I have started to find lately, as this blog has continued to grow in its readership, that there has been the odd example of what I suspect might be growing pains. Maybe it’s me. Perhaps I’m getting a bit big for my boots and in need of some trimming down to size. Or maybe it’s just that some people misunderstand what I’m trying to do here. Either way I have started to field the odd complaint. Nothing too major, but occasionally mildly troubling. So in light of this, I’d like to address one or two issues that have cropped up and see if we can’t come to some kind of an understanding on them.
The first thing we need to get straight is I am not a journalist, I am a blogger. What’s the difference? A journalist is duty bound to be balanced, objective and unbiased while a blogger isn’t. A blog is like a personal diary – a narcissistic kind of place really – where people say what’s on their minds. It’s not the job of a blogger to break stories, dig dirt, or report on the day’s events. A blogger’s only real duty is to be honest and try to be interesting.
There are millions of different kinds of blogs, from fashion blogs to food blogs, political blogs to celebrity gossip blogs. Then there are football blogs, of which there are thousands of different sub-genres. There are football blogs devoted to tactics, some devoted to photography of the game, and millions devoted to various individual clubs. Personally, I blog as an ordinary garden variety football fan living in Aotearoa New Zealand. A fan – not a football expert. I’m not a former player and I’m not an analyst of the game.
What does that mean? Well, as a fan, I take sides, and as a blogger I’m open about it. That might mean that sometimes I want your club to win and other times I might be openly pro your opposition – try not to take it personally. Also, like most fans, I reserve the right to be a fickle bastard. So don’t be surprised or offended if I change sides depending on which side of the bed I got out of. On the plus side, you’ll always know where I stand.
Just because I take sides, doesn’t mean I’m dishonest. If I think a team has played well or badly I will probably say so genuinely. I might be wrong of course. In fact, the odds are I probably am wrong! Refer to the point above about not being an analyst.
I’m sorry if I upset you as a player, coach or administrator from time-to-time. I’m just giving my opinion. Sometimes I need to remember that I’m covering an amateur sport and that you are not paid to read me talking crap about all your hard work. But as a fan, I have opinions, especially about the teams I love. If I’m doing it right, I’ll be harder on the teams I like than the ones I don’t care about – so maybe if I’m a bit insensitive sometimes, one consolation could be to take it as a compliment!
As a fan, ‘support’ to me means a roar of approval when you score and real happiness when you succeed – it doesn’t mean a free pass from critique.
Sometimes clubs give me things like scarves, shirts, toasted sandwiches… Contrary to one recent accusation levelled at me I have never received a hotdog (unless some other bugger ate it!) but I live in hope.
When people offer me stuff, I’m delighted. I take it. I wear clothing with pride and if you’ve seen me you won’t have any trouble believing that I eat food with gusto! But that doesn’t mean I’ve been ‘bought’. I thought about getting a ‘register of pecuniary interests’ type page going here so you can see who’s given me what and decide for yourself if it has influenced me, but actually, I don’t want to start a competition where people feel they have to give me things. Believe it or not I am not in this for the loot. Please accept my word that while I love getting free stuff, to date it has not affected my opinion of any club one iota.
I go where I feel like going to watch games. Some clubs miss out a bit. Some see me a lot. This will change from season to season and hopefully will even out in the end.
Just because I’m a blogger doesn’t make me like Whale Oil. I’m not setting out to upset or shock people just to get hits. Sometimes people give me behind the scenes scuttlebutt about this or that but while I love a good juicy bit of gossip (please don’t stop telling me!) I tend not to write about it unless it’s relatively harmless.
I may have been guilty recently of falling into the trap of trying to be ‘newsy’ and ‘report’ on games. This is sometimes because I feel a sense of duty given I’m the only media there or other times it’s because I can’t think of anything else interesting to say about the day – but that’s not what I’m here to do. It’s not core business. So it’s no good moaning if you don’t agree with my assessment. I’m only doing my best!
If you think I’m wrong and you’ve got something constructive to say to point me in the right direction – go for it. I recognise I’m not perfect and I’m happy to learn. But if you send me abusive messages I reserve the right to make a call whether I quietly put up with them or publish them in full without warning.
Lastly, if you think you can do a better job than me, feel free to either contact me about becoming an author here (I would be delighted to set you up with a user name and password), or you could start your own blog. It’s really easy. You can start here: www.wordpress.com
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/