How many people have heard of Sheriff Tiraspol before that game? The average football fan has no reason to follow smaller European clubs. Unless a really special club shows up. Like our partners, Sheriff Tiraspol, who have changed the game this season.

If you didn’t watch the September game against Real Madrid just yet, then you should do so. Because the humble team from Moldova, whose budget may be less than 1% of Real’s budget, and who doesn’t have Benzema, Modric, and Ancelotti, has won in Madrid. To truly understand the importance of that victory we should first see how they got there, and how it will affect the future of smaller clubs in European football.

Sheriff Tiraspol are the most dominating club in Moldova, winning 20 out of the last 22 championships. To take their success abroad, the managers have thought of a genius strategy. Moldova doesn’t have restrictions on number of foreign players; and so, Sheriff built a winning team of foreigners, mostly from places that are not well known for football. As experts on scouting and talent identification in Africa, and Sheriff’s partners, we know the value of a great players from unlikely places. Patiently, investing in modern scouting, Sheriff has built a great team, one good enough to challenge Real Madrid. The game itself was electrifying. Sheriff’s goalkeeper was superb and the winning goal in extra time was just amazing. Adama Traore from Sheriff, leader in Mali’s national team probably didn’t even dream about this moment, while growing up. But he never gave up, and now with a goal against Shakhtar and an assist against Real Madrid he might be more famous than Adama Traore of Spain and Wolverhampton! Back then, Mali’s people and many others around the world woke up and did one thing – follow FC Sheriff Tiraspol.

Before the game Sheriff’s followers on Instagram numbered 85k, and now it’s 292k! The exposure is huge, and it looks like it was achieved in 90 minutes only (though we know they have been building up for this moment for years). As we have learned, sport clubs can do incredible things with interaction with their customers – the fans.

In fact, Sheriff’s social media team is truly incredible, another factor to consider in their success, and an important tool to translate their football victories into financial gain. They will now milk this moment for all its worth with plans to retain those new fans, such as engaging them via social media in mini-games and competitions, another feature Stari is intimately familiar with. Furthermore, after international success, new sponsors pop up like mushrooms after rain.

Clubs similar to Sheriff should learn from this. They will need to secure a great team, thinking outside the box, invest in their marketing and social media, and always be patient.

Stari once again congratulates our official partners Sheriff and will continue to follow their incredible season.


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