I have come to terms with the fact that many of the devices I grew up with are now considered relics of a past era. No longer is a waterproof Walkman the cutting edge in advanced technology. In fact, recent DocuSign research found that only half of under-18s know what a Walkman is and less than 20 percent are able to use one. They are equally baffled by other mainstays of my childhood; over a third would not be able to confidently use a telephone box and almost half have no idea what to do with a floppy disk.

Our research into the technology habits of Generation Z also found that:

  • Over a third don’t know what a VCR is
  • A quarter don’t know what a fax machine is and only one in 10 would be confident in sending a fax
  • Almost half could not identify the once iconic Sega Megadrive
  • Over half would not know how to use a cassette tape

These under-18s are on the cusp of entering the UK workforce and they could be forgiven for thinking that they will not encounter any of these out-dated devices when they start their careers. How many employers are likely to ask them to save data on a floppy disk or review video clips on a VCR? Next to none you would think. However, the same is not true of sending a fax, even in supposed technologically advanced industries.

The football industry is a case in point. Known for its advanced technology on the pitch, we are used to seeing investment in goal-line technology and digital video systems to support referees’ decisions. However, scratch beneath the surface and it’s a different story. When it comes to the back-office of the beautiful game there has been little investment in technology and fax still rules supreme. In fact, we can guarantee that Premiership clubs will be relying on fax to facilitate multi-million pound transfer deals ahead of the transfer window closing on 1st February.

This should be a concern to clubs and fans alike as fax machines are slow and prone to breakdown. This makes them a poor solution for closing crucial transfer deals. In fact, Premiership clubs have seen numerous signings fail at the last minute due to ill-functioning fax machines.

The reliance on the fax in football is confusing not only to under-18s but to the majority of football fans. Our research found that only 12 percent of football fans were aware of the role fax machines still play in football transfers. With this in mind, we took to the streets of London to find out what football supporters, from all generations, had to say about the matter.

The message could not be clearer; it’s time to kick the fax out of football. The Premiership can learn from other leagues such as NFL, which has turned to electronic signatures to facilitate transfers. By enabling documents to be signed and shared on a digital platform such as DocuSign, contracts can be transmitted quickly and reliably. They can also be accessed, edited and processed on any device from anywhere, making it easier to get a deal done before the transfer window closes.

It’s time for football clubs to move into the 21st century and invest in digitising the back office. If they don’t, we’re sure that the new generation of digitally savvy school-leavers about to join the workforce will take matters into their own hands!