The ambitious plan of attracting the attention of the whole volleyball world towards London is gathering pace. These are the clear and very realistic goals of IBB Polonia London VC. The official start of the professionalisation of The Club, the development of the Polish British links and the support for the Official Fan Club was marked by Saturday’s events. Jacek Ambrozy; the owner of IBB Builders Merchants, the strategic sponsors explains the initiative between the company and The Club and how it is key to the plans he has in mind.
Saturday’s game showed that over the summer period, IBB Polonia London introduced a number of significant changes. Where does the new philosophy come from: the creation of a professional club in Great Britain?
You could say that we laid out some new objectives. We can’t imagine continuing to win the League, etc. a number of times and not moving forward. We had many successes over the last few years: mainly thanks to great sporting success. We are pushing upwards to continue our momentum and certainly do not plan to rest on our laurels. In fact we imagined that we may not have been able to continue winning: because after all what else was there to win? That final thought was what spurred us on to plan to build a professional team. The aim is to be able to train six times each week and that will help us to be able to compete against the best in the world. Eventually we will be beating our friends in Poland; PGE Skra Belchatow. Professionalism will be seen on every level in our club: and yes, we know that there are many aspects that need addressing.
So what are these aspects? Where do you foresee these changes?
First of all, the professionalisation of the athletes. Not only are we talking about the amount of training we do, but also being able to attract the best players in the world. We are becoming involved with the best experts available to us. The second aim is to increase the popularity of volleyball: we have been doing this for years. We will concentrate on this more and more. We are also continuing to promote sporting links between the UK and Poland: because after all, both countries will benefit. IBB Polonia London has proudly worn various emblems depicting historic links between the two countries. We would like this to continue and develop yet further to become above politics. We are proud of our Polish roots and keen to show this off to the world; now that the athletes are very international we want to develop our global fan base and also our Official Fan Club. The Team should be happy of its international nature and wants to attract fans from every corner of the globe; because of this initiatives developed by there Fan Club will be taken into consideration too. We hope we can continue to count on the outstanding support we have seen over the years.
As you said, professionalisation of volleyball isn’t just about more trainings, or spectacular sporting events… What else can you tell us about the financial investments into The Club?
We have a new Taraflex volleyball floor; transmissions on Polsat and via UNILAD Sport on the internet, LED advertising boards: all of these are very costly, but worth every penny. We want to show what we can do and what might be expected in the future. The players must focus on training alone and playing: they must be relaxed and look after themselves. Our initial calculations predict that an initial investment of £1 million per annum is required to become professional. We aim to be at that level of investment in five years time.
These are ambitious plans. How do you think this will happen? With the new philosophy of The Club, how can other people become involved and invest?
Yes, you are correct. A forward thinking commercial club is the answer. The Team cannot rely only on sponsors and for this reason we have prepared offers that everybody can become involved in that has the same aspirations and ideals that we have. we have outlined our plans for the future, we have restructured our company to one that is “Limited by Shares”. Soon these shares will be released onto the market and any interested fan, partner, investor will be able to purchase these shares. We anticipate the cost of a single share to be £100 and the value of these shares will rise each year. There are a whole raft of marketing initiatives that will allow this to happen; last year was the first year that souvenirs were available and we would like to increase the variety that are available for purchase. Cups, scarves, trumpets and shirts amongst others will be for sale at our home games. It will be commonplace to see advertising during matches on our LED banners, television and Facebook and YouTube channels. This will allow us to attract partners, sponsors and capital investors and will increase our exposure. At every game, there will be something new: so that people attending the games in person or watching on TV will always have a little surprise.
And what of the tickets for the home matches? Will the tickets still be free?
We are introducing tickets with a donation. The idea is that everyone can make a donation and feel that they are helping the team. I hope that the enthusiasm that we display will rub off onto the volleyball fans. The idea is that each person can feel as though they are part of the growth of The Club by paying for tickets. I rarely support other people’s ideas, but this was an exception and I became convinced. I would like to reach out to anyone who may be interested in our plans for the future and in the transformation of volleyball in the UK as well as in our Polish English cooperation for sport.
The plan that you have presented, looks very inviting. How realistic is it that they will materialise?
We have shown over the last two years that we are able to fulfil our plans, and in actual fact go further than we imagined. We made historic wins in the CEV Challenge Cup and the plans that we have laid out are simply a matter of time. We hope to build a big volleyball family. We ignore unrealistic pipe dreams and know that what we are aiming for will be challenging, but possible. Step by step we are realising what is possible and would like to invite interested parties to join us on our journey.
IBB Builders Merchants have been trading since 2005 in British markets. The company has significant experience in construction in many European countries such as Poland, Sweden, Germany and the UK and has built its foundations on importing construction materials mainly from Poland. More information is available here.