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Why Aren't There More Good Soccer Blogs From England?

 Why Aren't There More Good Soccer Blogs From England?

While compiling the list of the best of the best blogs to include in the 2009-2010 EPL Awards competition, I was struck by how few blogs from England are on my must-read list. I’m originally from the UK. And sure, I often find myself reading soccer blogs from the UK such as Zonal Marking, Some People Are On The Pitch and Fantasy Football Scout, but they represent such a small percentage of the tens of English soccer-related blogs I read each day scouring the ‘Net for news to share with you, the readers of EPL Talk.

The Guardian does such a good job with its blogs, so maybe some soccer supporters from England feel as if it’s not necessary to create their own. However, even before The Guardian had sport blogs, there was a lack of good soccer blogs from England, so The Guardian‘s perfection can’t explain that.

While the United States is a much larger country based on population, the number of people who are die-hard soccer fans has got to be less than the number in England. In the States, though, many of the blogs fill a void because of the lack of good soccer coverage in newspapers and in the media. If we in the States had to rely on traditional media such as television and local newspapers to follow our favorite Premier League team, we’d be clueless how their season was going.

But at the same time, I’m disappointed that there aren’t more quality soccer blogs from England. Many of them are club blogs instead of blogs that focus on a specific topic or a specific league. Living closer to the epicenter of the Premier League, it’s perhaps more understandable that soccer fans in England feel they need to support their team by creating a supporter’s blog. But that still doesn’t explain why we don’t see an abundance of quality soccer blogs from England on other topics.

Perhaps the reason was the expensive rates that companies such as BT Internet charged for broadband usage and the caps they created to limit the amount of bandwidth consumed. At least that’s what I experienced when I last visited my cousins in London when I was there in 2006. Nowadays, an unlimited broadband plan from BT is the equivalent of $43 a month.

Maybe I’m unrealistic, but I would expect to see a lot more quality blogs created and published in England.

Here’s a rundown of quality blogs from around the world and which country the chief blogger resides in:

england flag1 Why Aren't There More Good Soccer Blogs From England?

England

australia flag Why Aren't There More Good Soccer Blogs From England?

Australia

canada flag Why Aren't There More Good Soccer Blogs From England?

Canada

ireland flag Why Aren't There More Good Soccer Blogs From England?

Ireland

pakistan flag Why Aren't There More Good Soccer Blogs From England?

Pakistan

usa flag Why Aren't There More Good Soccer Blogs From England?

United States of America

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it’s meant to give you an idea of where many of the quality blogs originate from.

How do you explain why there are so few quality soccer blogs from England? Click the comments link below to share your opinion.

This entry was posted in General, Leagues: EPL and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

27 Responses to Why Aren't There More Good Soccer Blogs From England?

  1. Ollie Irish says:

    A minor correction, Gaffer: I’m English and have lived in England for all of my 36 years. I currently reside in London. Hope this tilts the balance a wee bit!

    Best,
    Ollie
    Ed. Who Ate All The Pies

  2. Gary Andrews says:

    I would be hugely surprised if it’s down to bandwidth and broadband, certainly not in this day and age. If somebody wants to blog, they’ll blog, regardless. As somebody who regularly gets together with other bloggers at assorted events or communicates via email, this has never once come up.

    It is a good question and, and I think it can be answered by looking at a lot of the blogs on that list.

    Many of them are group blogs or willingly accept guest posts, so it’s often easier to post on other blogs than start your own, especially if you’re covering the whole of football. It’s the 98:1:1 rule – you’ve got the committed 1% who start blogs, a further 1% who write for them and the rest are readers.

    In my case, I’d thought about starting a football blog for a while but hadn’t got the time or the wherewithal to start one, so I asked Ahmed if I could post on Soccerlens. Since then, I’ve written for Pitch Invasion and Twofootedtackle, plus the occasional piece in When Saturday Comes, plus I’ve had invitesto write for other places. In comparison, my own football blog (on Exeter City) is poorly neglected. (I’m UK based, btw)

    Inevitably, any writer will want the biggest possible audience for the work and uless they’re prepared to spend the time and effort ploughing away creating their own blog, keeping it updated, waiting for it to show up in search results and the like, it’s often easier to write for somebody else or for a bigger, more established blogs.

