A small Birmingham firm has won a prestige contract to provide fans with their own permanent tributes at the most famous football stadium in the world.
Birmingham-based Investors In Sport, run by former Aston Villa head of marketing Phil Smith, has clinched the order to supply up to 40,000 personalised stones around the concourses of the Wembley Stadium.
The stones will provide fans with a unique opportunity to make their very own permanent mark at the world-famous venue, including replica stonework around the Wembley statue of 1966 World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore.
Mr Smith said: “The main scheme at Wembley will be strips of stones around the stadium. There’s space for 40,000 and the installation is planned for January and February.
“We have sold 2,000 already – it has been amazingly successful in the run-up to Christmas. You can have whatever message you like on them – it’s giving the fans the opportunity to leave their own message.
“We have also put stones in for all the 11 England players who played in the 1966 World Cup Final as well as seven current England players who have each reached 50 international caps, including Frank Lampard, John Terry, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand and Gareth Barry.”
The Fort Dunlop-based company won the Wembley contract after successfully completing a major project at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, which has seen 30,000 personalised stones sold, while other projects are in the pipeline with Portsmouth and Lancashire County Cricket Club.
He added: “Sports clubs are great at attracting interest but sometimes not particularly good at executing ideas, which is where we come in. The Arsenal project was a baptism of fire and has generated so much interest at the Emirates.
“Wembley is a real feather in the cap for us. The last couple of years have been tremendous for us – I think there is a real market for people who want help from partners who can out-source part of their workload.
“The personalised stones projects are just a part of what we can offer but it’s an area that has certainly taken off and put us on the map with sports clubs and their administrations. “Sports businesses are clearly attracted to the proposition of having a complete project managed from top to bottom after they’ve identified an opportunity and we’re hoping we can roll this out to international clients in the near future.
“We’ve been delighted with our progress, especially in such a difficult commercial climate and the response has been tremendously encouraging.”
Investors in Sport began trading in earnest in 2008, and has grown into a £750,000 turnover business, employing eight people.