Freaky idea reaps a reward for Dun Cow
Newly-formed Dun Cow FC will go into the new season with an extra £1,000 after the manager's teenage son helped negotiate a major sponsorship deal.
Fifteen-year-old Alex Simpson approached authors of Freakonomics, the best-selling series of books and podcasts, to support the Shrewsbury club.
The books, put together by economist Steven Levitt and writer Stephen Dubner, have sold more than seven million copies in 40 languages worldwide.
The Shrewsbury Sunday League division four club were determined to gain extra financial support for the new season rather than relying on players to pay.
Stephen, who was made the club's media manager by his father, Paul, began the process by contacting numerous famous people and companies.
He sent an email to Mr Dubner, explaining the club's situation and how much money they needed.
Stephen said: "I was not expecting a response to be honest, so I was surprised when he emailed asking to give him the link to our league.
"When he said he would sponsor us I couldn't believe it. I was stunned and honoured.
"I've always liked the stories of unlikely sponsors, so for us to get Freakonomics is amazing."
Paul and Alex met Mr Dubner outside Wembley Stadium after the England versus Lithuania game in March and agreed terms of the sponsorship deals.
The father and son team later took a trip down to London to present their new sponsor with a Dun Cow jersey, which fans have shown an interest in snapping up.
Mr Dubner said: "I'm delighted to help out a club with such a promising future, and with such a solid father and son management team.
"I can't wait to get to Shrewsbury next season to meet all the lads and watch them play."
Dun Cow FC were formed from the ashes of former Shrewsbury side, Santos, last year.
Santos had struggled in previous seasons finishing last in division four, collecting just four points.
Changing the team's name was the start of a major overhaul at the club, with Paul coming in as manager and Phil Joyce as coach.
New players were brought in ranging from teenagers to veteran footballers determined to play on into their 40s.
But the age gaps did not affect team relationships as the club's old arguments stopped and the side began moving up the table.
Notable recruits included top scorer Dan Simpson and defender Stuart Trafene, who became a leader both on and off the field, forming a strong backline with Kev Young, Matthew Price and Phil Edge.
A late winner by Jesse Pennal gave Dun Cow the best possible start to last season's campaign, sealing a 5-4 victory over Anchor Frankwell on the opening day.
The side enjoyed a run of five wins out of seven games during mid-season and, despite losing four of their last five games, finished their inaugural campaign fifth in the league with 29 points.
It was a massive turnaround on the previous year when Santos had won just two games all season.
Manager Paul said: "Everyone was happy with the finish, if not slightly disappointed knowing promotion was within our grasp.
"The new season will soon be upon us but myself and the rest of the coaching staff are focused on player recruitment and the pre-season.
"We want to have the greatest chance of achieving promotion this season.
"The club now has social media accounts and most importantly sponsors in Freakonomics, AF Davies Family Butcher and Greenhous."