Nearly four years ago on a Tuesday evening in October, a 14 year old football mad aspiring journalist sat down to write his first post on a new blog called It’s Football Not Soccer. It would be something to pass the time, but probably something that would be neglected within a few weeks. Fast forward to the present day and that 14 year old football mad aspiring journalist is now an 18 year old football mad freelance journalist sitting down to write his 476th, and last, post on a long-running blog called It’s Football Not Soccer. Yes, dear reader, this is the end.
It has been a decision that I have taken a lot of time thinking about. It has been in the back of my mind pretty much since the blog re-launched last summer. The aim of the re-launch was to increase readership with more unique articles and also take the burden off myself of having to write weekly articles that had become boring and repetitive. This worked at first, and I think some of the best posts on the blog have indeed come in the last year – the piece on Westfields FC in the FA Cup or the ‘Where Are They Now?‘ articles on games from years gone by were really fun and interesting to write and also proved to be some of the most popular posts in the blog’s history.
But soon college work began to get in the way again, and combined with my other journalistic commitments, IFNS suffered as a result. I was finding that I had less time to write and even if I did have time I simply didn’t have the motivation. Trust me, there have been plenty of articles that have never been published because there was something not quite right about them – I only want to publish a piece that I am 100% proud of. With less posts comes less views, and the blog’s statistics began to drop off again after an encouraging start to 2016/17.
I trudged my way to the end of the season, and the final nail in the coffin was receiving less votes than ever before in the Premier League awards survey. That to me was a message to me that unfortunately It’s Football Not Soccer had had it’s day. It has been a downfall of my own doing, but not necessarily one that I regret or would go back and change – there was just simply no way I could consistently publish articles on here that I was proud of alongside all my other commitments.
I look back on the four years of writing this blog with immense pride. As mentioned, I thought it would only be a couple of weeks before I gave it up but to keep it going for so long and to create a following and loyal readership has been incredible. The best moments? Covering major international tournaments – the 2014 World Cup, 2015 Women’s World Cup and Euro 2016 – have probably been the most enjoyable and really enhanced my excitement around the month long plethoras of football. The blog has also provided me with a great platform to share/vent my thoughts on a wide range of topics, and as such all the opinion posts – from lambasting England’s Euro 2016 performance to going against the norm to agree with Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester sacking – have also been some of the most pleasurable pieces to write. Finally, it is hard not to mention the interviews that I conducted for the blog and I will be eternally grateful to Lauren Bruton, Gary Johnson, Stephanie Roche, William Troost-Ekong and Jamie Hindhaugh for giving up their time to some eager teenager who doesn’t work for a major media outlet.
As for what’s next, A-Level results permitting I will hopefully be off to Cardiff University in September to study English Literature & Journalism. I am still writing for Reading fansite The Tilehurst End as an assistant editor, and cannot wait for the many opportunities that that role appears to be throwing up. In addition, I am working for It’s Gone Viral, which has allowed me to not only get paid for doing something I love but to also extend my portfolio by not only writing stories about football. Huge thanks to Matt and the team there for giving me that chance. It’s Football Not Soccer as a webpage will not be going anywhere, so in effect will live on as an archive if you do want to go back and read any of the previous 475 articles.
All that is left to say now is a massive thank you to anyone who has read, commented on, voted on, shared, liked or re-tweeted any article on this blog from the last four years. It is that that gave me motivation when I wasn’t really in the mood to write. Follow me on Twitter (@OllyAllen1998) and check out The Tilehurst End and It’s Gone Viral if you haven’t already to keep up to date with all my goings on. This may be the end for now, but who knows what the future may hold.
They think it’s all over.
It is now.