As you read this, I’ll probably be in a queue at Silverstone. For once, this is being written on a Saturday morning and not a Sunday so forgive me for not including any references to the friendly at King’s Lynn.
For what it’s worth, I predict a relatively gentle but leg-weary 3-1 win with goals from Jon Rowe, Ashley Barnes, and an OG, with Lynn having taken an early lead following some defensive uncertainty.
Feel free to give me a mark out of ten for accuracy 😊
So, minus any more Lynn references, I thought it may be worth having a catch-up and, perhaps, evaluating what MyFootballWriter stands for, especially in light of some recent criticism.
I’ve not been here for the whole journey, far from it. For that, look no further than our site’s owner, Rick Waghorn, who kick-started the whole thing back in 2007 with the intention of offering some Norwich City news and views from an angle that was neither official nor from the only official local news outlet, Archant.
Back in 2007, MFW was in a field of one, and in those early days, Rick was able to use his press accreditation to attend away games as he had done in his time at Archant, As a result, he was able to fill these pages with, among other things, match reports and post-match interviews.
Alongside Rick in those early years was Kevin O’Gorman, who was in charge of the site’s advertising and who was, in fact, the conduit to me being given a shot as an MFW columnist.
We eventually veered away from Rick’s ‘live’ coverage, at least on a regular basis, although over the last two seasons, the magic of the Internet has enabled one of the team’s globetrotters, James Colman, to deliver us match reports in the traditional style.
Many thanks, James.
Contributors in the early years, in addition to Rick, included some familiar names; among them Malcolm Robertson, Mick Dennis, Chris Goreham, Kevin Baldwin, and Charlie Wyett.
The focus was always on quality writing – in the case of Kev, literally award-winning – and content that would inform, entertain, offer food for thought etc, and, to be honest, we’ve never intended to stray from that ethos.
For my own part, I came aboard in the spring of 2012. In the year previous I’d made the transition from terrible accountant to rookie writer, and as a result of a speculative but fortuitously-timed email and a successful trial piece, Rick, with Kev O’s help, gave me the green light.
Thank you, Rick. You too, Kev.
Within a year, and with other projects taking up more of Rick’s time, I was handed the editorial reins and here I’ve been ever since.
(On that basis, and it had not even occurred to me, I’ve been at the tiller for a decade although it feels nothing of the sort – confirmation that as you reach your 50s, time does officially pass quicker!)
Along the way, there have been many folks worthy of a thank you – some for their practical help, others for their invaluable advice – but someone who rarely gets a mention but should is Neil Mason, who was the behind-the-scenes technical expert for the first decade of our existence and who helped me out of many-a-muddle.
It was upon my grasping of the editorial reins that we took the decision to expand the writing team with the long-term aim of providing readers with a minimum of one piece of fresh content per day.
That aim is still there, albeit not something I’m always able to deliver, but during the period mentioned above a new group of writers came aboard. First through the door was Ed Couzens-Lake who was soon followed by Stewart Lewis.
Many others came and went in the years that followed but I mention those two specifically because both remain valued members of the team to this day. Mick D too remains a valued team member and has the distinction of being the only writer to endure from 2007 to 2023.
Thank you all – Ed, hope that recovery continues apace.
In terms of MFW’s aesthetics, it underwent a refresh in the summer of 2017, and not just because it had the look of a website built in the mid-Noughties. It was also because the infrastructure behind the front face was creaking under the pressure of being over a decade old.
In a digital world, we were still operating in analogue, and so it was to the brilliant people of Brandex we turned. Led by their founder and managing director, Stuart Bartram, and in consultation with Rick, they delivered us something that not only looked the part but which also gave us a solid base from which to operate.
Stuart has stayed with us ever since and provides priceless support at every turn.
Cheers ol’ friend.
Along the way, several other Norwich City-related fan sites have entered the fray, all of whom have come at it from slightly different angles to MFW; some of whom have come and gone (like the brilliant Little Yellow Bird Project), and some who are still with us, like Talk Norwich City and Along Come Norwich.
