Love will tear us apart…again

18 Sep

Wednesday 17th September 2013

Nottingham Forest                         2.2          Middlesbrough

(Derbyshire, Henderson)                             (Kamara, Friend)

For those of you who aren’t aware, Billy Davies has not spoken to the local newspaper (Evening Post) or the local radio station (BBC Notts) for a while now. In fact, it transpired that the chief football writer for The Guardian and The Observer is now banned from the ground. He happens to be a huge Forest fan who has responded to the situation by giving his version of events on a respected Forest fans’ website. Billy Davies’s favoured means of communication is via Twitter in a Friday night via his adviser’s account.

There appear to be two opposing schools of thought on this issue. In one corner, those that point to the low quality of the aforementioned media outlets and their supposed criticism of Billy Davies regarding his first spell in charge. Besides, they claim, what does it matter as long as the team is successful? Leave the manager to get on with doing what he does best and focusing on matters football related and not wasting energy and time giving out cliché ridden thoughts pre and post-match. Furthermore, a beneficial side effect is created by this stance: a siege mentality is created that will be beneficial to team spirit.

Of course, there is another corner. It matters. How the club is perceived both in the local community and beyond matters. Keeping journalists onside in an effort to provide a positive view of the club is an important part of any major football club these days. To alienate such media outlets seems churlish and doesn’t seem to be ‘playing the game’. Admittedly, there are a number of alternative platforms for fans to interact with the club besides the Friday night Twitter conversation: YouTube and Forest Player to name a few. However, not every fan has access to such platforms.

I could go on (and on) about this and thus far, I have tried to outline both sides’ arguments with fairness and facts. My main point here that this media debate is dividing fans and I would imagine that whatever reasons lay behind the media ban, this is not an intended outcome.

The club matters to all of us: it matters to some more than others but let’s not get into that. For what it’s worth, how the club is perceived matters to me too. A cynic would point to Fawaz’s appearance outside the supporters club wrapped in an anti-Derby flag and Davies’ appearance in the A block on Saturday as an attempt to curry favour with supporters. Another would see this simply as our two leaders meeting the fans and showing their appreciation for their support. I just wonder whether Twitter is the most appropriate way to communicate with fans. After all, not all questions get answered on Friday night and the control lies very much with the owners. Requests for signed T-shirts do get a response though.

Despite all of this, I did leave the ground on Wednesday night with a warm feeling. Yeah we dug ourselves out of a hole successfully and came within a Darius Henderson leg hair shaped whisker of completing a victory. Abdoun was exciting and we got a point while playing below par and from two goals down. All of this contributed to the warm feeling but not as much as once again, being told to ‘enjoy the game’ on purchasing a drink from the Trent End snack bar. Witnessing a foul throw from a Boro player also helped me raise a rare smile.

Courtesy matters. Speaking to people in the right way matters. I imagine that the woman who served me probably didn’t want to utter these words but under obligation from her employers, did the right thing.

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2 Responses to “Love will tear us apart…again”

  1. Rich T September 18, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    Leeds United under Ken Bates severed ties with the Yorkshire Evening Post. Since we are their biggest supporter and devote multiple pages to them daily as well as covering them online including video, (our most visited content by far), he ultimately only damaged his already tarnished reputation further. National media is one thing, they have no loyalty, but local journalists inform and in some cases represent the local fans. Failure to get them on side is a short sighted and arrogant ploy. Lest we forget, most regional news has been around as long as, if not longer than the clubs, certainly longer than any manager or Director and in the main have far closer ties to the communities than most football clubs ever achieve. Tweet at will, but local media is in most cases the link and information channel between fans and clubs and should be respected as such.
    Billy Davies, grow up.

    • marplesdavid September 18, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

      A very good point and well made. His antics are earning us notoriety when it could all be so much more positive. Interesting points you make about alienating local press such as the YEP at your peril.

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