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Day: November 17, 2011

Football Blogging, The Media & The End Of A Depressing Year

Over the last couple of weeks or so, a debate has been being passed back and forth between football bloggers over both the present and future of what they do. On the one hand, we have seen the introduction of a new news feed service which has angered some that are seeking to make a living from their writing whilst, on the other, the behaviour of an established football website (which could clearly be described as “Mainstream Media”) has seen the scales fall from quite a few eyes on the matter of the ethics of established media sources. It marks the end of a year which has seen increasingly fractious relationships between independent football writers, bloggers, freelance writers and seasoned, experienced journalists, a phenomenon which seems likely to continue to deteriorate still further as more and more people continue to fight for the increasingly meagre-looking scraps that are left for writers of any hue. The introduction of the Guardian Sports Network kick-started the row last week. The GSN is a loose grouping of bloggers from various sports. These writers are  not being paid for what they produce, but then – in contrast with, say, The Huffington Post, which doesn’t pay writers for producing tailor-written content – this is content that is already available on their own websites. They are receiving the benefit of the exposure that The Guardian can offer...

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Port Vale… Not Again?

Yes, again. Last month, I started what I hoped was an epilogue to Port Vale’s takeover saga. Then Plymouth Argyle’s concluding fortunes took priority and Vale took their place lower down the article queue. But not before I wrote the following: So, farewell, then, internal strife at Port Vale. For now, anyway. As, hopefully, predicted in these pages recently, the Burslem-based League Two promotion contenders don’t have off-field bickering to contend with any more, at least not in an organised sense. Elections and appointments to Vale’s new-look board – only one remaining member from the eight in charge of the club in 2010 – have been completed, with, some might consider, surprising haste. All-but-one of the long-campaigned-for resignations has now physically happened. Two of the three long-campaigning groups have issued “ceasefires.” The first part of renovation work at Vale Park, promised as part of the multi-million pound investment deal which has sparked recent progress, has begun. And the team are in the promotion play-off positions at the time of writing. At this point in most articles about club finances, there’s usually a rhetorical question along the lines of “what could possibly go wrong?” or some smart-alec comment about a bright future, followed by three dots and an ‘er.’ In this article about Vale there is very nearly no need for all that nonsense. After all, what could possibly go...

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Blatter, Suarez And The Increasingly Muddled Racism Debate

There is no irony in the fact that Sepp Blatter’s extremely ill-advised comments on racism – “We are in a game, and at the end of the game we shake hands, and this can happen, because we have worked so hard against racism and discrimination” – came on the same day that the Football Association charged Luis Suarez with using “abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Manchester United’s Patrice Evra”  including “a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Patrice Evra.” This is merely a coincidence. That these two stories should come together on the same day does, however, only serve to further highlight the key story of a dismal opening few weeks to the new season. Sepp Blatter is seventy-five years old. We should, perhaps, not be particularly surprised that somebody of his age would think that racist slurs can be mitigated in any way with a shake of the hand at the end of a match, however appalling such a notion might be. What is more surprising is that somebody that has been in the public eye for such a long time – he has been the president of FIFA for nine years – would not be able to stop, check himself and not make such thoughts public. In a television interview. With CNN. Of course, reference to his age is no mitigation...

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