    Not being based in the States, this next bit is probably conjecture, but I’m guessing that because soccer is more of a niche sport in comparison to other offerings and people are more passionate about it (the more niche the topic, the more individual blogs, in my experience).

    Also, Just Football (UK), Touchline Views (Ireland) and Back Page Football (Ireland) are all excellent blogs as well.

  3. Ollie Irish says:

    I might add: In the UK, the ‘professional’ mainstream media is so well-oiled and comprehensive in its coverage of football (how can Who Ate All the Pies hope to compete with the Guardian, Times etc.?) that there is less of a need for bloggers to fill the gaps. Hence the presence of more high-quality ‘amateurs’ in the States and elsewhere.

    Interesting debate though.

  4. robbohuyton says:

    In the UK we get wall-to-wall general football coverage from Sky Sports, the newspapers, the radio – I think with all that already out there it’s quite difficult to come up with something original for a general football blog.

    I write a blog about Liverpool – Well Red (www.robbohuyton.blogspot.com) – which has now developed into a magazine of the same name. I think team-specific blogs and sites CAN compete with the some of the general media output because often that is skewed, unfair, agenda-led and so on.

    My other point would be that the best writing comes from being passionate about a topic – and the passion for your own team is always going to outweigh a general passion for the game, in my book, anyway.

  5. kyith says:

    There is only one good soccer blog in my dictionary.

    http://www.zonalmarking.net

  6. insideleft, a blog about Scottish football, comes to you from the scottish footballing heartland of south Amsterdam …

  7. Tom Williams says:

    One of the key issues here is access. If you pick up a British newspaper and look at the sports pages, the chances are that the majority of the stories will be quotes pieces based upon something that a player, coach or chairman has said. There’s much less writing about the game itself, particularly when compared with countries like France and Italy.

    A natural by-product of this is that British football fans assume that football journalism is all about getting quotes rather than writing about what happens on the pitch. If you equate decent football writing with access to the players and coaches, you’re less likely to think it’s something you could do yourself.

    American sports journalism has long been more open-minded and innovative than its UK counterpart, particularly with regard to its focus on things like statistics and tactical analysis, and in a journalistic climate where access to the players is not the be-all and end-all, it’s perhaps understandable that more people will feel entitled to express their views on the game.

    • wozza says:

      I guess it depends which newspapers you read. The Guardian for example has pretty comprehensive match coverage. There are fewer stats than in the US, though, as football isn’t a stats driven game, unlike most US sports.

  8. Dan says:

    The internet speed is a red herring IMO. My understanding from friends and family back home is that they generally have access to faster speeds that are often cheaper than my Verizon DSL. I don’t know about caps, but that wouldn’t effect anyone I know. It certainly wouldn’t stop anyone getting going on Blogger or WordPress.

    In my case at least – I’ve lived here 5 years now – Gary’s conjecture isn’t far from the mark. In England, it would actually be difficult to get through a day without having some sort of soccer news thrown at you at some point. You take it for granted.

    Here, I’m not going to hear a bulletin on the car radio on my way home telling me about the latest result in Scunthorpe. Or Aston Villa for that matter. I have to go looking for it.

    Eventually that daily thirst for news becomes an obsession. I found sites I liked and sites I didn’t. Ultimately, I thought that a) I could do a better job and/or b) at least offer something the others don’t. Namely (look out, shameless plug) comprehensive stats, technical analysis, wallpaper and other art, plus a more rational, reasoned opinion than a lot of the tabloid-style, popularist rants that inhabit the blogosphere.

    The bottom line is that being separated seems to help with remaining focused on what’s important and avoid getting caught up in all the white noise that’s engulfing the folk back home.

    The downside, of course, has to be the time difference.

  9. Tim Morgan says:

    I agree that the Guardian, Sky, BBC etc do an excellent job breaking general football news and discussion.

    As for club blogs they can be too fanatical (cant change their mind, wont change the subject). This is the purpose of them but it makes them hard to read for people who arent equally as fanatical about the specific club.

    Some of the UK blogs on your list and the Football Ramble podcast do a great job of doing stuff the big generalists cant do (eg speak with a human voice) whilst leaving their club colours at the door.

  10. Chowie says:

    Some great points here, having lived in both Football is 24-7 in the UK now and everywhere, fans internet forums (established ones) are still booming it seems but mainly people looking for gossip! I agree with Tom about US sports journalism being different too.

