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By Sam Stone.

The digital age has seen content that football fans digest change dramatically. Fan’s experiences have developed from merely attending a game and buying a weekly program to now being involved with their club 24/7. 

Forums, blogs, vlogs and podcasts, all led by fans, have added a new and rich dimension to the overall experience. Entertaining, relatable, accessible and humorous content is often produced, in contrast to the more serious mainstream media.

There is a demand for information from fans. A Copa90 study found that 50% of 16-24-year-olds were looking for content regarding their club three days before and two days after a fixture.

Fan led media is often free from the restrictions that confine more mainstream outlets. Hugh Bunce, who runs a popular podcast, believes this is an important reason why this medium is popular: “The rise of fan media is something that has been happening for a while in sport in the UK.

“Fan media comes straight from the fans who do not have any ties or commitments to the clubs they passionately follow.

“This leads to true independent reporting of the team, without the politics that comes through access to the club.”

Hugh added: “This allows fan media to write stories that have their fingers on the pulses for the fans, for example, if the manager is under pressure with the fans, they can call it out.

“Traditional media will tend to stay neutral, which doesn’t reflect what fans are seeing on the pitch.”

However, this adverse honesty can have its issues. The prime example being Arsenal Fan TV, who have recently received lots of criticism from other Arsenal fans over there portrayal of the club. 

Tom Chappell, the founder of Fournilwrittenalloverit, a popular Portsmouth FC vlog, raises some interesting points on why AFTV has been under scrutiny in recent weeks.

Tom interviewing Portsmouth CEO Mark Catlin for his YouTube channel (Picture with permission from Tom Chappell)

The opposing argument to this is that it makes more entertaining and gripping content for fans to engage with. 

Jake Smith, host of Pompey Live, the match day radio show for Portsmouth FC believes this particular medium provides a comfortable for fans to readily express their views: “In my opinion, theses podcasts and fan-run shows work better than the, arguably more professional programmes due to the sheer emotion and honesty involved.

Jack hosting his weekly football hour on Express FM. (Picture with permission from Jake Smith)

“Fans want nothing but the best for their team so when you get a clash of opinion, it’s more interesting to hear the debate.”

I also spoke to Tom from Fournilwrittenalloverit about how he looks to composes his content: “Fan led media has to be different, it has to look to be, fun, relatable, less-serious and also controversial.

Below are some of key analytics from the channel.

“I will always look to edit my videos with this in mind, so there is a good balance between humour and serious content about the football,” said Tom.

“The most important thing is that it adds to the fans experiences and gives them more information about our club.”

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June 2024