This month’s guest blogger is a familar one. Anita Byrne-Phillips has shared her thoughts with MFW readers before and felt the time was right to offer her two-penneth on when social media meets the transfer window. Enjoy…
I am no journo. I am a fan, and a female one at that. If that’s not put you off, then here’s my view on social media and the transfer window.
Looking back… I remember Sunday mornings – watching the pub team run off their hangovers (often with a win), the muddy pitches, the hair of the dog down the local afterwards, the elaborate recalling – step by step – of the wonder goal (“it was a cross!”), how the ref was invariably Mr Magoo, and who had been sick on the side-line.
This would be followed by a slightly more serious discussion on the previous day’s ‘proper game(s)’. In the main Norwich City was the subject of the discussion but there were a few glory hunters who followed the Arsenal and Liverpool. There was even a Hammer and an unmentionable ‘blue’ among them, but the bottom line was it was eat, sleep and play football. It was banter amongst friends, opinions being shared within the four walls of the local pub.
How things have changed.
Now the debates are larger, the platform is global. This my friends (although I have not met 98 per cent of you!) is social media. An opinion you voice in your own head – one that hasn’t even left your lips – while in the comfort of your own home can so easily be typed and sent to thousands of people. And once you have pressed that button you are open to the scrutiny of the world. Positive or negative!
Social media is of course huge. Most football teams, league and non-league, have accounts in which they post information and team news. It can make top flight players seem more human with talk of their children and snippets of their daily lives.
The downside is it offers a platform to keyboard warriors who wish to troll and abuse, who hide anonymously behind their typed words. A court case in Aberdeen has recently awarded a 20-year old man 200 hours of community service and a year’s football ban to prove you can’t hide and that words, not even spoken, are accountable for.
That leads me eventually to the transfer window.
There’s no arguing that Sky Sports has changed and manipulated football; changing the traditional Saturday 3pm kick-off to Saturday lunchtime, Saturday teatime, Sunday afternoon or Monday evening etc. But they have also changed our view of the transfer window.
It has become massive. A reporting circus! We’ve seen Harry (often) leaning out of a car window, City fans ‘hump’ outside Carrow Road, reporters endure sex aids being waved in their ear, obscenities being unleashed and general hysteria. We shouldn’t but we couldn’t help but watch, and it won’t be the same now Sky are stopping live transmission from outside the grounds.
But this has now over-spilled into good old social media. The #ITK the fake accounts and those rumours, most of which are ludicrous, I’m sure it isn’t just a Norwich trait but our fans seem to latch on to every link, whether it be players leaving or us buying. Perhaps being a ‘small’ club doesn’t help.
We’re often linked with big names, while knowing either the wage structure here isn’t going to make it possible, or we’re too far from the bright lights of London to make the move attractive (do they not know the A11 is now dualled?).
But the hysteria is now not a small circus on screen. Instead it’s a big top on social media.
Let’s try not to get sucked in; let’s look at it with interest (or humour); let’s speculate to accumulate but don’t get angry when less than a week into the transfer month we haven’t signed the top players we have been supposedly linked to.
I’m sure that the City board are currently that serene swan; seemingly calm, doing nothing above water whilst the feet are madly working unseen. I just about remained sane in the summer but it almost became unbearable with public meltdown on social media.
Supporting Norwich is emotional. We don’t have billionaire owners (thank goodness) but we have a CEO who I believe is trying to do his best for the club, we have a manager who has just served his first (hopefully of many) year in charge and we have a board of directors we have to trust.
They don’t want failure or demise for our club; it doesn’t make economic sense.
So be patient and realistic. As a fan it’s frustrating not knowing, but when we see new players holding aloft the shirt we can then revel and then ponder how they will fit into our team. The next Grant Holt? Or the next RVW??
As I write we have finally signed right-back Ivo Pinto. Let’s welcome him and hope he’s the signing we need to strengthen our defence. This is one rumour that has rumbled on and did seem to be the most believable; further proof that our club is spending and is active in securing top flight football.
Let’s hope our Christmas form isn’t over and it’s breathed confidence into our team. Let’s keep that atmosphere going.
“We are Norwich, super Norwich, we are Norwich, Carrow Road…”
Thanks to Anita for her impassioned plea for calm and common sense. Let’s see…