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Today’s blog is about Football. Historically I’ve always avoided the topic, as previous Rice bloggers have more than made up for my lack of participation in the subject. Just behind AoG, the RCSA and thinly-veiled criticisms of Consult, football would rank up there with the most fertile of blogging potting mix. Thankfully, Recruiters like football. The reasons why is perhaps best saved for another blog. Yesterday however, us Aucklanders found out the name, colours, and branding of our new A-League team, joining the top-tier of professional football in this part of the world. Although I don’t blog about football, I love watching it – and it was my lack of discipline to set my alarm for silly o’clock that stopped me watching live English football when I moved here in 2011. Now, I can not only watch a local team on TV at a suitable hour, I can actually go to the games. Wonderful.

For those who don’t know or care, the new franchise will be owned in the majority by American billionaire Bill Foley. Foley also owns major shareholdings in A.F.C. Bournemouth in the English Premier League, Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership, FC Lorient in the French league, and NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. Bill is not only incredibly wealthy, here’s clearly not here just to f*ck spiders. The Vegas Golden Knights are the fastest expansion team to ever win the Stanley Cup, achieving it in 5 seasons. Auckland F.C. (a name and brand I actually really like) are also setting out their stall to be contenders it would seem, and not just the also-rans that we’ve seen from our only other A-League team, Wellington Phoenix. Auckland have not only signed themselves an A-League playing and Managerial legend in  Steve Corica, they’re also owned by a billionaire who likes winning sh*t. That really helps these days.

There are a couple of challenges with this however. Firstly, there’s the fan base. Although every middle-class kid is addicted to football, Auckland is also home to Schrodinger’s Fan: A fan who simultaneously wants to watch sport in a packed stadium and yet expects to drive, traffic-free, right up to the f*cking gates. If this can’t be achieved, they spend all week threatening to go to the game, only to stay in and watch MAFS instead. The second challenge is one of culture. Coming in hot as a new franchise, with big, bold, US-billionaire-sized ambitions, is really not very kiwi. As much as us Aucklanders will want success, the kiwi way is not to buy success. Sh*t, outside of rugby, even being successful will see you vilified. I just wish there was a term for this. Perhaps you green-fingered types could come up with a floral based analogy? Instead, we want our sports teams to toil away as a plucky underdog – never claiming to be good, never saying that they’ll win, and certainly not displaying any degree of swagger. Swagger does not impress Murray of Pirongia. He likes ’em staunch, stoic, and with a flat-top. Like Richie McCaw.

And this brings me on the 5th most blogged about topic. Recruitment Entrepreneur. Here in NZ, starting a recruitment firm is no new thing. In fact, Kiwis are an entrepreneurial lot, and chances are, if you’re a plumber, you’ll one day own a plumbing firm. The growth of recruitment firms however has traditionally been more in-keeping with the mores of Murray of Pirongia. You are meant to learn the craft at an established agency, become a good biller, only to quit, build a crappy WordPress website yourself, and sit at home in your underpants for 2 years trying to get it off the ground. With some large exceptions (Tribe, Cultivate, BrightSpark et al), when people tell me they’re “going it alone” they do not typically build a business from day one. They continue doing the job of a recruitment consultant without an office or branding agency. This is a very kiwi approach, and there is nothing wrong with it. Many firms can trace their origins to underpanted recruitment, and many a bach and boat have been bought because of it. However, this doesn’t appear to be what James Caan at Recruitment Entrepreneur wants you to achieve. He wants to take most of your equity, but have you playing in a fancy strip and signing big-name players from day one. In the UK and the US, “going big” is standard practice. Here, it all seems very brash. The challenge for Recruitment Entrepreneur will be convincing Kiwi recruiters to buy into this model which is at odds with the national psyche. The challenge for these Recruitment firms who do sign up will be convincing clients that using a firm established in 2024 and already in Commercial Bay isn’t funding the coke habits of a bunch of champagne Charlies. Murray of Pirongia wants his recruiter home-grown, unassuming, and with a flat-top. Like Richie McCaw.

Anyway, if you want more questions asked about Recruitment Entrepreneur, there are about 2 tickets left for next week’s Rice PowWow. Try and snatch one.