And while the access we enjoyed to individuals within the football club has now dried up – probably my fault (more on that later) – for three seasons we, TNC and ACN, were permitted to get closer to the club than almost any other football fan sites in the country; a process started by the Club’s former Director of Communication, Joe Ferrari.
We were grateful and hopefully did the opportunity justice, which included the time Connor Southwell and Ben Ambrose met Stuart Webber at Colney and produced that fine interview that can still be viewed on the Norwich Talk YouTube channel.
Cheers, lads. You too, Joe.
Many writers have come and gone en route from 2007 to 2023, some of them very talented – thanks to each and every one – and it’s a huge source of pride for us to see talented youngsters use MFW as a stepping stone into the world of sports journalism.
I talk specifically of Connor and Sam Seaman, both of whom now perform key roles in the Pink Un’s City coverage, and who without fail provide me with the warm glow of a proud uncle when they appear either on video or in print.
At the other end of the experience scale (he’ll not mind me saying) is Martin Penney, to whom I’m very grateful indeed.
Without Martin’s unswerving support, this job would be almost impossible, not least for the fact he’s as solid as a rock in providing his editor with a Monday piece and any pieces in between that his editor requests.
Those who can commit to a weekly piece and, better still, a piece on the same day each week are an editor’s dream; hence my delight that young Will Grant has committed to providing us with an academy update every Thursday next season.
Martin & Will, I salute you.
And finally… on the subject of thank yous, the good folk who, through Patreon, are kind enough to contribute on a monthly basis to the running costs of MFW are heroes – no more, no less. Without them, we’d not exist. Simples.
Good people… we thank you.
So that just about brings us up to date and, finally, on to the reason why I felt the need – aside from the thank yous – to write this piece in the first place.
Over the course of the last two Norwich City seasons, which even the optimists must admit have been underwhelming, MFW has been viewed by some as a source of nothing more than moans and groans.
I know this. I’m told so regularly. But that’s never been our intention, nor will it ever be.
From my perspective as editor, and as guided by Rick, our raison d’être is still to provide an alternative platform, beyond the official ones, for those who feel passionately about Norwich City and who wish to express those opinions in nicely-written prose.
There has never been and never will be, any editorial steer on the tone or direction of content. The writers are not chosen because of their views but because of their ability to express them. Plus, the offer of a guest blog is always there… for everyone.
The tone over the last two seasons has only tended to veer toward the negative because of what has occurred on the pitch. For some of us, this has been amplified by things that have or haven’t happened off the pitch, while for others what happens off the pitch is either of no consequence or is okay.
And that’s fine.
When, or if, the tide turns and in the cyclical world of football Norwich City starts to flourish again, then the writing will, I’m 100 percent certain, reflect that.
On a personal level, I’ve taken a reasonably polite and articulate kicking for a piece I wrote nine days ago entitled, Embracing difference is good. Doing so because you have no choice… less so.
But, again, it was merely a personal view on what I believed to be some odd comments on Delia and Michael’s stewardship of our club, and my ongoing frustration with said stewardship.
It’s a view I’ve held for the past decade and which I have expressed regularly and (hopefully) consistently, but for some it appeared one moan too many. As a direct result, I reiterated the offer to those who disagreed to articulate the counter-argument in 800-1000 words.
No takers so far.
But that piece didn’t reflect the official line of MFW, nor was it confirmation that MFW is now officially an anti-NCFC mouthpiece. Nothing could be further from the truth. We all desperately want our club to get its house in order and then flourish, despite some appearing to believe otherwise
And when/if it does, even we old moaners will give credit where it is due – both on and off the pitch.
Believe it or not, we’d love nothing more.
Anyway… one last thank you. And that’s to you.
Without you’d we’d not be here. We’ll never take you for granted.
On the Ball City.