    And still probably one of the hottest UK hot-spots for Football debate is still… The Pub.

  11. Steve says:

    A Different League – http://www.adifferentleague.co.uk – is new, like a quality newspaper. Thats from the uk

  12. Jonathan says:

    Ahem *coughs*

    http://www.just-football.com/

    based in UK. Thankyou Mr. Andrews by the way.
    ;-)

    But the issue of widespread mass media coverage of football in the UK probably does contribute – one thing I’m always surprised by is the complete lack of knowledge about football blogs by the public outside the blogosphere. Even the top blogs aren’t really known on any major level – if you ask a football fan in UK to name a good football website invariably you’ll get Football365, The Guardian football, the BBC blogs or a tabloid paper as your answer.

    Not sure how that compares to across the pond, although general knowledge about football is more scarce and hence more opportunity.

  13. Our blog covers football in England right from the Rymans League up to the Premier League…We also love our awaydays in Scandinavia.

  14. Michael says:

    The realistic answer? In general, English football fans aren’t very knowledgeable about the game.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Michael, I think it’s more that the English football fans haven’t been able to come up with creative ideas for blogs that would stand on their own. Yours is an example of a need that football fans had and you’ve done a superb job. I just hope that there are more people like you in the UK who can come up with equally compelling ideas for blogs and to execute on those ideas.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Michael says:

        Perhaps, but even on specific club blogs where there is a large audience, the actual level of discussion is quite poor.

        There’s a few decent UK football blogs that focus on a kinda ‘fan experience’ point of view of football, but rarely is there a great level of insight.

        In the US there seems to be culture of analysis and intelligent discussion of sport (much like in Europe) but in the UK this is sadly lacking. I mean, there’s simply no reason why there should be any lack of ‘creative ideas’, I generally just think there’s quite a basic, uninformed approach to football in the UK.

        • The Gaffer says:

          The one thing I’m always bemused by when it comes to British football fans is the percentage of those folks who write some really awful stuff on message forums and in the comments section of blogs. Some Brits are very articulate but there is a lot of garbage out there.

          Cheers,
          The Gaffer

          • wozza says:

            Not sure what being British has to do with it, Gaffer. All blogs, bloggers and commenters are guilty of spouting rubbish at some point or other. This site included. And even naturalised yanks!

  15. Chris O says:

    First of all Gaffer, thanks very much for mentioning ‘Some People Are On The Pitch’ in such high regard. It’s much appreciated. :)

    In response to your question, I think many UK-based football fans might feel they’ve missed the boat by now where blogging is concerned. Blogging has been with us for about five years or so now, and it’s not difficult to find someone writing about a particular aspect of the game, be it a team, a league or a geographical area. Anyone wanting to start a football blog now is quite likely to feel they’re merely duplicating the work of someone somewhere in their own country or around the world.

    It’s very difficult to be original nowadays and that, as much as anything, is a factor in why there aren’t more football blog sites… unless you like re-hashing material from other people’s sites, that is.

    I also totally agree with my good friend from TwoFootedTackle, Gary Andrews. If you don’t feel capable of setting up a blogsite of your own, it’s very easy to find someone else’s that will let you write for it, as is becoming more and more common these days. A convenient solution for any ‘part-time’ writer.

  16. Tim says:

    I guess the brits is in the pub watching football on the telly :-)

  17. Andrew Weber says:

    Such a privilege to be noted as the only ‘good’ blog from Australia. Cheers for that.

    My opinion on why the proportion of good blogs in England is less than overseas is because the internet works best in creating communities for people who cannot participate directly in those communities.

    I can see a lot of English supporters seeing no real need to participate online because they are so close to the game, so exposed to daily newspapers and TV information, that it is not necessary. When you’re overseas the news coverage you get is mostly via the internet and it seems natural that there are more blogs as a result.

  18. Carla says:

    Have a look at mine…
    http://thesoccerroom.com
    I’m on Vancouver Island in Canada

  19. Stuart Fuller says:

    Sorry – I should have added my blog title – http://theballisround.co.uk

  20. I like to think our BackPageFootball.com is among the best, with mainly Irish and English input.

  21. Hmmmm, good point, I found most UK Soccer blogs are club specific, maybe it stems from the intense rivalry between clubs.

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