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Motivations and malice - The 'joys' of a Manchester City blogger


It used to be that a good education was built on a foundation of ‘3 Rs’ – reading, writing and arithmetic.


Fast forward to the contemporary world of social media and the everyday lot of the football blogger and an intriguing trio of ‘Ms’ confront every aspiring scribe each time he – or she – addresses their keyboard.


Football writing used to be the exclusive domain of the sports journalist – officially accredited to some recognised bastion of the media – either on a staff or freelance basis. If you didn’t work for a newspaper, magazine, wire service, radio or television station you were a nomadic nobody whose ‘voice’ would simply wilt in the wilderness.


Without the internet there were no routes to market for the guy or girl who fancied their hand at expressing their views on the ‘beautiful game’ – the spectacle that provokes more passion, argument and debate than any other sport.


Cyberspace transformed everything.


At a stroke Norman Nobody, Deluded Dave even the old favourite of Simple Simon (the alliterations are endless) were afforded a stage, a platform to enlighten a potentially global audience with their ‘take’ on their team, the opposition, the hot topics of the day or even something way out of left field.



The blog was born and, whether you had the ability to streamline sentences as smooth as silk or grunt your way through appallingly ungrammatical garbage, the door was wide open for an outpouring of written words to swamp the world like never before.


That brings me back to the M&M&Ms that the bog standard blogger battles through each and every time they have the temerity to foist their thoughts and opinions on an audience, however big or small, engaged or disinterested.


Motivations, misperception and malice are the three which spring to my mind.

What motivates an individual to spend endless hours writing, not even knowing if an audience exists for their pearls of wisdom?


Is it an inherent belief that they simply have to be heard, that their views should be adhered to or that they run the risk of ‘exploding’ – metaphorically one would hope – if they don’t ‘let it all out’?


Or, could it be a nasty attack of self-importance, delusions of grandeur, the belief that they are the next Martin Samuel, Paul Hayward or Henry Winter and it’s only a matter of time before they’re discovered?


I can only speak for myself when I say I write about Manchester City – the team I’ve supported since the age of five – because I find it therapeutic to either exorcise the demons and injustices meted out by referees, Match of the Day pundits or the national football media, who I perceive as broadly anti-City, or to recognise the achievements or shortcomings of my beloved Sky Blues.


Blogging came to me somewhat late in life, especially when you consider I inadvertently had my own editorial column in the Grimsby Evening Telegraph at the age of 13, but I digress.


I stumbled onto the road that was to lead to writing my blog - Read But Never Red - when someone issued a plea for a match report on City’s 4-0 win over WBA in 2012, en-route to their first top flight title in 44 years. The regular writer had missed the game and they needed to plug a hole in their coverage.


To my pleasant surprise, the article was well received and I was asked to do more. Encouraged, I settled into a rhythm of pre-match and post-match articles before branching out into miscellaneous ‘City Chat’ pieces that cover a multitude of sins.


I took time out from my family life, juggled work schedules and did all I could to keep the words flowing. I enjoyed it.


I was buoyed by positive feedback and found a receptive audience in fellow City fans who had suffered through thin, thin and anorexic times as ‘Typical City’ had historically always managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.


It would be a lie to say I didn’t get a buzz from favourable comments, even a giggle from outraged opposition fans – often from what I tongue-in-cheek refer to as The Dark Side from The Swamp, fans of Manure – sorry Manchester United FC.


It was – in the main – good old fashioned banter, although not always.


This brings me to M&Ms two and three. Motivation is one thing, it comes from within and it will differ for every individual. The Misperceptions & Malice that follow, once the football blogger is up and running, are more commonly applied.


If a blog is poorly written, incorrect spellinks (!) and poorly structured it will, by and large, sink without trace or court either contempt or pity.


Not so, in the case of blogs that are original with quirky news ‘angles’, well executed and in tune with their chosen audience.


Notwithstanding the innocent motivations that originally led our blogger to want to express themself to a world, blissfully ignorant of their humble endeavours and aspirations, the individual can suddenly find themselves a figure of hate and ridicule.


Misperceptions are formulated on the premise of God knows what – jealousy, spite, ignorance, just a general sadistic streak to belittle the efforts of those who actually made the effort– who knows?


People who haven’t a clue about the blogger as a person, their values, beliefs or reasoning, are given to ‘attacks’ via that most convenient and anonymous of social media vehicles – Twitter.



It speaks volumes of their unfulfilled lives that they feel the need to resort to a faceless world where they can hide behind vague identities, spitting out their bile, supported by simpleton disciples who hate anything that even remotely resembles something half decent.


But, in a society where we value freedom of speech, that is quite rightly their prerogative. It isn’t constructive and, in comedic vernacular, it’s neither big nor clever.


It is, however, a grim reality that a half decent football blogger is more than likely to encounter at some stage.


Similarly as the blogger strives for recognition, seeking as wide an audience as possible via social media, he or she is pilloried and castigated – the perception among detractors being that the individual must ‘love themselves’ despite ‘spouting shyte’.


Blogging is oh so very subjective.


Paradoxically, the very medium that seeks to recognise football blogging excellence i.e. The Football Blogging Awards @TheFBAs, can inadvertently bring out the less appealing traits of human nature.


Rather than simply accentuating the positives of their own blog or their favourite blogger, individuals resort to besmirching the reputation of other bloggers, denigrating their honest endeavours - after all, there could be votes to be had via character assassination.


Not very laudable, but nonetheless a sad reflection of the world in which we live. If it’s good enough for the politicians, those striving for occupancy of 10 Downing Street or The White House, then why should it be out of bounds for aspiring FBA winners?


If that’s the case then go ahead – each to their own if they are so desperate to take the laurels.


It all goes back to the original motivation.


In my case it was, and still is, an enjoyment born from writing about my team – even when they fail to turn up.


If – big word IF – if, I entertain some folk along the way, then all well and good. If my scribing is perceived as shallow, populist crap then so be it – I give not a jot.


Winning awards was not and will never be my motivation – a nice and unexpected bonus were it to happen, most definitely – but never ever the reason for doing what I do.

By David Walker www.readbutneverred.com @djwskyblu

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