The Gaffer: It's Good to be Back
During the past few days, I’ve felt like I’ve been stranded on a deserted island. Instead of being in the Caribbean however, I’ve been stuck in a hospital after being rushed to the hospital on Wednesday night diagnosed with blood clots in my lungs. The good news is that I’m fine and I’m recuperating at home – thanks to everyone for your best wishes. I’m already fast on the road to recovery.
The bad news, for me, is that I’ve missed the opening of the Premier League, which I’ve been looking forward to for months.
Laying in the hospital bed knowing that the matches were on this past weekend was frustrating. I had a laptop in my hospital, but no wireless Internet access. I had TV, but of course no Fox Soccer Channel or Setanta Sports. So, I had plenty of time to sit back and reflect (and catch up on reading; I finally finished Alex Ferguson’s autobiography “Managing My Life,” an excellent read). Here are a couple of my revelations:
1) U.S. television on Saturdays is absolutely dreadful. There really is nothing on. Thankfully, FSC and Setanta are perfectly placed to attract new fans to their network to watch the EPL and other leagues. Their biggest challenge is to make fans aware of their networks and encourage them to watch. I’m still amazed by how many soccer fans I run into in the States that aren’t familiar with what networks carry the Premier League.
2) I’ve been grappling with what the identity of EPL Talk is or should be. Since it launched in November 2005, it’s morphed itself a few times based on what has and hasn’t worked. For example, when it first launched, it was primarily a one-stop-shop online guide to help fans in the U.S. find the TV listings, news, fixtures and radio listings for Premier League games.
Since the launch, I’ve found that the audience overseas has grown considerably so the blog has taken on more of global topics rather than U.S. centric. Of course, the addition of the EPL Talk Podcast in April 2006 has taken the site down a whole different path, too.
My aim is to clearly differentiate the site so it doesn’t become just another one of a hundred football sites focused on the Premier League.
So I’ve decided to focus EPL Talk on what it does best and that’s covering the media coverage of the Premier League. For example, zeroing in on the phenomenal growth of EPL coverage on TV worldwide, reviews of new footy web sites, latest news about Premier League-related podcasts, interviews with companies about the latest football trends in broadband and technology and articles about fantasy football leagues and soccer video and computer games.
If you think back, most of the stories that EPL Talk broke during the past twelve months have involved media coverage. For example, in July 2006, we broke the news about Setanta being available on ITVN. In August 2007, we had the first exclusive interview with Setanta to break the news about the network being available on the DISH Network. In the summer of 2006, we broke the news about The Treble moving from World Soccer Daily network and joining The 2 G’s network, and so on and so forth.
Does this mean that EPL Talk will change? That’s very unlikely. Instead we’ll focus on what we do best which is providing you with the news and analysis of the Premier League media coverage. The key aspects of the site will continue such as the blog, podcast, chat, community, etc.
We’ll still continue to provide analysis and commentary of the actual matches too, but if that’s all you’re expecting, you may be a bit disappointed.
With EPL Talk’s focus on the media coverage of the English Premier League, you’ll get to hear more interviews on the podcast from people inside the game reflecting on the growth of the league and how far its come along.
In the coming days, expect to see the relaunch of EPL Talk as well as, in the coming weeks, new features such as EPL Talk TV and much more. It’s good to be back!