Read But Never Red has won through to the Finals of the National Blogging Awards 2013. It is the only Manchester City blog in the Best #Male category and faces stern competition from bigger, more established blogs, from both Manchester United & Arsenal.
This article seeks to understand why anyone would want to spend time writing a football blog, irrespective of whether they be Blues, Reds, Whites, Stripes, Hoops you name it...
The term ‘Social Media’ can be a contradiction in terms when football’s ‘keyboard warriors’ don their Twitter fatigues and blaze away with a barrage of expletives, safely screened away behind cyberspace anonymity.
More often than not it’s the honorary corps of bloggers who are the target of incoming fire - abusive, ill-conceived tweets from ignoramus’ who possess neither the guile or gumption to actually create their own commentary.
But football bloggers are a bunch of hardy souls otherwise they wouldn’t have ‘signed-up’ in the first place.
Why else volunteer to serve the cause – the one that burns within them – the calling that ignites their literary juices and encourages them to have their words flow freely out to an unsuspecting world.
Some are well received like a vintage wine, pleasing, palatable and satisfying. Others not so, resembling an insipid blackcurrant cordial, dribbling forth with nothing fruity on offer but bland, tasteless dregs.
Blogging sits slap bang in the middle of the social media spectrum. When well executed, the blog can provoke passion, arouse anger or solicit a smile of satisfaction, a silent confirmatory nod of approval and agreement, from a faceless consumer of a web-based wordsmith.
As an increasing number of us build our ‘social circles’ based on texts, tweets, Facebook messages, DMs and the like, it could be argued that the blog has replaced the ‘local pub’ as the principle arena for football philosophers.
Yes, of course you can still have a ‘pie and a pint’ with your mates before, during and after matches nowadays, courtesy of Sky, BT or some obscure satellite channels, where the landlord is best advised to mute the unintelligible foreign commentary.
It’s a parochial gathering of friends observing and absorbing the ‘beautiful game’.
But Mr or Mrs/Miss Blogger doesn’t enjoy the insulated comfort afforded to the pie and pint punter – they’re out there on their own.
He or she starts their match synopsis or analysis with neither friend nor foe in his or her corner.
Some venture forth with their tribal colours pinned firmly to a mast, whereas others offer neutral observations, insight and quirky comments on the finer points, unconstrained by allegiances to a particular club.
Whatever they choose to write about should, theoretically be good for football. There’s only one thing worse than being talked about, and that’s NOT being talked about.
Bloggers – good and bad – grammatical Gods or otherwise, add to the fervour felt by the ‘average’ football fan.
By expressing themselves they draw others into the debates of the day e.g. was it a foul let alone a red card, how could it be offside, did the ball cross the line, why does the manager insist on selecting a certain player etc.
For so many thousands of people to want to heed the calling to write about football has to be to the benefit of the game.
In an ideal world any exchange of views should be respectful and never go beyond acceptable banter, but social media is a reflection of ‘real life’ and respect and good humour is, sadly, not always in abundance.
But the pen is supposed to be mightier than the sword, so the saving grace for the football blogger is to keep on waxing lyrical and leave the snide snipers to shoot themselves in the foot.
By David Walker www.readbutneverred.com @djwskyblu