Neil is joined in the tower by John Gibbons, Steve Graves and The Times Football Editor Tony Evans to discuss this weekend’s visit of Sam Allardyce’s West Ham and the possible return of Joe Cole. In a week that saw the despicable Kelvin MacKenzie somehow get another gig they’ll also tell “The Truth” about him as much as radio broadcasting rules allow.
Music this week from Deekline & Ed Solo (@thesubsound) as well as one of TAW’s Sound City headliners, Silent Sleep (@silentsleepish).
Direct link to CITYTALK: HAMMER TIME
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Another great listen but I have to take issue with the whole ‘the times website is great while the guardian’s is awful’ debate. While I have a huge amount of admiration for the times’ football coverage and what they do online, it is somewhat unfair to compare their operation to the guardian’s.
The guardian’s sport website was established before most newspapers had even given a second thought to doing stuff online and, back then, established itself as a quirky, left-field space where, in general, football was covered in humerous fashion (ie the fiver) or reflected on in historical terms (ie joy of six). Then about five years ago the website fully integregrated with the newspaper and so alongside all the long-established, very popular ‘quirky’ stuff came all the regular stuff you can read in the paper (match reports, features, interviews etc).
The guardian’s website is very unique then to most others given its long-established ‘brand’ (an awful, word I know) and while I agree with John Gibbons that the ‘Brendan Rodgers-David Brent’ quiz was a little silly, particularly given it had appeared in the huff post weeks go, it is the type of stuff the guardian does and has been doing for over a decade. It is should also be pointed out that there were other such quizzes (ie Roy Keane vs tony soprano) and overall it’s harsh to say there is no considered, ‘proper’ stuff on there too, as there is. Also, it was the guardian which pretty much invented things like minute-by-minute blogs and webchats, which most other papers have copied since.
As said, I have huge respect for the times, but I also have huge admiration for what the guardian does. And yes, I do work for them, but I was a fan even before I joined.
Fantastic bobby chariot quote from Mr Evans, there!!
Ban golf? Jesus! You’ve obviously never been on the dole. When I was it was the only thing that kept me sane.
The Guardian has some excellent writers, yourself included, but I’m weary and wary of shock columnists like, well, it’s the obvious who I mean. I found the Guardian podcast unlistenable after a while just because of the need to ‘get Barry to say something controversial’ and its reliance on in-jokes and puns. Sometimes I just want to know what happens in a game.
I worked there too and have a mate who still works on the web stuff now but it all went very cartoon before I gave up on it.
I followed BG for a while and he called me an idiot for agreeing with something he said. He just didn’t understand my point and went for his default position of abuse. That’s fine on a forum but for a quality national newspaper? Nah. Leave that to Talksport.
Anyway, a laugh’s a laugh but it got in the way of the game. Too wacky.
Fair points but In a way, you’ve answered my point – you say stuff like that is not right for a quality newspaper but, as I said, all that stuff existed separately from the newspaper, and then we integrated and perhaps the lines have become blurred. No doubt it is odd for readers to see a piece from David conn analysing hull city’s accounts alongside a collection of YouTube clips showing goalkeepers falling over. That is perhaps something we should look into – separate the quirk stuff from the serious stuff.
Regarding football weekly, I don’t listen to it to be honest so can’t comment. As far as barry is concerned, no doubt he can be a difficult so and so, but he’s also a really nice fella. I’ll tell him to apologise to you!
The Guardian debate’s an interesting one. I’ve fallen out with it more times than I’ve had hot dinners (loads) but keep coming back. The last was over a writer’s use of the United fans’ ‘outraged by everything and ashamed of nothing’ line, which was… actually, give me a minute…
…OK, think I’m alright now. It’s as a critical friend that I was trying to speak on the show, and maybe not elucidating that as well as Gibbo did. It’s still the site I most often go to when I get a spare minute at work and there is, as has been said, lots of good writing on there.
Sachin, I agree the Guardian basically reshaped the idea of a newspaper’s football website but I’m not sure it can any longer be described as unique. Several others have aped the format, for better or worse, and it does just feel a bit like some of the online-specific stuff hasn’t stayed ahead (I stress ahead) of what others are doing. The Fiver, the Rumour Mill, the use of the words ‘fitba’ and ‘knack’ might just be a bit past their sell-by date.
Conversely, the Times has been driven by the paywall model to focus more on insight than ephemera. I guess there’s only so much you can derive from finding out whether Graeme Swann prefers cheese or chocolate, and how that differs from Kelly Smith’s answer to the same question.
Neil made a good point about the way much of the media reported United bringing in acoustic engineers – not as a reason to look more closely at the nature of support, modern stadia, pricing structures etc, but as something to fuel the endless zero-sum game that is the online ‘debate’ between fans of rival clubs. That’s what the Rodgers/Brent quiz seems to have been for – to boost hits from among the snidiest, least inquisitive, fundamentally least interesting football fans out there. And as media outlets’ content is more than ever shaped by what they believe their readers want, that seems like a bad thing in the long run.
Just to echo a point Steve made, I am most harsh on The Guardian because my expectations of it are highest. It’s tough love I guess.
But it is genuinely frustrating that a couple of the writers there seem to hate football now. Just go and do something else lads. Its fine.
Twitter misses you Sachin x
All fair points lads and yes, perhaps the Guardian does give football too many sideway glances and doesn’t look ahead straight enough (im not sure if that even makes sense). also, there is perhaps too much pandering for ‘hits’ – as Gibbo said, it’s not exactly a good thing that you can jump straight to comments on all our pieces – read the damn thing first!
as said, the site has it’s faults, but i also strongly believe that it has many good points (the minute-by-minutes and over-by-overs are still the best around) and, to stress, there is still very good, serious writing there, from the likes of david conn, don mccrae, paul rees, vic marks, dominic fifield, andy hunter and, yes, danny taylor.
can i also stress that the majority of people who work here are really, really good people. it genuinely saddens me that post-suarez/evra, many liverpool fans have grown to believe that the guardian’s sports department is made up of a load of scouse-hating, semi-united fans. honestly not the case. anyway, that’s my piece.
twitter may miss me John but I miss you. so very, very much xx
I just think there are a number of people who are writing about football who don’t like football. There’s tons of snark on the website, snark in the mbms, snark in the opinion pieces, snark in the features, snark on the podcast. I’m long past Suarez, all in favour of football. There is nowhere near as much snark in the coverage of any other sport which is almost uniformly excellent.
Someone said to me recently it has improved. Maybe I’ll go back but seeing the Brent nonsense just damages it again. It’s the nasty party of football websites.
Looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks. Shame we will only get to carry this on over mid-morning water.