Elite Franchise 100: Lurgan football coach 'delighted' with prestigious recognition

Coaches at the Football Fun Factory (FFF) are celebrating after the company earned recognition as one of the top franchise brands in the UK.
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The children’s football coaching franchise has grown fast across the country and has now reached a significant milestone.

Among numerous contenders spanning various industries, FFF has ranked 70th in the Elite Franchise Top 100 (EF100) – a title it will hold throughout 2024.

Sponsored by HSBC UK, since 2017, the EF100 has evolved into a cornerstone of the annual calendar in the UK’s franchising arena.

Ian Hanna. (Pic: Contributed).Ian Hanna. (Pic: Contributed).
Ian Hanna. (Pic: Contributed).

It assesses franchisors across a myriad of criteria – spanning the scale and velocity of their growth to their vital contributions in empowering franchisees and enhancing the wellbeing of the communities they serve.

FFF was founded in 2017 by James Cutting, before he was joined by Jonny Martin in 2019. It is headed by former Manchester United player, Luke Chadwick.

Children in the Lurgan and Craigavon areas were the first in Northern Ireland to experience the FFF when it was launched in August.

The Co Armagh-based franchise is led by head coach, Ian Hanna, a respected trainer with Lurgan Town FC.

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Detailing what the recognition means for the brand, Ian said: “We’re delighted to be named on the Elite Franchise 100. It’s so great that someone from our local area like Kiefer McAlinden has been heavily involved from the start.

“For my franchise in Lurgan and Craigavon it’s incredible recognition. It fills me with so much pride to have brought the brand to Northern Ireland and this recognition on the Elite Franchise list is wonderful to showcase to parents in the area that this organisation that provides fun football to their children right on their doorstep is up there with some of the world’s most renowned franchise organisations.

“Parents and children are at the heart of everything we do and we love providing that personal touch to the local community - that coupled with this recognition will provide parents with a real confidence in trusting us with their children's football experiences.

“We’ve huge ambitions to grow across Northern Ireland and put our unique experiences on the doorsteps of children all over the country. Kiefer is meeting with passionate football coaches on a regular basis and I know our next franchise is launching in Londonderry/Derry in the New Year with some exciting plans to hit Belfast in early 2024 too.

“Our ambition over the next five years is to be providing experiences to children in every town in Northern Ireland.

“At the moment between Michael Woods, our franchisee in Portadown and Gilford, and myself, we’re coaching just over 150 local children, since our launch. 40 of these children are aged two to five who are taking their very first steps into football.”

Anita Roberts, Franchise Director at HSBC UK, stated: “When assessing candidates, we take a comprehensive approach – considering factors such as their revenue, expansion metrics and the quality of their training and support systems for franchisees.

"In this year’s judging, we also factored in how well brands have weathered the challenges posed by the ongoing financial crisis. Achieving a position on this list is a clear testament to the extraordinary achievements of the brands that consistently set the gold standard for franchise management.”

For more information, check out www.thefootballfunfactory.co.uk

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