Football Shorts: An Ill-Timed Blackburn Rovers Jibe
Modern content producers, it can sometimes feel, have the worst of all possible worlds. On the one hand, the pressure to produce more and more content for the internet can be enormous. With the amount of eyeballs to gawp at what your website has to produce limited and media giants being the only people who will – whether they can or not is a different question – pay for a constant stream for articles, the pressure to knock out article after article will inevitably lead to some poor decisions. Questions of judgement may be affected by this. How to get people to read? Should they say something controversial without having really thought it through? Should the headline mislead in order to get people to the page in the first place, and damn the consequences?
On Saturday evening, the supporters of Blackburn Rovers – not all of them, but a sizeable number – had decided to make their feelings regarding the continuing mismanagement of their club by the poultry giants Venkys with a staged protest. Supporters wouldn’t enter the ground until the eighteenth minute, and would walk out again with seventy-five minutes played, representing the sybolic number of “1875”, the year of the club’s formation and a gentle reminder of the amount of history that could yet be at stake should the club’s descent through the divisions continue. A large number of supporters joined the protest, and the sacrifice seemed, from here at least, to make its point. Those who joined the game late and left early left both of the match’s goals, and Ewood Park had, for those periods, that echoey feeling that we more commonly associate with reserve team matches or an hour after the final whistle has blown.
Now, we can’t pretend to have an inner track on the mind of the BBC’s Josh Hunt, or whether he even had anything to do with the headline of this “Five Things That You May Have Missed” article that appeared on the corporation’s football site yesterday morning, but we can’t help but feel that the somewhat mocking tone of this week’s lead story was something of a misjudgement. We can’t claim to speak for all – or indeed any – of the supporters who are protesting against owners of this club, but it doesn’t seem particularly likely that too many of them will consider missing these goals to be a great loss when set against the broader fight that supporters of the club are involved in at the moment.
Considering that this series likely considers itself “a sideways look at the beautiful game” – it doesn’t say as much, but its self-congraulatory tone is reasonably evident – we may suggest that there was a sixth thing that the BBC may have missed from last weekend’s football, which was the point of last weekend’s anti-Venkys protest. Supporters who are at a point where they’re protesting against owners by leaving matches are making a statement that is far broader than anything that can be contextualised by missing a goal or two.
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