One (Almost) Short Message

18 By Ian  |   The Ball  |   June 2, 2011  |     11

Quiet, isn’t it? In years ending in an odd number, the Euro-centric football enthusiast’s calendar suddenly opens out before them like the savannah plains. The 2011 Women’s World and the European Under-21 Championships sit before us like twin oases and the press will continue to feed the constant thirst with a drip of transfer stories, many of which will come to nothing and many more of which will not become truth until the last possible moment before a ball is kicked in anger again. Pre-season friendlies, the summer methadone for the addicted supporter, will come and go, matches that serve a purpose for the clubs themselves but which, devoid as they are of broader context, will mean little to all but those of us that have been breaking out into sweats on account of our cold turkey.

There are other bright spots that are worthy of a mention this summer. The Supporters Direct Conference is in July, and this is followed by the annual Supporters Direct Cup match, this year to be played between Chester and FC United of Manchester. It will also be worth commemorating an anniversary that will go uncelebrated elsewhere, but which has had ramifications across the whole of British football – the tenth anniversary of the birth of Enfield Town FC. Meanwhile, there is other football going on elsewhere for those that wish to seek it out. The League of Ireland plays during the summer, as do several European leagues and Major League Soccer in the USA. Globally speaking, there is no such thing as a close season. Back here in Britain, though, this week has felt like waking up the morning after a particularly heavy night out.

So, you may be wondering where this is going? Well, that’s a fair question. Over the last few days or so, I have taken the opportunity to do a little thinking. Twohundredpercent has built what reputation it has (and I remain uncertain of the extent to which it has one and, yes, that is in spite of everything; this is a conversation that I have had more than once) on a certain type of writing – analytical, critical and – I should point out that I am only speaking for myself, here, there is no criticism of the other people that write for this site, who do a brilliant job for far too little reward – sometimes a little dry. So, the summer is here, the sky is blue and it is a beautiful day. It’s time to enjoy myself a little bit. To cut loose, as it were.

As some of you may have noticed, I watch (it would be stretching things too far to say that I have to watch) a lot of football. This, in itself, is no bad thing and it is a thing to be enjoyed. The peripheries of what happens around the game, however, is a different matter. It is depressing. The owners, and the ground-snatcher and the speculators. The abuse, from the within and without, from supporter to supporter, frequently in the name of something called “banter”. The feeling that we are living in the perpetual last days of Rome, a world that is being driven mad by its own hubris. The aggressive nature that feels as if it has crept either in or back in to the game. The semblance of caring about what is being said on Twitter or whether anybody is reading what we are writing. Twohundredpercent was five years old at the end of last week and, for the first time, it has started to feel wearing.

This, however, is not a rant. I made a decision that I would stop running this site when it was no longer enjoyable to do, and it has started to become unenjoyable. It is an opinion that I have come to revise over the last few days. I have come to the opinion that I still enjoy the writing. What I have to do is not get to dragged into the culture of what has increasingly felt like a hostile and aggressive environment over the last few days, weeks and months. The end of the season is a perfect time for this. It is a time for reinvention and rebirth. And I am going to enjoy it. You are welcome to join me, should you wish to.



Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

  • June 3, 2011 at 11:12 am


    Ian, I understand some of your points, certainly with regards to cutting off from an exhausting season, spend non football time with my family, recharge the batteries etc etc.

    I am concerned though about your comment
    “the culture of what has increasingly felt like a hostile and aggressive environment over the last few days, weeks and months. “.

    I assume you mean on 200%, and if so, this would be a shame if you stopped as I don’t think it is that bad.

    As 200% gets more popular it will attract the people that would be a bit more hostile and less understanding.

    The problem is football is full of emotions, on and off the pitch, and as it gets more corrupt and outrageous, and less of a people’s game and more of a corporate money making machine, then so do the extremities of people’s opinions.

    Hey, even I have had a pop at you (same Ian?) over the “smug AFCW fans lucky enough to have started afresh” comment.

    But hostile and aggressive? Not me.

    If others have, then to stop writing is to give up.

    I have been on forums that have had idiot posters – they were banned – the nice environment returned, and we all started to repost.

    Enjoy the summer, relax, and come back when you believe the saeason is ready to start.

  • June 3, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Lanterne Rouge

    It would be a huge pity if you did stop and it’s great to hear that you have decided not to. I think there are hundreds of people who have learned an incredible amount from your site and the issues you cover are hugely important.

    I do feel that we are in a golden age of the football blogosphere as it has remained remarkably free of the worst excesses of message board culture – I do fear that it won’t stay that way for much longer but to repeat a piece of advice I once received – you wouldn’t scream, swear and shout at someone if you disagreed with them on being invited into their house, so why should you visit a website to heap abuse on its creator?

  • June 3, 2011 at 12:43 pm


    200% is a relatively new discovery for me. As a Welsh football supporter I’ve used it to get the latest, accurate, position on Wrexham. As a Supporters Trust member (Swansea City – yes I am feeling pretty chuffed with life!)I’ve also found the site’s clubs in crisis articles very interesting. The writing and the site is of a rare quality. It needs to continue as the oasis it is.

  • June 3, 2011 at 1:23 pm


    I am a huge fan of this website due to the brilliant articles written about Chester City’s demise. It was the only place where there was a sensible, reasoned voice written at length about what was happening to my club. It really did give a brilliant summation of the events and highlighted what a bad state the owners had let us get into.
    If you do quit then I would just like to give my heartfelt thanks from those supporters who read your articles and realised that other people did care about what was happening and the wider footballing community is a nice place to be in.
    I hope that you feel that you have played a part in the success that the new Chester FC has enjoyed this year and if you do quit you can take pride in that.

