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In a scruffy prefab at West Ham United’s training ground a bunch of unlikely lads are being primped and primed for a glamorous photo shoot. They are trying out three new kits, sponsored by Umbro, in preparation for a tour of the US. Midfielder James Stevens has lost around 50lb over the past year – he’s only 17 stone now. Skinny balding winger Faisal Manji, who works as an investment adviser, has become something of a sex symbol in recent months. Chandler Parsons Youth Jersey Faisal and James play for a team called Hashtag United, which is basically a bunch of old schoolmates, some of whom couldn’t get in their local Sunday League teams, with a few luxury add-ons (two ageing semi-professionals). Hashtag United play real football in an imaginary league and their matches are watched on YouTube by upwards of half a million people – figures that most professional teams wouldn’t dare dream of. The YouTube channel that shows their matches has almost two million subscribers. Welcome to the bizarre new world of football. Hashtag is a riposte to the decadent certainties of Premier League football, a surreal collision of sweaty tradition and digital technology that represents something very different to the fare on offer from football’s moneyed elite. http://www.officialgrizzliestore.com/authentic-3-allen-iverson-jersey.html Football is changing – and not in a way that could have been predicted or in a way that is easily explained. Hashtag is the brainchild of Spencer Owen, a failed standup comic who made his name providing football content on YouTube – to the uninitiated, providing content simply means telling and showing people stuff. Owen is a likeable, fast-talking, wise-cracker who comes across as a bit more of a geezer than he actually is. He already had one million followers on his YouTube channel, Spencer FC, before he dreamed up Hashtag United. The idea was as ingenious as it was barmy. Owen was convinced that regular people would like to watch regular players (ie roughly of their own ability) play regular games. He believed that we would relate to plumbers, lawyers, bankers and salesmen more easily than we do to today’s cossetted superstars. So he decided that his new team would play in a decent stadium and be filmed to professional-ish standards, and the match would be edited to a 20-minute highlights package for the world’s delectation. Authentic Andrew Adams Youth Jersey Most of his friends thought he had lost the plot, but it would be a laugh – and they wanted to play football. “Some people were like: ‘What an idiot, why are you paying all that money to film your mates playing average football?’ And I was like: ‘No I’m trying to build something here.’” His friends hadn’t heard the half of it. Owen then told them that they would play in a virtual league based on the computer game Fifa. Each season would consists of 10 games, in which they would play teams with a common theme – for example, Sunday League teams and staff teams of professional clubs. They would start in division five with the ultimate aim of finishing top of division one. In division five they would need 18 points (ie six wins) to be promoted, while they would need 24 points to win division one. So far so confusing? To further complicate matters there would be no other teams in their league – the teams they chose to play would not be competing for points, only for the glory of beating Hashtag United and being watched on YouTube. In other words, they would compete in a league of their own – going up and down imaginary divisions depending on their results. To those of us used to traditional football, it is hard to get our head around. To most young people (particularly boys) it makes perfect sense. This is just the computer game Fifa brought to life. http://www.officialgiantsfootballs.com/Bobby-Rainey-Jersey-Cheap Even more astonishing than the concept is the fact that it has taken off. And how. Hashtag’s recent tour of America was sponsored by Coca-Cola. Owen insists Hashtag is not making a profit because the costs for each match (hiring the stadium, six cameramen, touring etc) are so high and at the moment they are investing all the revenue back into the club, but he admits that some of the sponsorship deals run into six figures.

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