Way back on the 5th of June I announced that I was taking a little break from blogging until the completion of Emirates Cup. At the time I felt I needed to take some pressure off and have a bit of mental rest for while, although I admit I posted quite a bit over the past couple of months, I can now confirm that I am well and truly back on a day-to-day basis for what should be a very exciting 2009/10 season.
As today is the official re-launch, I wanted to take some time to inform everyone of my plans for the season ahead as well as the changes that have been made to allow these plans. I am well aware that we, as humans, are somewhat scared of change so before I do run through through these changes I want to make it very clear that every single one of them I have made are with the direct goal of improving the quality of the blog and the growth of the community who make it so successful.
As always, I’m very interested in what people think – in this case particularly those who are regular readers or subscribers and have been following the blog for a while – so be sure give me your opinions on the changes via the comments. Thanks.
Change #1 – Spanish Fry has left the building
When I started blogging about Arsenal just under two-and-a-half years ago at the age of 21 I had very little idea of where it would take me or what sort of long-term impact it would have on my life. But now, going into what will be the third season of writing about Arsenal I can safely say that the impact has been huge.
The Arsenal FC Blog has become a daily commitment (and a thoroughly enjoyable one at that!) while I will be launching my second blog (Football Nomad – a football-focused travel blog) in just under a month. I have begun to pursue blogging and related activities with the intention of making a full-time career out of it and as a result, have decided to shed the pseudonym of Spanish Fry for my real name. Using my actual name means that journalists will take me more seriously (I hope) and my mum’s friends will actually believe her when she tells them what her son does for a living. So here goes…
My name is Andrew Weber and I am the creator, editor and head writer of the Arsenal FC Blog. I’m 23 years old, have an undergraduate in Psychology and currently work four days a week in Community Mental Health. As well as football, travel and psychology, I like good music (Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Arctic Monkeys and Yeah Yeah Yeahs amongst many, many others) and Johan Djourou. I’m from sunny Brisbane all the way down in sunny Australia and ‘yes’, that bearded, scruffy man in the photo on the left is me.
I have to say I’ve enjoyed being Spanish Fry for this long – but it had to end sometime and now is as good as any. As a result of the change I look forward to many insults about being related to Andrew Lloyd Webber as well as continual confusion when readers call me ‘AW’ in the comments and start mixing me up with Arsene Wenger.
Change #2 – Arsenal FC Blog joins Football Media
It gives me great pleasure to say that the Arsenal FC Blog has recently become part of the Football Media network. FM is a brilliant initiate which seeks to build communities and pool resources between football-focused blogs to allow partners to make big improvements on their blog. In the case of the Arsenal FC Blog, FM will be providing contacts (such as journalists and other bloggers) and networking opportunities as well as promotional and technical assistance with managing the blog.
A few examples of the way that FM will benefit this blog are (1) providing inside information regarding potential transfers, (2) providing potential guests for the Arsenal FC Weekly podcast, perhaps rival supporters or even respectable journalists and (3) running a Fantasy Football competition for all partners and their readers with some really great prizes on offer (think digital cameras, football kits, even trips to Premier League games).
In short, it was a privilege to be asked to join the network and I am very excited about FM’s potential of assisting in making this blog a more interesting and informative Arsenal source going forward.
Change #3 – Weekend posts to return
One of the biggest changes for the blog will be the return of 7-day-a-week posting and the more consistent structure of the daily posts. Mondays will contain full match reports as well as the Arsenal FC Weekly podcast; Tuesdays will be for weekly guest posts; Wednesdays and Thursdays will be typical news posts or midweek match reports while Fridays will include detailed match previews as well as semi-regular preview podcasts when there is an important game.
The biggest change will of course be the weekends: Saturdays will include any late team news as well as a series of links to good articles I’ve read throughout the week while Sundays will simply include Video Highlights of the weekend games. I tossed up the idea of providing match reports the day after a game (usually Sunday) but I typically like to take some time out to analyse a game before I speak about it, so in that regard I think keeping reports until Monday works well.
Change #4 – Arsenal FC Weekly podcasts to be bigger, better
The Arsenal FC Weekly podcast – of which I released three episodes of towards the end of last season (including a season review) – will become a consistently weekly feature in 09/10. Each podcast will be around 20-25 minutes long discuss the week all things Arsenal with my brother (Panda Bear) and other appropriate guests (readers of the blog, opposition fans, journalists).
I want to make the podcast as community-focused as possible this year – which means I’ll be looking to speak with regular readers as much as possible as well as discussing various comments and emails that people send in throughout the year. The first podcast of the season will be published on the blog next Monday and will include a full preview of the 09/10 season as well as an interview with a very special guest.
Change #5 – Community changes
The thing that I believe sets the Arsenal FC Blog apart from most of the other football blogs online is the quality of the community that has developed. I’m proud to say that the community on this blog is a completely international one where readers from every corner of the world are allowed to give their opinion without any fear of being unfairly criticised. The respect that people show on the Arsenal FC Blog is immense and I sincerely hope that it stays the same way this season and beyond.
Community is perhaps the most important aspect of this blog and I will be looking to grow things not only online, but offline as well in 09/10. Being from Australia I am going to be actively participating with Arsenal Australia to promote game day (night or early morning over here!) events around the country for Aussie supporters via the Arsenal FC Blog’s Facebook Fan page. I strongly encourage supporters who are hosting events around the world – be it Malaysia, France or Kenya – to get in touch with me and use this page to promote the event and help grow the worldwide Arsenal community.
Additionally, if you ever want to chat to me one-on-one via Facebook or Twitter you can do so by adding/following me. I’ll still go by the name Spanish Fry on these accounts to avoid mix-ups with my personal account but I’m always delighted to speak with Arsenal fans from all over the globe. Just click the Facebook/Twitter links above to get in touch.
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And that’s it really. Before I go I just want to reiterate how much I enjoy running the Arsenal FC blog and how much I enjoy the interactions I get to have with you guys, the readers, both via the comments on the blog and direct conversations via Twitter and Facebook. All your kind words and support over the past couple of years has been most appreciated and I sincerely hope things will only get better in 09/10 and beyond.
PS. There will be a more football-focused post in a couple of hours. I’ll be talking about the Emirates Cup and various transfer possibilities so stay tuned.
Let me know about the Arsenal FC Blog’s re-launch and changes by leaving a comment.