I spent an enjoyable morning talking all things football with World Soccer Editor Gavin Hamilton earlier this year. We even talked about the future of sports journalism.
One particular thing he said - which has stayed with me - was when he mused: ‘In ten years’ time half the people working in sports journalism will be in jobs that no-one has yet thought of - let alone created. There is a revolution going on, and not many people realise it yet.’
He was right.
There is a revolution going on.
Certainly in the way lovers of football and football writing obtain their fix.
As much as I respect the proponents, crafts and trade of newspaper journalism, not to mention a huge number of great sportswriters, the fact is professional sports journalism is very much a closed shop.
What the internet did initially was democratise the ability to make your voice heard.
Of course as with any public platform, debate and quality in such an open arena were always going to be of enormously variable content.
Yet what we are seeing now is the next stage: a filtering of contributors who can articulate their views passionately through interesting, original and informative copy supported by hard work and genuine research.
There are armies of like-minded people out there who are currently writing under such conditions - who knows, you may be one of them.
However, what we are also seeing is the emergence of suitable vehicles for such writers in the form of journals and websites emancipated by the glasnost in publishing made possible by the internet.
The Football Pink is one such vehicle.
Produced and edited by Everton supporter Mark Godfrey – who himself has only been blogging for a year - Godfrey invited a myriad of up-and-coming football writers to contribute with the idea of producing something a bit different and varied in the e-fanzine arena.
It is here I must declare a vested interest: I have had an article included in The Football Pink.
On what? Well, you’ll have fork out the princely sum of 99p to find out if you’re remotely interested.
But this isn’t about me - this is about the egalitarian and eclectic nature of an increasing number of publications such as The Football Pink.
In its second issue out now, where else can you find a militant attack on existing football journalism from @putnielsingoal; Machiavellian techniques and strategies employed by want-away players to engineer a move from their current employers; @irishpete67 on the loan system; @clockend5 with a moving piece about the vicious Soviet secret police chief, Lavrenty Beria; @JJWallace22 on the unofficial champions of England; @_Carr16 reporting on the development of ‘The Beautiful Game’ in one of the most fractured and difficult societies on the planet: Afghanistan; and a passionate piece from the outstanding @annalouiseadams on the obstacles she faces as a young aspiring sports journalist - along with a shedload more decent writing and writers.
Of course the ever-excellent forebear and Patron Saint of such a movement When Saturday Comes still leads the way in such a field.
But my point is why shouldn’t there be more such outlets to meet the growing demand for such diverse and original writing? Thanks to the convergence of talent, opportunity, readership & appropriate platforms, such publications are now growing.
Godfrey has big plans for The Pink and is currently developing the project further.
His venture, like a lot of other new writing isn’t sneering, vacuous, football hipster bullshit carried out by wankers toying with sports journalism through a contact of daddy’s before they trot off to the City or PR – nor is it tired old journalism churned out by dried up reporters, who, in WH Auden’s immortal words: ‘sit on your arse for fifty years and hang your hat on a pension’.
No, this is genuine, passionate, informed & intelligent football writing by people who will be the next wave of chroniclers on the sport.
There’s a revolution occurring in new football writing led by such quality as Jonathan Wilson’s The Blizzard, Pickles, Field, Spiel, In Bed With Maradona, The Inside Left, The Daisy Cutter and many others who have tired of the lazy, clichéd ‘phoning it in’ formula and demand a new way of looking at things.
The fact you’re reading this review on one of the best platforms for new writers – owned by the mad alchemist that is James Brown, and edited by one of the sharpest journalists around, Owen Blackhurst - suggests you, dear reader, are with us rather than against us. Hell, even the cricket bible Wisden is producing a fantastic quarterly called The Nightwatchman.
The concept isn’t just restricted to sport either, there are good things occurring in the fields of music, travel and entertainment to name but three, by many talented writers yet to be jaded by being part of the mainstream.
As with all revolutions it’s far too early to tell where our actions will take us.
It may end in tears - we may all crash and burn - but in the meantime I can guarantee what you read from us all will be original, authentic, and impassioned.
It may even convince you to join the revolution and decide to write something too.
If that’s the case then welcome aboard, I can’t wait to read your work.
You can download Issue 2 of The Football Pink for 99p here:
Follow Layth on twitter @laythy29