Before the World Cup kicks off in Brazil I want to share My Debut Season on Twitter, a review of the football year that has just been. I initially joined the social media site in August 2013 before setting up my blog with its own Twitter account in November. Prior to joining, most of the football news in the media which came via Twitter was from footballers saying something stupid or controversial, but the thought of following players didn’t really appeal to me. From my point of view if it was a big enough story I would find it through other sources. Twitter had been recommended to me for a way to find like-minded people with similar interest. However when I joined I didn’t know what to expect.
I began by following those accounts which I was already familiar with such, as FourFourTwo (@FourFourTwo), their brilliant Stats Zone (@StatsZone), Michael Cox (@zonalmarking) and Opta (@OptaJoe). I quickly discovered a host of superb football websites such as Squawka Football (@Squawka), IBWM (@inbedwimaradona), A Football Report (@afootballreport), B/R Football (@br_football), Think Football (@Think_Football) and ESPN FC (@ESPNFC). These well-established sites offer fantastic stories & reports from across the football world. One feature of Twitter which I was sceptical of, but thought was interesting, was being able to interact with people you wouldn’t usually be able to, such as Paul Watson (@paul_c_watson), author of the incredible Up Pohnpei, which I would thoroughly recommend, and have done a number of times on Twitter. By following Paul on Twitter I was able to find out about the latest on the team in the book as well as let him know how much I enjoyed his book.
Through Twitter, I joined the Prediction League via You Know The Score (@predicthefootie), making my way up League 4 before gaining promotion and finish the season as League 3 Champion. For anyone who likes guessing the outcome of the weekend’s Premier League fixture it is a simple way to pit your wits against others. I hope to be competing with as many of you as possible next season. As well as finishing the season as League 3 champion I also picked up other silverware thanks to Twitter competitions, in the form of Issue 3 of The Football Pink (@TheFootballPink) and, via Of Pitch + Page (@OfPitchandPage), The Boy in Brazil by Seth Burkett (@burkett86).
As I continued the Twitter season I was on the voting panel (anyone can vote) for the Football Blogging Awards (@TheFBAs), unfortunately none of my initial selections won but it was another great way to discover more football writers. By reading more content it persuaded me to write myself. Two of the articles which directly gave me the inspiration and confidence to were Football Charlie (@Footballcharlie), Blogging: it still matters and putnielsingoal (@putnielsingoal) Twelve ways to be better. For aspiring writers Twitter is a great way to get your thoughts and opinions out there. A number of sites accept articles for submission. My first article was picked up and published by The 4th Official (@_4thOfficial) and The False Nine (@The_False_Nine). Other sites that have been kind enough to offer a platform to me have been Sportsbant.com (@sportsbant), Natter Football (@NatterFootball), MatchDay App (@MatchDayApp) and iLovethissport.com (@Lovethissport). The latter also reviews and rates articles, which I have found invaluable to improving my writing. Anyone thinking about writing or getting their voice to a wider audience should use these sites for the fantastic support they offer.
Having seen my first to article published I decided to set up my own blog. Even though I was getting my work out there via other sites I thought it was the best way to share my thoughts with as many people as possible. Having already been on Twitter since August I had got to know some wonderful football bloggers and websites. When I started promoting the new blog I was humbled by the support of these people. All the comments and feedback on all the articles have made the hard work all worthwhile. I have also enjoyed reading and sharing other people’s writing and hopefully also getting their work to a wider audience.
To recap this season, I have written about Joe Hart’s problems at Manchester City and how he could take inspiration from Wojciech Szczęsny, reminisced on My First World Cup Memories, ranked the Premier League owners (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 & Part 4), compared the similarities of Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao, hailed ex-Reading skipper Jobi McAnuff, explored who the neutral was rooting for in the title race and analysed whether Van Gaal would fit in with the class of 92. Some of the articles have been easier to write than others, especially with the amount of research some subjects require but I hope everyone has enjoyed my offerings. I have thorough enjoyed my debut season on Twitter and to avoid the dreaded second season syndrome I already have ideas for next year and hope you will continue to read.
There are so many people to thank for their help supporting the blog, as well as those who I have already mentioned, if you don’t follow them already I suggest you do immediately:-
Football Pink (@TheFootballPink) – brilliant monthly magazine covering almost every aspect of football, as well as regular articles on the website.
Putnielsingoal (@Putnielsingoal) – a true football hipster, already mentioned once but he’s that good
Christopher Lash (@rightbankwarsaw) – blogging on Polish football, past and present, and a Reading fan.
The Footy Guy (@_FootyGuy) – one of the most entertaining, and genuinely amusing bloggers.
Pete Spencer (@irishpete67) – Liverpool fan, writing on the historical events in football, whose recent World Cup stories are most insightful.
John Townsend (@jontownsend3) – another Liverpool fan, writes about his club and new coaching methods among other things for the brilliant These Football Times (@thesefootytimes)
Rob Canavan (@whitesfan) – member of excellent The Final Third (@TheFinal_Third) podcast
Proven Quality (@provenquality) – as the name suggests a regular source of quality football writing
Laura Jones (@YICETOR) – former FBA finalist; her very personal account of the Hillsborough disaster is probably one of the best articles I’ve read this year