When kind-hearted Henley-on-Thames businessman Jamie Butler heard how his son’s under nine’s football team needed a new kit, he stepped up to the mark and bought them one – and then ended up equipping the entire club with all 480 home and away shirts!
The huge gesture, which has been undertaken over the past two seasons, ensures every player who runs out for AFC Henley spanning every age group, from the under 7s through to the under 16s, is now sporting his Fix Auto Henley-on-Thames colours – red and black for the home strip and white for away days.
And to ensure the older generation wasn’t left out, his generosity has even encompassed the two senior sides who play on the local Sunday league circuit.
Jamie, who runs his family-owned vehicle repair centre Fix Auto Henley-on-Thames in Thames View Industrial Estate, said: “Henley is predominantly a rugby or rowing town and those sports tend to get a lion’s share of the publicity and support here so when I realised how our local football club for the youngsters was in need of a little help, I just couldn’t resist on lending my support.
“While I was initially intending to support the under nine’s team, it soon became apparent that every team in the entire club – all 12 of them – was in need of a new strip and I just couldn’t sit by without ensuring each and every player had the right kit.”
While Mr Butler’s generosity could be viewed as extravagant, he believes it’s a marketing masterstroke and added: “I’ve sponsored one of the region’s semi-professional football teams in the past and, if I’m honest, the level of interest generated has been limited.
“This way, every one of the players in the club will now be sporting our name. In all, that’s around 240 players each week will be playing with our name emblazoned across their chests. Not only will Fix Auto Henley-on-Thames be seen 240 times on match days, but each and every shirt is taken home by the player for washing so effectively our name is getting out there, direct into homes across the region, on a weekly basis. Is there a better way to get our name out there in the community?”
Dieter Hinke, AFC Henley’s Chairman, said: “On behalf of the football club we cannot thank Jamie and Fix Auto Henley-on-Thames enough. His commitment to the entire football club has been phenomenal but, in truth, it’s far more than that, for his sponsorship is a commitment to the entire community as AFC Henley serves a whole age range of youngsters.”