The YouTuber & The Worst Football Team in Scotland
There remains a perception amongst the world outside of football, that all of us who are associated with it are all barbaric yobs – mouth-breathing hooligans who look to belittle our brethren in different-colored attire, or brash assholes perpetually in search of a fight. It is sad to say, should one choose to go looking for it, this demographic of people can still be found. However, there are elements of the culture who are striving to refute that perception, and in some cases they rally around some of its more fringe aspects.
One such example of this fringe culture is based around the Football Manager games. This culture has set itself up to be counter to the tribalism that runs rampant as a norm in football. There are forums and sites devoted to education on teams, leagues, tactics, players, scouting, and every last piece of minutiæ of the game. And with the proliferation of players who utilize online social media of YouTube and Twitch (a live streaming video platform owned by a subsiduary of Amazon), there is now a greater visibility for this world within in a world. By proxy (and because, let’s face it, the life-span of a game in which one plays as Barcelona and hoovers all up available silverware is likely to have a limited shelf-life in , a greater degree of visibility for clubs which exist beyond the top five leagues of England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France.
There are, of course, many people playing Football Manager and committing their best efforts to these platforms, and some have opted to go for the biggest challenges that the game can offer. And one example of a gamer who has taken this through to its logical conclusion is a YouTuber called Loki Doki. Through his YouTube and Twitch channels, through which he streams his playing of Football Manager, has raised awareness of a troubled provincial Scottish club called Fort William FC. He manages the club through an extended database for the game, as the Highland League where Fort William play, are not a default league in Football Manager 2019.
Fort William have been covered on Twohundredpercent before, and the club’s fortunes haven’t improved very much since the end of October. Fort William currently sit at the bottom of the Highland Football League, the Scottish fifth tier, with -7 points from twenty-three matches, the club having already been deducted three points on three separate occasions this season for having fielded an ineligible player. For Fort William, carrying the weight of the table is a familiar place. The club has finished at the bottom of the Highland League table fourteen times in the last twenty years.
In the realm of Football Manager, Loki Doki’s series of videos on Fort William now runs to forty-one episodes, and it would appear that in this case familiarity has come to breed affection rather than contempt. The gamer decided that wanted do what he could in order to give a club which perpetually exists on the very brink of bankruptcy a chance of a slightly better future, and along the way utilize his profile – he’s amassed forty thousand followers on YouTube, attendance figures that all bar two clubs in Scotland could only dream of – as a means to broaden awareness of the club and its ongoing struggles to survive.
The means by which he has been able to offer assistance to the club has been crowdfunding. As of time of writing, Loki Doki and his fans, the Loki Ultras, have raised £5,250 to give to the club. Not an insubstantial amount of money for a club playing at the foot of the Highland Leave. In addition to this, the gamer has also encouraged his folslowers on YouTube and Twitch to purchase merchandise directly from the club itself. Quite a few of Loki Doki’s fans, myself included, have purchased scarves and other items from the club directly.
This ability of a computer game to bring people together to help a troubled club is a very modern phenomenon, and it may well continue to grow as the culture of the Football Manager series of games continues to do so. It also sheds a light on one of the elements of the football community that seldom gets the recognition that it deserves, on the whole. Over the last thirty years, there has been a gradual but definite shift away from hooligan culture, even though that does retain its appeal to a certain type of supporter.
Changes in technology, however, have brought with them chances in culture, and there is no question that this could lead to a more globalized, networked, and engaged community of supporters, fans, owners, and clubs. Football’s culture is giving the impression of being capable of doing a lot of the hard work that the rest of society doesn’t seem interested in doing any more – clubs giving up their empty space to house the homeless during bad winter weather, for example, or the ongoing efforts of supporters groups to raise money for the vulnerable or to get food into food backs. With this engagement has come more awareness and visibility for clubs who exist outside of the elite, and if that can help with their survival, all the better.