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1,000

The first photo I took for this blog

This is the 1,000th post published on In the back of the net.*

When I realised that this milestone was coming up, I thought long and hard about how we should mark it.

Should we make up a greatest hits post, highlighting the five or ten best or most read of the 1,000 posts so far? Nah, done that before. What a yawn.

Should we dedicate the 1,000th post to some of the unsung heroes of our game like volunteers, parents, referees, photographers, bloggers… Nah, too soppy.

Should we do a potted history of ITBOTN? Why I started it, how it’s grown, how wonderful we are? Seems a bit too self-aggrandising.

The future then! A rundown of our long term vision for the site and where we see it heading in the next five years… And allow our enemies to know our plans? I think not!!

What about a gushing thank you post to all of you, our wonderful readers, who have made this site what it is today? *BARF*

I don’t want to do any of those things.

So I’ll just say this. 1,000 posts is quite a lot. Research has shown that the average lifespan of a blog is just 100 days. ITBOTN has managed to outperform that average by 2,629 days.

The key to this is stickability in the face of literally nobody reading for quite a while at the start. It took a good three years to build any sort of audience, and another couple of years after that to start earning the right to be taken seriously as the reasonably formidable part of both the football and the New Zealand blogging scenes that I like to think we are now.

Some people start blogs and they immediately go viral, but that is very much the exception rather than the rule. For the rest of us there is a lot of hard work that goes into making it worthwhile.

And it is so worthwhile.

In the last few years I have:

  • Been an official photographer at a FIFA Under 20 World Cup
  • Met some of my heroes
  • Gotten to know legends of the game
  • Won a football writing award
  • Been called “the biggest football fan in New Zealand” by a former All White
  • Drawn the Chatham Cup
  • Drunk beer out of the Chatham Cup with the winning team
  • Scored a goal at Newmarket Park
  • Seen my photos pinned to dressing room walls as motivation
  • Written for Al Jazeera
  • Written for When Saturday Comes
  • Been featured by the BBC website
  • Been featured on the AS Roma official website
  • Been featured in a local newspaper in my Dad’s home province in Italy
  • Had my photos published in major newspapers

And, best of all, I have made a lot of great friends, seen too many cool things to list and chatted to a heap of great people on sidelines all over the country.

So my message to aspiring bloggers is this – stick with it, it’s totally worth it!!

It’s also important to acknowledge that this is not my 1,000th post. It’s my seven hundred and somethingth… I haven’t done all of this on my own, not by a long shot. The other posts have been superbly written by John, Ella, Helena, Phil, Niall, Tracey, Rod, Cordwainer, Michael, Ezra, and many others who have supplied guesties plus Roz Palethorpe, Grant Stantiall, Garry Konings, Cameron McIntosh along with Michael Welsh and others who have supplied photos. Thanks must go to them for their enormous contribution to making this place what it is.

And just like that, I’m gushing like I said I didn’t want to.

Bugger.

I’d better stop there then!

See you all on the sidelines.

[* I should disclose that I have deleted a couple of posts over the years so strictly speaking we are already past the thousand mark. Still though…]

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Enzo Giordani

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: https://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/

5 replies

  1. Enzo, 1000 blogs is worthy.

    So, some questions I’d be interested in hearing you address on this auspicious occasion….

    What prompted you to start blogstering? ie, what were your original aims? And how have those aims evolved over the past eight years?

    Did you try to model the blog on any other operations, or are there particular blogsters (football or non-football) you take inspiration from?

    How would you evaluate the blog’s impact on the New Zealand football landscape today? Are there any particular issues upon which the blog has made its mark in terms of advocacy around specific issues?

    What do you foresee as the next significant challenge?

    How much time do you invest, on average, every week?

    1. Thanks for the interview!! 😉

      What prompted you to start blogstering? ie, what were your original aims? And how have those aims evolved over the past eight years?

      Initially I started because I enjoyed writing and wanted an outlet. I had been contributing to a now defunct political blog called ‘Just Left’. I enjoyed it but found the nastiness you open yourself up to writing about politics quite tiresome so on a whim I decided to try a football blog. I posted about ten pieces then kind of left it for a while.

      A year or so later I was running for a position on the ruling council of the Labour Party. It was a tough fight and as a way to get myself through it I promised myself that if I lost I would spend the time I would have devoted to the role on taking my football blog seriously. I lost by two votes.

      The original aim was to be a kind of online replacement for Soccer Talk. I also wanted it to eventually morph into a group blog, which was a long term objective that is coming into fruition now.

      At the start I never expected to go to many games. I thought I’d mostly write about issues in the game and a bit about Roma and Serie A. But once I started attending games I found that those were the posts that people were reading and I developed a passion for football photography to the point where I actually enjoy it more than the writing now.

      Did you try to model the blog on any other operations, or are there particular blogsters (football or non-football) you take inspiration from?

      If there is anything I modeled this on it would be UK blog ‘The Ball is Round’. There used to be a Roma blog called ‘Roma at The Offside’ and the guy who wrote that had an element of humour that I sometimes try (and probably fail) to emulate. I wish I could write as beautifully well as Giovanni Tiso does at ‘Bat Bean Beam’ – I used to aspire to but I’m not getting any closer! :-). Jazz Local 32 is a great Kiwi blog that is embedded in the NZ jazz scene – I’d love us to play that sort of role in football.

      How would you evaluate the blog’s impact on the New Zealand football landscape today? Are there any particular issues upon which the blog has made its mark in terms of advocacy around specific issues?

      Others are probably better placed to assess our influence – it’s hard to gauge when you’re so close to it, you tend to take credit in your head for things that are probably more coincidence, but I like to think we can take a little bit of credit for keeping people honest around women’s football and some of the process things like the reduction in teams for NRFL women’s premier. I do know for a fact that the pitch reports I used to do have been used successfully to lobby council for improvements in more than one instance.

      What do you foresee as the next significant challenge?

      Keeping the momentum going, continuing to grow, continuing to improve, getting more female input, trying to avoid becoming too predictable and formulaic – staying fresh and interesting.

      How much time do you invest, on average, every week?

      I would guess around 15-20 hours.

  2. Well said Enzo. I appreciate the thoughtful and down to earth posts on this blog, by all the contributors. Keep on keeping it real, come rain or come shine.

  3. Congratulations, Enzo! Starting a blog (or website, or magazine, or fanzine, or newsletter …) is easy. The hard part is doing it consistently well, over a long period of time, no matter how hectic the rest of your life is. You’ve set a high standard and stuck to it – thanks!

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