  • June 3, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Willie Miller's 'tache

    I was introduced to twohundredpercent during last years World Cup. The articles regarding the broadcast media and game summaries were totally on the money. Needless to say, I’ve been hooked ever since and like Paul, I have been intrigued by the clubs in crisis series, particularly the Portsmouth saga.

    I’m a fan of football at all levels from my sons’ non-competitive/competitive leagues, to Highland League, SPL & EPL and find the broad range of topics covered here really refreshing. It would be a real shame to have a minority of numpties ruin what is an informative, balanced and humourous (and that’s laughing with you, not at you) blog. It’s clear that all the contributors are passionate about their football.

    There’s another blog I’ve been reading lately,, which I’ve found fascinating. It’s to do with Rangers pending appeal against their HRMC tax bill, which if goes against them, could see them in serious serious trouble. There’s also plenty infomation and discussion about the recent take over by Craig Whyte and implications of what could happen if the tax bomb explodes and also the silence coming from the (Rangers) compliant Scottish media.

    However, the point I wanted to make was, as this concerns Rangers, it’s obviously going to attract a certain level of vermin from both sides of the Clyde. Yet, the writer/moderator has kept the discussion right on track and has either told off or blocked anyone who has tried to disrupt the flow of discussion. Any mention of dodgy refs or paranoia etc is quickly dismissed with great effect. The blog doesn’t focus on football issues, it looks at how (it pains me to say this) a Scottish institution could go to the wall due to years of reckless management.

    Maybe stricter moderation is what’s needed here. Everyone has the right to free speech and there are plenty places to spout vile comments, I just don’t think that with the amount of effort that goes into contributions at twohundredpercent, that this should be one of them.

    Get some sun, have a few cold ones and come back better than ever!

  • June 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm


    Hello chaps, and thanks for your comments. To clarify, because I have a feeling that I probably didn’t express this very well last night, I have no intention of quitting or even taking a break. If I can just suffice to say that things have been said (and broadly speaking they have not been said in the comments section on here), it’s probably for the best to leave it at that.

    Your comments are very much appreciated, and we are collectively looking forward to taking this little place on to what I believe is called, in some circles, “the next level” over the next few weeks.

    And Jertzee, you can rest assured that any comment made concerning ” “smug AFCW fans lucky enough to have started afresh” would not have been made by me.

  • June 3, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    SJ Maskell

    I so like this site and was very pleased when you published my stuff (more to come on Pompey by the way). I promise to be less dry in the future;-)

    It is good to have a reasoned debate with people who, in the main, absorb the whole issue before commenting. Something not always possible on fan messageboards.

    Moderation levels may be something to think on.

    That the site is in the ballot for the FSF writer’s awards again (poll on FSF website says it all.

    Shameless electioneering – moi? hehehe

  • June 3, 2011 at 6:48 pm


    And besides, if this site stopped or took too extended of a break, it would be a possible violation of others’ security, as Dotmund would have nothing to occupy his time.

  • June 3, 2011 at 8:06 pm


    True, dat. He has many treats lined up for the coming season, I am informed.

  • June 4, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Edward Anderson

    For Gods sake, don’t even think about stopping this website… please. It is my first point of reference for the murkier side of football as well as its promotion of fan owned clubs and non-league football (which is ignored and treated with contempt by others , sky *cough *cough)
    It would be a massive loss and I hope that this post by you has at least given all of us who use the site to say just how grateful we all are.

  • June 5, 2011 at 9:30 am


    I would be gutted if this page ever did stop publishing articles, I check it as often as possible and thoroughly enjoy every one I read. Puts a lot of professional football journalism to shame I must say.

    Don’t let vitriolic comments get under your skin, as for every one of those there are 10 other satisfied readers (myself included) who don’t comment simply because we prefer to read others opinions rather than give our own.

    Keep up the excellent work!

  • June 5, 2011 at 10:23 am


    So are there 2 Ians that write on this site??

    Do you follow Wrexham?

  • June 5, 2011 at 10:35 am


    No, I don’t follow Wrexham – if you can point me towards the comment in question, I can have a look at it.

  • June 5, 2011 at 7:01 pm


    Twohundredpercent.It’s what the internet was invented for!

  • June 5, 2011 at 7:55 pm


    IAn – this was the comment I refer to from “Ian” “Smug Wimbledon fans are beginning to piss me off no end. You’re not the only people capable of understanding the need for football to be run sustainably. I think any Wrexham fan would trade the decade long pillage we’ve endured for the clean break afforded Wimbledon fans.
    ” from this article…

    I have moved on from it so please I hope no one is offended by its reappearance.

  • June 5, 2011 at 8:32 pm


    Okay, found it. No, that’s not me in the comments section (he did provide an email address that looks genuine in order to post, and as far as I can remember he has never written for the site). My comments are all marked with my Gravatar (the thumbnail image to the left of this picture).

  • June 6, 2011 at 8:55 am


    That’s good to know – anyway – enjoyu your break and come back refreshed. This is the first site I go into each day.

  • June 7, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    Frank Chickens

    I first heard about this website through WSC and reading it has been a breath of fresh air. The articles on here are interesting and thought provoking and am glad to get a view of the game that isn’t Sky Sports-centric.

    Ian, take a well-deserved break and come back fresh and anew, ready and looking forward to the challenges that the new season brings.

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