Luke Verbeek is a young football supporter from the Netherlands who has created an innovative new football related website called Homefans.net
Homefans.net is a platform for football fans who want a better and authentic football experience during match days. The idea is that travelling fans will be able to stay with local fans, to get reasonably priced accommodation nearer the stadium and enjoy the match day experience through the eyes of local fans. Celtic fans in Glasgow can give the visiting Bhoys an unforgettable and the most authentic football experience. Instead of staying in hotels who raise their prices on big European match days, visiting fans get to stay with a Celtic supporters in Glasgow. Obviously the reverse situation is true so Celtic fans can use this service when traveling to Europe.
Luke has been in contact with Celtic and has had some positive feedback about his idea but he will have to develop it first and get it up and running properly before he will get official endorsement from Celtic or indeed other Champions League clubs around Europe.
Such is Celtic’s reputation for an incredible match day experience on European nights that there is an increasing number of football supporters around Europe who would love to travel to Celtic Park to experience the unique atmosphere for themselves.
Luke contacted CQN and asked if we could outline his ideas for Homefans.net to the Celtic support. We decided to ask him some questions. Here’s what he had to say…0078194
Hi Luke, you have set up a website to promote what we think is a very good idea for football fans. Can you tell us about the site and what its purpose is?

I am an avid football fan and traveller. Before I started Homefans.net I was tired of staying in faceless, cookie-cutter budget hotels and hostels on match days. There was no connection with local fans and the prices were often ridiculous. We looked around us and thought that there must be thousands of people who are passionate football fans who have an empty room or a sofa to share at any one point in time. At the same time, whenever we travelled to watch football matches in Europe, we never really knew anyone in the local area. Local people who could show us around, connect with them and most importantly share football experiences with them.

So this led to you creating Homefans.net?

Yes, Homefans.net is a new online booking platform for football accommodation. Homefans allows travelling fans to book a room in a local fan’s home on a nightly basis. In all of our homestays the local host will be present, enhancing the guest’s football experience with their hospitality and know-how of the local culture, community and football club. As an affordable alternative to hotels who raise their prices on match days and to support the volume of fans coming to see their favourite club, we are offering local fans the opportunity to open their doors to our visitors and rent out their spare space to earn some extra money. Our goal is to build a global trusted football community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodation around the world to stay with like-minded fans.

When did you start the site and what early successes have you had so far?

We launched our first website at the start of February and we’ll launch our first prototype of the platform very soon. We have more than 300 host fans around the world who have registered their spare space on Homefans in such a short space of time. More and more people are joining every day which is great to see as we want to connect football fans with each other. We got some local fans in Glasgow for Celtic which is great, but we hope to see a lot more signing up to become a local host around the world. Whether it’s a spare room or a sofa you have available, it doesn’t matter because it’s all about the football experience together with visiting Bhoys from around the world.

Our platform is designed to be simple and intuitive to use, for locals and for travelling fans. Homefans features club and sport-location capabilities that let you find the local people you want to look for, as well as ranking and reviews that let you scope the best options in your area.

Why are you interested in reaching out to the Celtic supporters? 

Celtic is one of the biggest clubs in Europe and has a great support around the world. The thing that’s special about Celtic is that this is not just a normal club, it’s a family. You can see it wherever fans are in the world. If you support Celtic, you are part of the family. This is something I’ve seen over the last few years and with launching Homefans.net we received so much positive support from Celtic fans which is great to see. I think there aren´t many other stadiums and fans around the world that can generate an atmosphere like the Celtic fans do at Celtic Park.

Celtic fans are always friendly and supportive. Their hospitality is great to see and we hope we can welcome a lot more Celtic fans in the coming months and launch a specific platform for Celtic. Celtic Park is one of those stadiums you have to visit no matter which club you support. Home fans.net is made up of magical football moments and local hosts can create them. Let the personality of you and your listing transform the football trip experience for visiting fans around the globe to give them a better experience when they visit Glasgow.

You are obviously a football fan yourself, which team do you support and what has been your highlight supporting your team?

I’m a big Manchester United fan. I grew up watching the likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville. Those lads were my heroes and they still are. I visit Manchester a few times every year to watch United. It’s an addiction you have for life. It was walking into the stadium, the size of it — I was in complete awe of the whole place. I loved the spirit and soul of it, I loved chatting with fellow fans on match days now and knowing that we share a bond in that we support the same club with that same fire in our hearts.

Do you think that there will be people in Europe who would like to sample Celtic Park on a big European night?

Definitely, if I had the opportunity as football fan to visit Glasgow on a big European night as a football and I’d have the option to stay in a hotel who raise their prices on match days or to stay at a true local fan who could show me around and get me into the local community I’d choose the second option. Football is about emotion and connecting with fellow fans.

There’s a lot of interest around the world from football fans who want to visit Glasgow to watch Celtic. A lot of guests who signed up on our site also named Celtic FC one of the favourite clubs they want to visit which is no surprise for me. I always knew Celtic was popular and this is a sign that I was right. Connecting with other like-minded fans, sharing football experiences and building friendships that’s what it’s all about.

Can Celtic fans use this service to visit other cities across Europe to watch football?

Absolutely, it’s free for everyone to use. If you don’t have a spare space, but you’d love to register your interest to use this service in the future you can sign up on the website. Fans can register as guest and make a profile to search for a club via name or location. If you have a club you like abroad you can stay with a local fan together with friends or alone and have a great time abroad. Perhaps you will even host them in your house next time! We’ve got fans in Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Switzerland to name a few countries and we hope we can add a lot more fans in the coming months.

People can exchange messages on the website before they decide to book an room with a local fan. We want to make sure everyone feels confident and safe when they book. Trust and safety within our community is our highest priority. There are great ways you can prepare and protect yourself as a host and guest on Homefans.

Finally can you give us a summary on why Celtic supporters might be interested in homefans.net?

Every day more and more football fans are signing up to the site. Accommodate Bhoys from around the world in your home, meet people from around the world, share experiences and make some money. It’s free to join! Our hosts come from all walks of life. They include young and old, singles, couples and families with children, rural and urban, male and female. We welcome people from all over the world to sign up as a host.

As the Homefans idea spreads, you’ll help local people earn themselves an income, you’ll help visiting fans get more deeply involved when they visit your local area. If you have a spare room, enjoy meeting new people and want to earn some extra money? If the answer is yes, hosting visiting Bhoys in your home could be perfect for you. If you’re a football fan and If you want to help us in the next months. Don’t miss out on being part of this new and exciting global online football community on Homefans!



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