You have probably noticed that things are a bit quiet around here. Apart from the odd flicker of life we’ve been drifting along like a rudderless ship whose crew are lost presumed drowned for over half a year now.
I was going to wait until November 23 to make this announcement, because that will be the tenth anniversary of ITBOTN and I wanted to be able to say we lasted ten years. But let’s face it, that would be a fiction. For all intents and purposes we were dead at the start of the year.
Why? Well I’ll tell you my version in broad terms, trying not to blame other people entirely but not shying away from the truth either. If you ask others you will almost certainly hear it differently from their perspectives. But at the end of the day it’s my blog so you get my perspective – here at least.
As I’ve said here many times, my dream was always to turn ITBOTN into a group blog run by a team that served the football community by bringing together a range of different perspectives – the voices of the fans. To a certain extent I achieved that dream – but only very briefly. And it’s not my dream to do that anymore.
What I learned is when something is your baby, bringing other people in to share your baby doesn’t mean they will treat it like it’s their baby. Some might, but a lot won’t. Anchoring the site (by keeping the content flowing so the audience will stick around) with others breezing in and out and chipping in every so often when they felt like it was fine with me to start with, but I saw it as a means to an end. An end where with lots of patience and encouragement we would have equal participation from a core group of good writers – and ideally gender balance not just in writers but in content.
I thought we were heading in that direction. Then we definitely weren’t. And I accept that’s at least partly my fault because I didn’t communicate my vision clearly enough (or arguably at all) and other people aren’t mind readers. To be fair though I still thought everyone was on the same page as me. They weren’t.
But regardless of who did or didn’t do what, the bottom line is this blog wasn’t going in the direction I wanted it to anymore and I couldn’t see how I could turn that around. My patience ran out. And so I gave up.
You might say “hey but ITBOTN was cool how it was” and sure, it was I guess. But it wasn’t meeting my high standards and that was making me unhappy. A lot of people I talk to also say things like “don’t worry about losing writers, just get other ones” – unfortunately it’s not that easy. I’m not a club with a farm system that can just pluck a few players out of the under 19s when a big club raids my first team squad. It took me 8 years to get to the place I was. I have no appetite to start again from scratch.
So I have moved on to some other solo projects where I have complete quality control and nobody can let me down. To date no writer on any of them has promised me a post that never eventuated, gone months on end without contributing anything, misled me about their other commitments, or put their other commitments first to the extent they are effectively censored here. As a consequence, I am enjoying myself much, much more.
This will be the last post on ITBOTN for the foreseeable future. All good things come to an end and all the other cliches. It’s been fun, take care, and if for some unfathomable reason you still want to read my piffle you can do it…
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/