We went into the evening with low expectations, of course. There could only be one winner from the Best Website category at this year’s Football Supporters Federation Writers Awards, and the other sites against which we had been nominated – Zonal Marking, In Bed With Maradona, Sporting Intelligence, Miniboro and The Anfield Wrap – could not have provided a more formidable array of – and I use the word advisedly – opposition. Yet then, against all of our expectations, our name was the one that was read out and that was that.

Of course, however, by this time some drink had been taken and this rendered any attempts at saying anything meaningful in the acceptance speech broadly irrelevant. So, true to my firmly held belief in discretion being the better part of valour, I muttered some thanks to the other guys that write the site, chucked a swear word in the general direction of George Rolls and his ilk and departed the stage. This, however, isn’t really fair. There are many other people that I should have thanked at that moment, so if you’ll indulge me for a moment, I’d like to go back and give the thanks that I should have given but didn’t due to the mentally corrosive mental effects of varying brands of fizzy German beer.

First of all, I’m indebted to an extraordinary degree to the other writers of this site, to Ed Carter, Neil Mace, Rob Freeman, Jenni Silver, Gavin Saxton, SJ Maskell and Mark Murphy, and also to David Squires, Mike Bayly, Paul Grech, Andy Ollerenshaw, David Bauckham and a whole host of others that have kept it functioning and have kept me sane with their contributions over the last six years or so. I’m also grateful to everyone at the Football Supporters Federation for thinking of us and to everyone at Supporters Direct for their invaluable help over the last few years, in particular to Kevin Rye, who has always fielded my calls, emails and stupid questions with remarkable patience. The same goes for Dave Boyle, latterly of the SD parish, for his patience in answering my often idiot questions, and to Kev Beeley, whose technical support has been invaluable.

I’ll also take this moment to thank those who email me with hints when there is a story that they think we should be looking at, as well as everyone who takes the time to read us in the first place. There are a lot of football websites out there, so thanks for stopping by. Also, thanks to everyone who follows us on Twitter, a good number of whom I’m proud to call friends. Above all, though, my biggest debt gratitude goes to Kate, without whose infinite patience I would be sitting in the corner of my bedroom, sobbing and rocking backwards and forwards with a laptop-shaped hole in the living room window. None of this would be possible without her and, of course, my cat, Yoshimi.

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