To say that Norwich Talk – the YouTube arm of MyFootballWriter – came about by accident is a slight exaggeration, but it was a phone call with the then communications director of Norwich City FC in early 2019 that brought about its creation.
Rick Waghorn (owner of MFW) and I had spoken previously of the need for MFW to move with the times and, perhaps, at some point move beyond just the written form, but a passing comment from Joe Ferrari as he and I discussed some ground rules for an MFW interview with Stuart Webber made the decision for us.
For a couple of months, I’d been badgering Joe about us getting to interview Stuart, prompted by a shift in the club’s approach to engagement with fan sites (which was also thanks to Joe), and when my pestering finally paid off, he dropped into the conversation a “you’re very welcome to video it by the way”.
MFW… video? *scratches head*
Luckily for me, I had a young gent on board by the name of Connor Southwell (you may have heard of him) who, at the time, was starting a Media Studies course at the UEA. Connor had already been part of our team for a few months and, as well as being a talented young man, was literally bursting with enthusiasm and ideas.
It was a no-brainer, and Connor whipped my hand off before I’d even got as far as ‘… Webber’. And not only did he have access through the UEA to some suitable equipment on which it could be recorded, he also had a mate called Ben Ambrose who was himself a budding videographer.
I’m sure discussions ensued between the pair, and between Connor and the UEA re the equipment, but for me it was almost job done, but with one exception: we had no platform of which to host the video.
So, the King of the Luddites (me), set about setting up his first-ever YouTube channel, which at the time was cleverly entitled MyFootballWriter (I know – brilliant, eh?). It was basic, crude even, but it was there and gave the lads somewhere to post the interview once it had landed.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Stuart afforded the lads more time than we could ever have wished for, Connor was brilliant in the way he gently probed but still allowed his interviewee time and space to tell his story, and Ben recorded it beautifully, and even managed to briefly (and accidentally) get himself in shot 🙂
We anticipated getting around 30 minutes of Stuart’s time. We got 1 hour 28 minutes. And while I’m sure he’d done in depth interviews before then, in my simple, admittedly biased, mind it was the first and, at that time, the best.
The upload and edit were not without their hitches, but we got there in the end, and it was, for the lads, a piece of work to be very proud of. To date, the interview has had over 13,500 views, but if you haven’t, it’s here…
And so it began…
From there, Connor and Ben worked tirelessly and put together an outstanding portfolio of work, including interviews with club legends, match reports interviews with club officials, press conferences, season reviews, football gossip and a superb piece covering the promotion celebrations of May 2019. If you fancy a scroll through every bit of content they have produced, have a scroll here.
There was also the small matter of a brilliant five-part documentary that lads put together called We Are Dereham, which took us behind the scenes of the Isthmian League club.
Along the way, the lads understandably took the level and quality of branding way beyond my initial crude and feeble attempt, and so MyFootballWriter’s YouTube Channel became, simply and effectively, Norwich Talk.
Behind the scenes, Connor and Ben were supported by videographer extraordinaire Jordan Blyth who, with Ben, is also part of Reverb Digital (a specialist video company), and Jordan continues to be a vital behind-the-camera cog in the Norwich Talk operation.
At this stage, it’s also well worth thanking Norwich City for the access they have offered us and continue to offer us (along with ACN and TNC), without which a lot of this wouldn’t have been possible. They have also allowed us to use the Carrow Road facilities for some legend interviews for which, again, we are very grateful.
As mentioned earlier, the ball started rolling in 2019 thanks to Joe Ferrari, and his successor, Dan Houlker, has been equally generous with allowing and arranging us access to players and officials, as has the club’s Media Relations Officer, Charlotte Foster. We thank them all.
Connor, of course, departed for pastures greener in the form of Archant and, in all seriousness, seldom could I have been prouder and more chuffed to see a member of the team turn what was essentially a hobby into a career. What’s happened since has proven beyond doubt that Paddy Davitt (Archant’s football editor) made the right call. Connor will always be considered part of the MFW family.
Connor: “I still think back to that Stuart Webber interview as a real high point in my life and it opened so many doors that would have remained closed otherwise. We didn’t really plan to start a YouTube channel despite too many hours in school classroom daydreaming about the possibility of making Norwich City content. To be given that opportunity was a real honour and I doubt I would be in the job I have now without that Webber chat. Being able to do it alongside my best mate (though don’t let him know that!) Ben, was a real honour and I’m so pleased to see the channel go from strength to strength since I joined Archant. Finally, a thank you to Gary who, much like Delia and Michael, entrusted Ben and me to make content as we saw it without any interference, just support. Hopefully, we didn’t do too bad a job!”
Unsurprisingly, Connor left a big hole to fill but we were grateful to Joe Hinchliffe for stepping in and providing some excellent support to Ben in those first few post-Connor months and, more recently, Samuel Seaman and Alfie Britcher have joined the team to work alongside Ben and Jordan to excellent effect, including their recent interviews with Andrew Omobamidele and Eddie Riemer.
As far as what lie ahead for Norwich Talk is concerned, I’ll hand over to the lads:
Ben: “Norwich Talk is something I’m so proud of and really enjoy doing. The best part is that I get to do it with some cracking lads. It’s kind of shocking, but a massive compliment, that Gary is happy for us to represent MFW on YouTube.
“The plan for NT is to just continue to produce content that we’re proud of. Quality over quantity n’ that. Interviews, transfer rumours, podcasts is all you can expect.
“I want to create something where people see a video is posted or we go live and they feel like they can join to have their voice heard. I make these videos to open a discussion about literally anything to do with NCFC. It’s an addiction.
The most important thing to remember, which I typically want people to decipher themselves, is that when you see a video on the channel it’s a sincere product we’re proud of.”
Sam: “We just want to keep providing as much entertaining Norwich City content as we can. It sounds simple but if we can get to a point where a fan comes across a video of ours and knows that they’ll enjoy it and be informed by it that’s job done, whether it’s more interviews, podcasts, match reactions or transfer news. I believe personally that a lot of our content is really, really good and if we can get that out to a larger audience that trusts it to keep coming, I’ll be really pleased.”
So, please keep your eyes peeled and give the lads a ‘subscribe’ on YouTube. There will, of course, be no let-up to the traditional written content on MFW, even over the summer months, but in addition, I’ll also be posting links to all of the lads’ work on here.
Thanks for reading and watching.
On the Ball City.
While you’re here…
In these difficult and trying times, MFW too is struggling. Generating income streams through ad revenue is a challenge across the globe and we have taken our own hit.
As such, we become increasingly reliant on the good people whose generosity extends to supporting us through a monthly Patreon subscription. For these kind folk we are, and will forever be, eternally grateful.
We appreciate times are hard for all of us, and every penny counts, but if any more of you could see fit to help us in this way, we’d be so thankful.
We also recognise that we have not expressed our gratitude sufficiently for the kindness of our existing donors, and so there’ll be some exclusive content on its way by way of a small thank you; something we intend to make a regular feature.
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