Businessman makes a fortune importing vuvuzelas
Click to view image: '6c3d84b56c4c-1aaa.jpg'
He is making a fortune but he also is risking becoming the most unpopular man in the country.
His name is David Broughton and he is the salesman who has introduced vuvuzelas to the UK.
He has been quietly importing the noisy South African trumpets since last July and has already sold 10,000. Since the World Cup kicked off the 40-year-old has been selling the plastic horns for £10 each at a rate of one a minute.
But the businessman, known as Mr Vuvuzela, admits he is likely to be public enemy number one this summer with the horn's deafening monotone loathed by millions.
The BBC has already had 545 complaints from fans fed up with the deafening din and is even considering a vuvuzela-free zone via its red button.
'I imagine there is a queue of people wanting to punch me in the face,' said Mr Broughton, who insisted on wearing sunglasses for his photo so he wouldn't be recognised in the street.
'I know they have divided public opinion but I love them. People who say they ruin the atmosphere are missing the point. Perhaps the sound doesn't come across that well on TV but they are uniting a nation in South Africa.
'I would far rather listen to a vuvuzela than have to put up with the intelligentsia of English football fans using their limited vocabulary to express their opinions on the referee.'
If Mr Broughton has his way the sound of massed vuvuzelas will be here to stay once the World Cup is over.
They have grown from a sideline of his electrical distribution business into his main trade and he had to turn down a potential contract from supermarket giant Asda because he couldn't meet demand.
He has already sold the plastic trumpets to fans of Bury, Sheffield Wednesday and Coventry City and has spoken to Premier League team shops, including Chelsea.
He hopes they will be popular with fans during England's next football season and has plans to sell them to supporters at the Olympics in 2012.
'I have spoken to every football club in England and there has been a mixed response,' said Mr Broughton, who has the distinctive B-Flat vuvuzela rallying call as his mobile phone ringtone.
Mr Broughton, whose main business is distributing electrical goods, such as DVD players, first noticed the horns when he visited South Africa during the Confederations Cup last summer.
'Two millions of them were sold during the Confederation Cup and I noticed that many of the supermarkets were selling out of them, so I realised there must be something of interest there,' said the businessman, from Westbury, near Brackley, Northants.
'I thought they might cheer up the faces of miserable English fans.'
He started approaching British shops last July and immediately had interest from Asda and Argos, but eventually decided to sell the horns for £10 each via his own website, which is getting 2,000 hits a day.
He has been in talks with the England Supporters Band, who have been working to improve the atmosphere at football matches and believes vuvuzelas may be the answer.
He has been besieged with requests from TV shows to feature his trumpets, which he imports from the Far East and are the only two-piece vuvuzelas in the UK.
They are set to feature on set to appear on programmes including Loose Women and Graham Norton.
'We have had interest from all sorts of people from football clubs to vicars, professors, teachers, the Royal Academy of Music and the Deaf Society,' said Mr Broughton, who follows Notts County and Chelsea.
'We handed out about 100 at a game between Bury and Rotherham, it transformed the place. I accept they are a bit 'Marmite' but I love them.'
The entrepreneur, who has two children aged eight and four, introduced the vuvuzela to English football as part of a tie in with The Sodje Foundation, a charity set up by much-travelled Nigerian defender Efe Sodje and his footballing brother Akpo.
He also has plans to start a Mr Vuvuzela clothing line, presumably specialising in loud shirts.
vuvuzela fact box
Despite many fans claiming the instruments make an unbearable racket, 'vuvu fever' has quickly spread from the stadiums in South Africa to supermarket shelves in Britain.
Sales of the traditional African horn in Sainsbury's have reached one every two seconds. Sainsbury's has already sold 40,000 red vuvuzelas this month at £2 each and says its total stock of 75,000 could sell out by Friday. Online retailer Amazon has seen sales of the horn rocket by 1,000 per cent.
Thousands of English fans, mostly among the younger generation, have changed the ring tone of their mobile phone to mimic the sound of the horn.
The news will come as a disappointment for critics of the horn, coming just as the BBC offered them hope by revealing it was working on a 'vuvuzela-free' version of its TV coverage, to be accessed by pressing the red button on remote controls.
In response to complaints the BBC is planning to provide 'clean' coverage which would strip out most of the crowd noise.
But it said it would keep the noise on its coverage on BBC1 as it was committed to reflecting the atmosphere.
The iconic instrument has become a central talking point of the World Cup, generating a drone of up to 144 decibels inside stadiums, which is louder than fireworks, a plane taking off or a rock concert.
They could be heard in football grounds in Britain at the start of the coming season after officials admitted therewas nothing to stop fans from bringing them to the games.
Makers of the horns have responded to criticisms of the noise level and are now selling quieter vuvuzelas at grounds around South Africa.
In the UK a spokesman for Sainsbury's said: 'We ordered a total of 75,000 of the horns knowing that it would become the symbol of the World Cup and people would want one to own and blow.'
Tesco and Asda have not stocked the instrument. A spokesman for Asda said it conducted market research with fans who described them as 'irritating'.
'Based on that research we went with their views and believe we made the right decision,' the spokesman added.
|Liveleak on Facebook|