the days of Glenn Hoddle, who I’m told was an OK football manager, the team has been berated by both media and fans after each and every PR blunder. From rowdy WAGS to scandalous affairs, fans have been quick to turn when the team have failed to bring the cup home — or even get past the group stages.

However, this time it was different. Despite being knocked out in the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, Southgate has managed to protect his team from scrutiny and disgrace all through some very clever PR. Public interviews and use of social media has resulted in the team coming across as calm, collected and fun, despite the tremendous amount of pressure they were under.

With the media under its own pressure to write about the England team everyday during the World Cup, if there wasn’t an obvious story, they would find one whether it was good for the team or not. Southgate expertly managed this by ensuring he created the stories.

From making players available for interviews to hosting darts and pool tournaments with the press – he was able to take control of the messages going out. And when the team sheet was leaked ahead of the Panama game, he challenged the media head on during an interview with talkSPORT saying “So of course our media has to decide whether they want to help the team or not”. A bold move for sure.

Not even the WAGs have been allowed to ruin this carefully created new image, with a number of them even being banned from attending games, sending positive vibes to their partners 30 miles away from the comfort of a luxury hotel.

Although the England team couldn’t bring football home in the end (sorry, I had to say it), Southgate has been deemed a true PR mastermind, one that we all could learn from.

If you’d like advice on how to ensure you and your team are media ready, or if you need a hand improving your brand image via a robust content PR strategy, why not drop me a line on 01785 225416 or email to see how we can help.


Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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