Your Team In The Media: 16 Conclusions

Johnny and Al's 'your team in the media' feature has sadly come to an end, but the pair have banged their heads together to find out what they've learned. Here are 16 conclusions...

Last Updated: 22/11/13 at 09:36 Post Comment

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We've enjoyed doing our 'your club in the media' series over the last 20 weeks, and thanks a lot for your comments, tweets and emails. We aimed to look at the stereotypes, perceptions and agendas that dominate coverage of each team in the media - so what have we learned, then?

1) That most media coverage is dedicated to a small handful of clubs which, in a self-fulfilling circle, seems to guarantee that the small handful of clubs becomes ever more popular, at the expense of clubs who are more local to supporters.

2) Younger people (and the feedback we've had over the last 20 weeks bears this out) are more likely to support the bigger teams. Do they gravitate towards the bigger teams, the teams that they see getting all the attention? Could we have a situation in 50 years where all-but a handful of clubs have ceased to exist?

3) That newspapers, TV and websites are contributing to this by focusing more and more on stories about the same few clubs and players. Could this sort of click-chasing, where the only value is in the numbers, contribute to the death of some clubs? Would big media actually just prefer a system where there were only 10 clubs and they all played each other constantly?

4) The chance of people under the age of 30 from outside the UK being fans of any of the teams who have not been big in the Sky era is virtually nil.

5) The most paranoid fans are more likely to support the biggest few teams, perceiving injustice and media bias at every turn, while seemingly being unaware to grasp the fact that their favourites get far more comprehensive and favourable coverage than most. It isn't just that they have more fans, and thus have more nutters. There is something about these bigger, constantly covered teams that attracts the new-fan keyboard hardman.

6) But these paranoiacs are a small minority. A bloody noisy and over-represented small minority, but a small minority nevertheless. And we should all take heart from that.

7) That many readers were really looking forward to the paranoid over-reactions of fans of a couple of clubs. Let's be honest and name names: the glee of anticipation to the response of Liverpool and Manchester United fans to our feature was especially noteworthy. It seems that mocking the hysteria of fans of these two clubs has become a little online football subculture in its own right.

8) That the majority of fans are actually capable of taking a bit of ribbing and criticism without going ballistic, and that includes the aforementioned big two.

9) That in this age of celebrity, every club has fans making extraordinary claims for a famous supporter. We especially liked the idea of Hull City's Omar Sharif, diehard Chelsea fan Bill Clinton ("Blue is the colour...of your jizzy dress?), A-Ha's Morten Harket being a Stoke fan since boyhood and, 'appy 'ammer Her Majesty The Queen.

10) That being a British manager guarantees you a smoother ride from the media for longer than a foreigner, but not forever. Overseas managers are quickly painted as exotic and brilliant or slightly crazy outsiders who don't understand "our" ways.

11) That the headlines we made up as jokes are often less weird or silly than real ones.

12) That most of us can sum up in just a few sentences what other clubs represent or mean to us, and that every team in the Premier League has some sort of unique quirk or identity that springs to mind without any delay...with the exception of Southampton. Sorry again, Saints. Please set us straight if you would like to.

13) That there is a clich├ęd, stereotypical fan for every club who most fans of that club will recognise. If you can't recognise that fan, it's probably you.

14) That outside the top clubs, the distance you are from London is in inverse proportion to how interested some national journalists and media outlets are in your club.

15) That the most powerful get the easiest rides, both individual managers and clubs as sporting institutions, and that there is still a lot to be said for being a big hard scary bastard in the flesh if you want to get hacks to get off your case.

16) That Norwich fans seemed to find it hardest to understand the point of what we were trying to do.

John Nicholson and Alan Tyers

See extracts from Alan's new book 'Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects' here.

Read Johnny's book, 'The Meat Fix' here

Alan on The Ashes and more here.

Follow Alan on Twitter here or Johnny here.

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