Well that was all a bit odd.
When I posted my previous post about The Sun, I thought I was preaching to the 30 odd people who’ve been viewing my site daily since November. People, according to my stats, who are searching for pictures of Brad Howard, Manchester United’s kit next season, and Football Manager skins.
But within a few hours of writing the damn thing, Tom over at Pitch Invasion had run with the story, and the next thing I know 469 people had viewed my profane witterings. Little did I know that this sort of issue struck a chord with regular bloggers. Bloggers who write insightful, entertaining, and regular blogs. Bloggers who are essentially the polar opposite to me.
The issue appeared to be how a mainstream media source felt they could bully blogs in to bending to their will, and how the writers should feel somehow grateful to be mentioned in the same breath as such a hefty, renowned organ. This, clearly, is nonsense. Read the sport section of The Sun, then read Pitch Invasion, or Twohundredpercent, or any of the other blogs caught up in this unfortunate nonsense, and then tell me who offers the more interesting articles. The beauty of the blog is that they can provide specialist articles that can appeal to a defined demographic (in my case, very specialised and very defined), whereas the mainstream media have to appeal to everyone.
But whatever. I was never about the media and bullying and what have you. I just really, really don’t like The Sun. And while a post like my previous is easy point-scoring, I could never have imagined just how well received it would be. After Pitch Invasion’s article, several other blogs picked up on it, culminating in a piece on The Guardian’s site, and a mention in Football365’s mediawatch. I went from an average daily readership of 30 odd to over 1400 yesterday. 1400! 1400 who I trust will now be following me daily to read all the latest on the blossoming Deegan/Norton partnership, Ten Acres Lane, and probably Coronation Street or something.
It has been treated by some as some sort of victory for all of blogdom in general, and for me specifically. I’d never thought of it like that, but now I have, I like it. I imagine this story will escalate every time I tell it. At some point in the future I’ll regale people with the time Rupert Murdoch and I stripped to our pants and fought each other on a dock, in the rain, for three, painful, violent hours. As I deliver my final blow, knocking Old Rupert to the cold, wet, bloody stone, he looked up at me with his remaining eye, spat out teeth and blood, and said “You win, Chris. I’ll remove you from our sweepstake.” When in fact what happened was I received a very prompt, very polite email apologising for including me without permission, and telling me I had been removed. Which is great, really. All I ever wanted.
There’s one final irony here. The last time my blog was anywhere near this popular was in the midst of Bob Blackburn’s hilarious insistence that he’d taken Bradford Park Avenue on a preseason tour of Spain. I knew different, and said so on this blog, before going to the Bradford Telegraph and Argus with the story. It got picked up from there by the mainstream media, and the story ended up being published, among others, by… The Sun. I’m not sure what, if anything, that proves, but then this blog has never really been about incisive analysis.
On May 21st I received an email from The Sun. I don’t like receiving emails from The Sun, as I hate pretty much everything about the ‘paper. It is, as far as I’m concerned, an odious, scare-mongering, right-wing shit-rag. It panders to the worst aspects of British society, mixing low-brow, sensationalist twaddle, with a propensity to whip the nation into a state of frenzied fury over a story that is based almost entirely on supposition at best, and lies at worst.
It’ll surprise no one that the recent palaver caused by the police apparently banning England shirts in city centre pubs was a load of old bollocks. A load of old bollocks made up by The Sun. Tabloid Watch unravelled the story, as it has done many others. Just click on ‘Sun‘ in their tags section to see what I’m on about in more detail.
So yeah. I got an email from The Sun. It basically said that I was to be involved in some sort of sweepstake, and that my blog would receive loads of coverage through The Sun’s website, and Facebook page. And how amazing would that be? The fella who sent me the email signed off by saying, “Let me know your thoughts! I know The Sun isn’t everyone’s cup of tea to say the least but hopefully this will be a bit of fun.” Which is one hell of an understatement.
I ignored this email, hoping that if I didn’t respond, I wouldn’t be involved in all this savage wankery. But sadly I am. My blog is now apparently Chile, and The Sun have publicised this site in a YouTube clip and on their website. I received another email from them yesterday asking for a little coverage of all this on my blog. So here you go:
I want to make it abundantly clear to everyone: I have nothing to do with this. I want nothing to do with this. And I am furious that the good(ish) name of my little blog, that ceased to be a concern some six months ago, is being used by the worst of all tabloids as some fucking publicity machine for their horrendous sweepstake generating iPhone app, and their even more horrendous newspaper. As I posted on Facebook when all this started, “Yeah, sure, I’ll be part of your World Cup blogging network.I’ll sign up the day you explain how it took 15 years to apologise for your Hillsborough coverage. The day you aren’t part of Murdoch’s News International empire. And the day you aren’t a bunch of odious, scare-mongering, right-wing cretins”.
Finally, it disappoints me, but perhaps doesn’t surprise me, that other blogs run by reds (*cough*therepublikofmancunia*cough*) aren’t just involved in this, but are actively promoting it. Getting in bed with The Sun? I mean, Jesus. For fuck’s sake.