Football may not be a matter of life or death – but Huddersfield Town are now helping fans plan for their own final whistle.
A famous quotation from legendary former Town boss Bill Shankly is being used to promote the club’s latest venture – pre-paid funeral plans.
Shankly once said: “Football isn’t a matter of life and death. It’s more important than that” and now those words are writ large on a promotional video for Town’s tie-up with Cheshire-based funeral plan specialists Avalon.
Town are hoping to cash in on the boom in buy-now funerals where individuals can make their own arrangements and lock in the cost at today’s prices, paying up front or monthly.
The video also shows examples of football-themed funerals including a picture of a black and white striped coffin being carried by pall bearers wearing Newcastle United shirts.
In another shot, there’s a coffin decorated with images of lush green turf and a football.
The video, available on YouTube, says one million people in the UK have pre-paid funeral plans and follows a young supporter growing up as a Town fan until the poignant moment the floodlights dim and finally go out.
The video says: “Football is a passion. We grow up living and breathing it. To be a true fan takes dedication. From kick off to final whistle we support our team through thick and thin.
“It takes planning. We prepare the good times and the tough. We dedicate our lives to one team. Why should it end there?”
It’s a football first for Town and Avalon’s business development manager Adam Fisher said: “Town are the first football club in the UK to do this, and probably first in the world.
“We wanted a club that was not too big and not too small and Huddersfield got it straight away.”
A Town-themed funeral costs £4,195 and includes a blue and white coffin or a traditional coffin draped with a Town shirt with the name and number of the deceased.
There will also be a football bouquet from the club and Town’s anthem Smile Awhile will be played at the service. For cremations, ashes can be scattered at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Fans can pay the cost monthly for up to 10 years.
Town commercial director Sean Jarvis said the Terriers Funeral Plan was offered as a service to fans who increasingly wanted a blue and white send off.
“While many funerals remain quite traditional some are increasingly becoming a celebration of life, and that includes sporting interests, and we are often asked if people can use our branding in one form or another,” he said.
“It’s still a bit of a taboo subject but there’s no reason why that should be. The only certain things in life are death and taxes and the sooner we start planning the better.
“Our commercial deal means the club receives a benefit from plans sold so even when Town fans pass on they can leave a small legacy to the club. This isn’t for everybody but it’s another service we can offer.”
For more details visit www.terriersfuneralplan.co.uk