Monday, 30 December 2013

2013 and all that.

Some great memories from 2013
Hi guys, sorry i have been away for so long. I have really missed doing this blog and writing about a range of sports but i have been a tad busy with other exciting stuff that has really been a drain on my time since August when i got back from the States. My new years resolution however is to start writing on here again, covering the same old tripe that i use to and maybe some more stuff as well.

I normally hate the kind of article that i am about to write now, but after a fantastic 2013 for me in the world of sports media i really feel as if i have to, because this year has been a pretty crazy one for me and i would love to share my experiences with you all and mention some special people who I need to give a huge thank you. First up is Lindsey whose many hours of spell checking allows me to produce content in the first place, thanks for your help Linz.

As most of you know over the past two years or so i have been slowly but surely been getting more and more into women's football, and i have spend a huge amount of time writing about it and following Lincoln Ladies and creating the fans blog; which i thoroughly enjoyed.  I feel very privileged to have written it, and meet some truly great people along the way, and it was this that got me into writing and becoming a fan of the female game. I am very proud that the club posted them on their website and people really seemed to enjoy them. At the time it was the only fan club blog in the FAWSL and although now there are a few more (and much better and detailed ones it has to be said) Its always nice to be the first. It's is hard to pick out one blog that i enjoyed the most but i really did enjoy the trip this year to Bristol in the League when Bristol won 2-1. For me however, the real highlight of the year on the blog was getting former Lincoln keeper Nic Hobbs to do an interview for the site before the match with her current club Doncaster. This was the first interview with a player that i have ever done and Nic was a total star.
View from covering England v Wales at Millwall.

In April i received a message that really changed my writing focus and presented an exciting opportunity. I was offered the chance to cover and report on the England International v Canada in Rotherham for Sports International magazine from the pressbox. As you can imagine this was a pretty big deal for me and to say i was excited was an understatement. The whole day was fantastic, and as the year went on i covered the Women's FA cup final, 2 England friendlies, two women's World Cup qualifiers and the UEFA under 17 final between Germany and Spain, so in other words some pretty big games. I felt very humbled to be offered the chance to work for the magazine and it has been a very interesting journey, transferring my blogging style into one of a serious reporter. There is still a hell of alot that i can improve on but i like to think that we give a balanced and honest view on the matches. I can't really thank editor Myak Homberger for giving me the chance to work for the magazine. We have lots of exciting plans for 2014 in the magazine and i for one can't wait for the new year to come. It is a huge honour to work for a magazine like this and i am very proud to be a part of it.

Jill Scott and an overweight reporter.
The second major project that i have been involved with this year was helping to becoming the co-founder and joint host of the Women's World Football show podcast/Internet radio show. (Whichever name you prefer to use, the both mean the same thing) 

Now this kind of thing is something that i have been interested in and thinking about doing for over a year now. The reason? I have always felt that that there was a huge gap in the market for a radio show that covers women's football WORLDWIDE, with people running it located around the world so that they can give a feel of what's actually happening on the ground. I know from my experience of travelling to America that you can read about sports, culture, and politics etc in another country, but until you visit you never really understand different countries, so its far easier to let somebody who lives in that country cover their country's sports.

The chance to work on this came totally out of the blue. I like to share other people's written articles on twitter etc and it was through this process that i was approached by Patty LaBella over in California. Patty's vision for the show was very similar to what i had in mind so it was a pretty easy decision to say yes to this.
After deciding to work on this plenty of questions started to race through my head, the first thing we had to decide on was the name. In the end seeing how our main aim was to spread the game to people worldwide we decided on the Women's World Football show. For me the key word in the title is WORLD. We aim to look at the game from all angles, chat about it, and give people from all over the world the platform to share their experiences of the game. Quite a few shows just use the word world in their title as a kind of status symbol but for us it means we want to highlight different leagues and national teams and show how the game is growing. Obviously we can't do this in every show but if you look at shows in blocks then i think we stay true to our vision.

Another thing we had to decide is what the presenting style was going to be. Again we agreed that it had to be fun and relaxed and not fall into the trap so many other podcast/radio host fall into and try to be the next *insert ESPN/Sky Sports/whatever sports host you want* I believe the main reason people like reading the blogs i have been doing over the years is my fun, down to earth style. Sports should be fun, an escape away from the boredom of everyday life and that's what i try to make it.
Another thing we felt was important was to be open to people. I have over the past few years, tweeted several sports radio hosts, some answer questions and take time to chat to people, whether they agree with you or not. While others only seem to reply if your profile pic is rather attractive, if you are complimenting their work, or if you are saying something nice and easy to answer about their city or the sports teams they cover. Quite often it is the second lot of folks whose shows don't tend to stay the course, and while they last tend to "give it large" about themselves and their shows. If i ever end up like this then please, please slap me around the face with a wet fish.

Pretty early on i decided i wasn't going to listen to any other football podcasts before doing our first 20 or so shows simply because i didn't want to be influenced by whatever other people were doing and start comparing us to them. I have since listened to quite a few American podcast/intertnet radio shows alas only a couple on soccer to get a view of how we are doing time and quality wise. Having done this i think we are in a pretty good place at this stage of our development. I still don't compare us to other shows in our market or worry about what other people are doing. I would rather concentrate my time on my work for Sports International and this show. And of course the odd trip to games and the pub.

One of the advantages of working as part of a team in two different time zones (there is an 8 hour time difference between the two "studios") Is that we can reply to tweets almost 24 hours a day. The way we both look at it is if somebody can take the time to tweet us then its only right we tweet them back. It may not be instant but we really do enjoy interacting with our growing group of listeners. The fact that so many people take the time to contact us is huge boost to both if us. I have always felt that people commenting on, sharing, and favoriting articles is far more rewarding that simple viewing figures and i hold the same view when it comes to the show, although  its great to see listening figures growing show after show.

Show mascot Barry the Beaver out and about.
I know everybody says this at this time of year but we have some really exciting stuff planed for early next year. We have a a few guests already lined up and we already have a good group of team experts happy to come on and chat about their respective sides in the FAWSL/NWSL before the two leagues kick off. The fact that people have asked us to come on (and we are very happy they did) is another sign that the show is on the right track. We also have a fantastic give away lined up that we feel very humbled to be asked to do.

Speaking of thanks i need to say thanks to Patty. Quite simply she is the brains behind the show. Its Patty who first had the idea for the show and ask me to come on board. Once the show is recorded its Patty who edits it so that you guys can listen to it and takes out all the goofs. It is also Patty who designed and runs the websites. I couldn't do the show without her where as i am sure she could get another Adam to do the show with. I would like to say i am the poster boy and eye candy on the show... But i know you guys all know that's maybe not quite the case.

Before i go and leave you all to your New Years celebrations i want to thank you all very very much for your support and for reading my articles, tweets, blogs, tuning in to the show etc. If it wasn't for people like you guys i wouldn't be producing any of this. I have met some fantastic people in 2013 and i couldn't have asked for anymore. I always get very nervous about looking forward to a new year and this time i little bit more so. I mean how can i top what happened it 2013? I have no idea what will happen over the next 12 months but i will give in 100% to make it as good as 2013.

So let us raise our glasses to more articles, radio shows, and some non-league blogs rating the food on offer. I hope you all have a fantastic 2014 and that our paths cross and a beer or 20 can be had.


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