Goals and Goosebumps…
An unforgettable moment in football history kicked off a whole new venture for football fan Russell Henderson.
It was Sergio Aguero’s dramatic winning goal for Manchester City in the 2012 Premiership League Title clash which inspired Russell to create Goalhangers.co.uk, an online business offering a unique range of limited edition typographic prints featuring spectacular football moments.
“I wanted to recreate the special goals that give fans goosebumps”, Russell told ECN. “For me, nothing else on the market was doing that.”
“Steven Gerrard’s Champions League winner for Liverpool v Olympiakos (below), for instance, or Gordon Banks’ incredible save from Pele in the 1970 World Cup are truly unforgettable.”
He has fashioned Goalhangers.co.uk into a smart, contemporary company – an ecommerce venture which thrives through its mastery of the ever-changing social media landscape.
“Social media is a very powerful tool and allows us to remain close to our target audience”, he says. “And that audience is anyone who supports a football team, or knows someone that loves football.”
“In the early days of Goalhangers.co.uk, I recreated the moment when Watford’s Nick Wright (below right) scored an amazing overhead goal at Wembley to win promotion. We featured the print on Twitter, and it resulted in the Watford star visiting our studio in Chipping Norton to sign our prints!”
“Since then, we’ve had many footballers buy and endorse our limited edition products. These include Kevin Horlock, Michael Owen, Matt Le Tissier, Troy Deeney and Peter Lovenkrands, to name a few who have helped boost the success of Goalhangers.”
The Power and the Passion
Passion taken to crazy heights makes the Chippy entrepeneur tick. Having honed his skills with top advertising agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi, he was determined to channel his love of football into bold art prints which capture those one-off, dramatic, on-field moments.
Russell (left of photo) is no stranger to drama, having witnessed plenty during his advertising career.
“Trying new experiences, pushing yourself, moving around, absorbing all the great knowledge from different characters from within the ad industry – it’s what real passion for design is all about”, Russell says.
“I’ve worked with many amazing, talented people in ad agencies over the years. But the crazy and brilliant things that occurred within those four walls would make your toes curl. Agency life is a lot more civilised these days!”
His behind-the- scenes glimpses into the worlds of advertising and football have provided some eye-opening material. But Russell is keeping mum.
“I have been told a few footballing stories, but I cannot divulge the details”, he says. “Some of the guys are still playing!”
He is quick to defend the reputation of his football heroes.
“Footballers generally get a bad press. But what’s seldom talked about is the great work many players do for charities, schools, their local communities, and in particular the foundations they set up off their own back. I have always had a very positive response from footballers to the pieces we design, and have found all the players to be friendly and very humble characters.”
Hanging the Goal
Working from The Barn Studio in Chipping Norton, Russell starts the creative process with the goal itself. “I look at the importance of the goal, the whole situation, and how effectively I can convey the moment into a successful product. The more dramatic the action, the better.”
Football fans occasionally request Goalhangers.co.uk to create a picture based on their favourite player and match. “If we produce the work from their suggestion, we offer them a discount. But mainly I research which goals I feel would appeal to the market.”
With his products selling across the globe, Russell is on a constant quest to find the next best footie moment.
“I’m a big football fan, so this is fun to me”, he says. “It’s not work at all. In fact it’s relaxing. So that’s what drives me. If I didn’t love the product, I really wouldn’t be doing it. You have to have a passion for your business to make it succeed.”
“I also love the banter on social networks – the best humour in the world is right there, particularly on Twitter. Social media is constantly evolving and improving the ways to engage with your target audience. So my message to any SME out there is to find time to embrace it, otherwise you’re missing out.”
Goalhangers.co.uk Limited edition, framed prints start from £69. This includes free delivery in UK mainland.