This time last year I posted about what I wanted to achieve with this blog in 2012. It served as a useful tool to refer back to as I worked my way through the year. Some things were achieved, some were partially achieved and some were overachieved on. I’m calling that a win, so bear with me as I attempt to repeat the process and set off into 2013 with a tangible written contract with myself to keep things on track with this blogging lark.
Last year’s goals (in the order I wrote them) were:
- Write for an audience of one (myself) but at the same time be quite happy if readership grows.
- Try to fill the void left by the New Zealand football magazines that have disappeared from our newsagent shelves in recent years.
- Cover at least one local game per fortnight.
- Improve my photography.
- Start doing interviews with prominent New Zealand football figures.
- Post at least once per week.
- Find some other contributors.
Goal number one was passed with flying colours. One or two posts aside, I’m proud of what was written and the stats have improved beyond recognition. In 2011, although only active for half the year, this site only managed a meagre 2,028 page views. In 2012, that grew to a touch under 60,000 according to WordPress stats. The blog tends to hover around the 70th-90th range in the Open Parachute rankings most months. My ambition for 2013 is to rank consistently in the top 60 by the end of the year, and to eventually become the highest ranking sport blog. This will need to be achieved by continuing to please myself what I write. Never fear, I have no intention of boosting numbers by posting photos of kittens or writing about Manchester United every week.
Goal two is still a work in progress. My knowledge of New Zealand football is far from encyclopaedic, but it improves with every game. I’ve never been that much of a detail person and I’m never going to be the sort of writer who can chronicle every play in a match or pick it apart tactically. There are others who will always do a much better job of that than I can. This blog is more about the experience of following football than analysing the game’s intricacies. This approach has its limitations – there are only so many times one can describe an encounter as “pulsating” or “dull” and atmosphere wise, if you’ve seen one Northern Division 1 game, you’ve pretty much seen them all. So over time posts might become a little less fluffy, but not too much less.
Goals three and six, were smashed. When there has been football to go to, some of it has been covered most weeks, sometimes twice a week. The plan for 2013 is to continue to cover at least one New Zealand game every weekend when possible, and to post something else that’s of interest to me around Wednesday each week.
Goal four, tick. The new camera has helped a lot, as has the regular practice. The next step is to hopefully get a new lens or two sometime this year, which should also see a jump in quality. A sports photography course of some description probably wouldn’t hurt either. We’ll see about that.
Goal five – must try harder. The one interview I did kind of fell into my lap if I’m honest and I didn’t make much of an effort to chase any other subjects very hard. I’d still like to pursue this though. Watch this space. Again.
Goal seven is a partial tick. Several guest posts were run in 2012, one of which was spectacularly successful, but I’m no longer pursuing the idea of turning this into a group blog. It has evolved nicely as it is so unless something drastic changes, we’ll leave well enough alone for now.
Finally, this time last year the look was refreshed with a new header and theme. This year I wanted to switch to more of a magazine style, mostly because it better reflects the sort of modus operandi set in goal two above. Hopefully it will also give the content a longer shelf life. Rather than having to scroll down the homepage a long way to get to more than two or three articles, you will be able to quickly get a taste of the most recent twelve and browse from there. The new header image is a stylised version one of my favourite photos of those I’ve taken. It’s of Hayley Moorwood celebrating her goal with the rest of the Football Ferns during their 3-1 victory over China last June.
I remain very grateful to John Fetcho for allowing me to use his stunning photograph as last year’s header. Let’s admire it one last time in its full glory:
I especially love the FIGC (Federazione Italiano Giuco Calcio) logo beautifully presented on the ball as it hits the back of the net. Unusual for a United States college (Butler University) game, one would have thought.
Anyhoo, I think that about covers everything. If you have any ideas for things that could or should be covered here in the future, feel free to drop a note in the comments and we’ll see how things go. I hope you will continue to check in regularly to see what I’m rambling on about. But until then, happy New Year!
A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here: http://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/