Neil Smythe: Turning Hashtag United into a 'real' non-League team

Neil Smythe: Turning Hashtag United into a 'real' non-League team


For the last two decades, Neil Smythe has forged a career at the vanguard of football content.

Neil Smythe

Neil Smythe

He was behind the camera (and in front of them too) at Soccer AM before helping to launch Copa90 and the Man United fans' YouTube channel, FullTimeDevils. 

But his new role is helping Hashtag United convert from a 'YouTube team' filming friendlies to one that plays competitive football in the non-League pyramid in England. Their launch channel promised the Premier League in 10 years!

Suddenly, it is serious football and how with that affect the well-publicised success story of Hashtag United.


2.45 The job at Hashtag United 

5.10 The role as Operations Director and what it involves

6.18 The launch video promised "the Premier in 10 years" but there is a more realistic target of creating a "sustainable football club"

8.10 The importance of the matchday experience 

8.45 Going from a YouTube team to a competitive team with FA rules that must be adhere to

9.45 How the content strategy is going to change as they play competitive football.  

11.10 Telling the story in real time and dealing with embargoes

12.45 Getting the matchday experience right

14.50 Building a sustainable football club and what that means

16.10 The reactions of the teams they will be playing. Ruffling feathers in non-League 

18.45 The reaction of fans online

21.20 Adapting to a different standard of football

23.01 Balancing the familiar faces with the need to get in competitive players

23.50 The legacy of Soccer AM.  "Some of  us struggled for a few years afterwards because they could not find a job that held a candle to it"

26.39 The sketches being a forerunner of modern YouTube

27.34 The importance of the execs leaving the creators alone - Soccer AM, Copa90, FullTimeDevils

29.42 How Neil's career moved with the industry - TV through blue-riband short form to brand building 

31.25 The big screen prejudice again small screen in the early days of digital

33.03 Getting the skills that have served Neil ever since. Wearing so many hats

33.42 Does the prejudice still exist? Roles are hybrid now.

35.17 The experiment of Channel Bee, a project with Tim Lovejoy and Simon Fuller

37.23 Launching Copa90


38.12 Launching FullTimeDevils the Manchester United fans' channel on YouTube. The staffing and content strategy. 

41.20 Breaking out from the geographical ties of football fandom 

43.01 Why Hashtag United's audience is still predominantly from the UK  

44.14 Why ArsenalFanTV is more successful than all the other YouTube fan channels

48.20 How should fan channels evolve? 

51.34 The fanzine, fan blog and fan TV link. It is the medium not the message that has changed. 

53.20 Changing the paradigm between club channels and fan channels

55.02 What is good content?

57.12 How can young people get into TV/content creation

58.21 How Neil got in via answering phones

1.01.12 His favorite content creators at the moment?


Neil Smythe on Twitter, LinkedIn

Hashtag United on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram

Soccer AM sketches



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