March 13, 2023 5:28 pm Published by

Some of our longest serving franchisees was celebrating this week as they hit a milestone for the amount of teams under their control.

Steve McCluskey-Pang (pictured above right) and John McKessick (left) who last year reached a decade as part of the Leisure Leagues Franchise Scheme, run leagues in the south of England and Steve joined us to reflect on their Leisure Leagues journey.

“We’d run our own leagues and we were looking to expand” he began. “We had a look around and saw Leisure Leagues, we thought it would help us grow and achieve our growth goals. We came to Leisure Leagues for a look around and couldn’t help but be impressed.”

When they arrived with Leisure Leagues, the pair – and colleague Alan Cooke – had around 25 teams under their control, now with 10 times that, they have a lot to be proud of, indeed, pinning Steve down on the greatest achievement was tough. “Hertford, probably,” he mused. “We built our leagues up from scratch there, and we’ve got three nights now. A new season is starting soon with three new divisions, it’s fantastic to see.”

Steve himself runs the leagues in the Southampton area, and that happened almost by accident. A Hertfordshire native, he runs the leagues remotely having originally got into it through a friend. “Yes I knew someone who ran student leagues down there, and when he stopped, it seemed like a great opportunity for us. One that we grasped.”

There are now five leagues in the town, both  for students and the local community, and Steve reckons that’s the biggest thing he’s learned in his time running competition. “You have to be ready to make the most of the opportunities on offer in the areas.”

And that is what they plan to do this spring with a diversification into other sports: “Yes,” Steve confirmed. “We’ve got a couple of netball leagues about to start, which is very exciting. There’s no reason we can’t take what we’ve learned from football and move it to other sports.”

As their now nearly 11 year association with Leisure Leagues continues, we end by asking Steve what his goals are if we speak again in a decade’s time. “Well, ideally I want to be on a beach in the Bahamas!” he laughed. “But no, all we want to do is keep growing and providing football to people. It really is a brilliant thing to be able to do.”

They’ve got a target in mind too. “400 teams is the next milestone we are looking at. We think that’s achievable with the growth opportunities available to us.”

Do that, and who knows? They could be running the leagues remotely from the Bahamas.

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This post was written by Andy Thorley

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