Speed One Sports

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Speed One Sports's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Speed One Sports is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Managing Director Tony Di Ponio
Our Birmingham
Established in 2002, Speed One Sports is “the name making
the noise”. The company provides sports clothing and
equipment to private and professional sports clubs as well
as schools, colleges, universities and an array of public entities.
The team at Speed One Sports is committed to one thing
above all else; delivering quality products to enable a team or
individual to stand out from the rest. Managing Director Tony
Di Ponio and his team believe that anyone can sell you brand
clothing off the shelf, and he tells
The Parliamentary Review
Speed One Sports do much more than that; their work shapes
and moulds a brand that represents the player, the team, the
school, the college or the university.
We supply sports clothing and apparel to a number of organisations including
schools, local authorities and professional and grassroots clubs. Everything is
done in-house; we provide a complete, comprehensive solution from print and
embroidery through to supply, logistics and delivery.
Beyond that, we have also branched off into sports facility consultancy for teams
playing at a professional, semi-professional and grassroots level.
Seizing opportunity
Our proactive nature at Speed One Sports is something we’re really proud of.
We’re always seizing opportunities. It all started for me 17 years ago, as a sports
coach who saw a gap in the market. I kicked things off as a one-man band and just
»Managing Director:
Tony Di Ponio
»Established in 2002
»Based in Birmingham
»Services: Design, print and
production of apparel and
»No. of employees: 10 to 15
Speed One Sports
Highlighting best practice
kept expanding and diversifying based
on what I felt clients would require.
We don’t put all our eggs in one basket,
we’re flexible and we respond to specific
client requirements. This philosophy
has enabled us grow from the early
days in 2002 to become a successful
provider in the sportswear sector and
this trend is only set to continue.
The bottom line
For us, it’s about recognising that we
provide a service rather than just a
product. You have to see that, and you
have to be responsive to what your
clients want. It’s not just packaging up
a shirt and sending it off – it’s taking
the care to look at every individual
requirement, every specification that
makes each order unique, whether it’s
one shirt or one thousand.
In our state-of-the-art astroturfed
showroom in Birmingham, we host
clients and really get to grips with
what they want from the product.
There are dozens of companies out
there who pitch you the dream in
the sports clothing industry – the real
difference with Speed One Sports is
that we deliver it, too.
I’ve seen lacklustre service and poor
delivery from every position in the
sector – as a player, as a coach, as an
educator and now as a business owner.
I think that unique insight provides
our team with the perspective to truly
deliver for our customers – it helps set
us apart and really make adifference.
The name making the noise
Speed One Sports is “the name making
the noise”; this is the philosophy we
have moulded to enable the players
and supporters we supply to stand out
from the rest. This is present at every
level of our business. We achieve this
by sitting down with our clients and
treating every contract or order as a
partnership, not a transaction.
It’s not “us and them” – we bring the
customer on board and make them the
central part of the process.
In a lot of our branding, we’re starting
to use the hashtag #dressfresh to
make our priority clear: making the
customer look the best they possibly
can with the clothing they wear and
the equipment they use.
We want people to look good and feel
good when they’re wearing or using
Speed One products. Whether they’re
cheering from the terraces, warming
up for a five-a-side game or sprinting
over the line for that last crucial try,
it’s of critical importance to us that
the products we supply motivate and
encourage them.
Partnerships with UK teams
and beyond
In recent times, we supplied a British
Lions supporter’s tour package, where
we delivered print and embroidery for
18,000 units over a six-day period.
While this was by no means an easy
feat, it was successful and such an
enjoyable undertaking.
We’ve worked with teams and brands
from across the British sporting world,
including Leicester Tigers – where
we supplied their development
programme and global partnership
A view of our modern
showroom, where we
host our clients
We want
people to look
good and feel
good when
wearing or
using our
work – Greene King, Northamptonshire
CCC, Birmingham Moseley RFC and
Worcestershire CCC.
We not only support British teams
with our products; for the 2015
Rugby World Cup, we performed
embellishments for every game where
teams wearing BLK sportswear played.
This included Romania, Samoa, Fiji
and the USA. Similarly, for the 2012
Olympics we produced embellishments
for a few participating countries.
On a more local basis, our partnerships
have included nearby universities and
organisations. We’re very much a
grassroots company, proud of where
we come from, and we employ a lot of
local people to that end.
Brexit uncertainty
Brexit has had a massive effect on
the sector, as it has British industry
as a whole. You can just feel it in the
market – people are holding onto their
cash that little bit longer, being a little
more cautious with investment. Even
though sporting organisations need
the products we supply, they can be
reluctant to make the initial leap.
We’re also seeing an effect in bringing
product and materials into the
country, too. As time goes by with the
government’s negotiations, we only lose
more money thanks to the uncertainty
– we need clarity and we need it fast.
I’m happy to play by new rules, but we
need the guidance in place.
Clean air zones in Birmingham
This is a big point of contention for us.
Our facility is right on the edge of the
clean air zone in Birmingham – we are
on the road where the area starts.
After investing a not insignificant
sum of money in our showroom and
warehouse building, the area decided
upon in this piece of legislation has
come seemingly out of nowhere and
will really affect us.
Speed One Sports – further
across the UK and beyond
It’s important to note that, in our 17
years of operation, we have been
on our own. We’ve had no grants,
no local authority funding and no
government loans. Everything has been
achieved through reinvestment.
That said, however, we are in a strong
position today, and I am massively
optimistic for the future. We are
presently diversifying into repackaging,
while also focusing on our social
responsibility with kit recycling
initiatives and a fundraising website
that sells t-shirts and hoodies.
The real aspiration, however, is
franchising. That’s our big focus for the
next five years – we want to see the
Speed One Sports name spread across
the country and possibly beyond.
With greater reach, we can help
bring the joy of high-quality apparel
and equipment to players, teams and
supporters across the regional, national
and international sporting community.
From the time when we put our first
player on the pitch, with a kit that made
him feel like the best player he could
be, we are now aiming to increase this
to seven figures and beyond.
With greater
reach, we can
help bring the
joy of high-
quality apparel
and equipment
to players,
teams and
Teamwear supplied
for Birmingham City
University’s rugby tour
to China


This article was sponsored by Speed One Sports. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster