Review of 2020
A year where our business like many others came to a halt in terms of travelling customers but also a year for making the most of 2020, planning the next step for Covert Football Trips and an element of diversification too. Here is our mini review of 2020 from our perspective.
The year started with lofty ambitions. Bookings were simmering beneath the surface and we ourselves were planning some important trips to do further research on hotels we may use for bookings and their locations to stadiums.
At the start of our journey we ran a competition. You know, one of those “Too good to be true” prizes. But our prize was real – a Covert Football Trip for 2 People worth over £500. The match we selected was a visit to The Olympiastadion Berlin where the winner would watch Hertha Berlin v Mainz. By early the next month our first customer had successfully completed a Covert Football Trip!
January was also the month we made our first visit to watch Hertha Berlin and you can read about it in full here.
In February we visited Prague to check out the Stadiums there as we added the Czech Republic to the list of countries we would include in our Sporting package. This was a moment when we look back and recall police officers returning from areas of the airport holding facemasks and gloves. Whilst the pandemic wasn’t really yet affecting things, clearly things were going on. We had no fear travelling back in February, yet just weeks later the World would change significantly.
This would be our final football trip to Europe for 7 months.
March was the month where we saw our last customers travel before restrictions were brought in for travel and sport. As borders were closing and authorities started to take decisions on sporting events we were relieved to see every booking completed successfully. The last customer to travel experienced Bayer Leverkusen v Eintracht Frankfurt.
The travel industry, of which we are part of have been dealt a poor hand. There has been no government support for us in any way whilst the costs of just keeping a travel agency ticking over has significant costs to bear. It was this time in 2020 when we decided that we would fully commit to Covert Football Trips and use the rest of 2020 to plan and diversify if possible.
A review of 2020 will always be dominated by lockdown. As this took over, new communities were formed on social media. People had more time available, fresh ideas on how to deal with lockdown were created and new skills were developed.
One stand-out moment was taking part in the AET Shirts Concept World Cup where novices like us, and experienced designers created shirts for the team they were allocated.
We were drawn as SPAIN and decided to go with an Away Jersey which we felt would offer us more freedom. The traditional red home shirts didn’t inspire us, whilst the Orange which has been used on away shirts previously threw up ideas of Oranges and Sunsets. After experimenting and failing miserably with Orange fruits and Orange Tree’s, we settled on this Bull design instead. We really liked our first ever shirt design, we got through the first round but eventually lost to some fantastic other designs. We haven’t attempted any designs since. Well done to AET Shirts for putting this in place.
By May with lock-down on-going, it was now some time since watching live sport and like many, our attention was drawn to the Belarusian Premier League. The creatively named teams caught the eye of many with people clambering on-board the Slutsk bandwagon. The team had started so well, however as we reach the end of 2020 we can see the club has fallen to 14th.
Remember this “We Love Our Slutsk” Anthem? Watching Belarusian Football became a real highlight of the Spring and Belarus is a consideration to be added to a future Covert Football Trips package when we can offer them again.
June was meant to see us attend the Opening Ceremony and 1st match of Euro 2020 but of course the tournament has been postponed till 2021 and something to (hopefully) look forward to.
Instead we spent much of our time putting together our latest Covert Football Trip called TOR! which will cater for those who just want a German Football experience. We hope that we will be able to recommence offering our Mystery Football weekends in the Spring for the 2021/22 season.
Read more about our TOR! Package here
A review of 2020 for us must include the start of “Operation Covert Office” which was an on-going piece of work for a couple of months. We needed more dedicated space for the business and it was also a place where we could display the fast-growing shirt collection and hold meetings. A mancave with Sky Sports it would also become important as the business developed in a couple of months time….
Here is an early snapshot of a clutter free area of deskspace….it looks slightly different and fuller now!
August became month of the ‘Vogelscheuche’ The Scarecrow. As part of our way to showcase German Football shirts we decided that we would erect our own scarecrow in a local field. It was a bit of fun and a different way to communicate each day, we hope they created some smiles!
See the whole collection here
September saw us return to watching live football abroad as a trip to Dusseldorf enabled us to see matches at Bonner SC and TuRu Dusseldorf. Read the about the trip in full here.
September also saw the launch of Bundesliga Boxes. With our commitment to Covert Football Trips rubberstamped with a fresh ATOL License, but with no signs of customers due to the pandemic preventing our trips, (partially for travel but also the inability to offer match tickets) we needed another product to get our teeth into.
It was very evident that a large proportion of our followers across social media had an interest in German Football and along with our own passion of this and also football shirts, the Mystery German Box was a natural progression for a company already offering Mystery Football Trips.
We are pleased to have been able to create a strong brand which compliments Covert Football Trips, has a niche role in the Mystery Football Shirts Market and of course offers great value for money. These boxes must remain innovative and every month a new “extra” item is included.
In October there was a sense of normality returning as we managed another football weekend, this time in Berlin taking in 4 matches. With tickets unavailable for top flight matches we settled for four matches as shown below. You can read in full here.
Tennis Borussia Berlin v Union Furstenwalde
Viktoria Berlin v VfB Auerbach
Union Berlin v Fortuna Dusseldorf (Junioren Pokel)
VSG Altglienicke v LOK Leipzig
November saw us develop Bundesliga Boxes further as we added Children’s Boxes for the first time. These again would offer all the extra’s for the recipients to enjoy plus for Christmas a bespoke Christmas Cracker!
For December Bundesliga Boxes we added our inaugural Golden Box where someone purchasing a Bundesliga Box will receive a special Golden Box including a special shirt worth far in excess of the purchase price. These go on sale on Boxing Day at 10am and is a new innovation is a great way to finish our year. There are some sensational things coming in the New Year for Bundesliga Boxes which we can’t wait to announce (we’re thinking New Years Eve!)
I would like to finish this review with a thank-you to every person and business that I have worked with over the past 12 months. It’s been a tough year in terms of carrying the cost of the business with no government support, yet equally an incredible year in terms of thought, idea’s and change. I look forward to developing the business both for Covert Football Trips and Bundesliga Boxes throughout 2021. To every person who purchased one of our products, I thank you SO much and really hope you enjoyed the experience.
Merry Christmas Everyone