Sometimes you start doing something just because you like it and, before you know it, it spins entirely out of control and starts going in directions you didn’t quite expect. Like the career of Rohan Ricketts, for example. Well, this season has been a bit like that for therealfacup.
From bumbling along to some games in the Extra Preliminary Rounds of the FA Cup we all of a sudden found ourselves writing itv.com’s FA Cup previews and reviews and appearing on the BBC Non League Football Show. A most odd turn of events.
Given the shambolic way we plan things and the sometimes erratic length of time we spend getting things up on the site, a huge amount of what’s happened this year can be put down to other people so we’d like to be both self-indulgent and say thanks. This is going to sound like a Mariah Carey acceptance speech for a bauble we didn’t win, so imagine us weeping while you read this.
Firstly, a huge thanks to those non-league sides who have thoroughly entertained us this year. Secondly, an even bigger thanks to those people who have contributed match reports and comment, most notably:
Graham Yapp of the superb blog Modus Hopper Random for his Sheffield match report;
Simon Head of the Football Pubcast who not only had the miserable task of reporting his team Gillingham getting giant killed by Dover but also asked us to contribute a nomination for the Pubcast’s Man of 2010 Award;
Sam Ross who provided us a match report of Fleetwood Town v Walsall;
Simon Field whose relocation led to his search for a new team to support;
The Elusive Tangerine who has written two (and failed to deliver a third) Postcard from The Premier League from a Blackpool fan’s perspective; and
Matthew Craven, whose illustrations we love and whose copy from the Greenwich Borough v South Park game we have shamefully yet to use thanks to the firm hand of our legal team.
We’d also like to thank Mark Segal, James Appell and Luke McLaughlin at ITV, Caroline Barker at the Non League Show and the accommodating football clubs we’ve watched or spoken to, not least Gary Brigden at Mole Valley SCR, Ian Feeley at Sheffield FC, Adam Dennehy at Redbridge FC, Matt Lawrence at Gillingham and Gerard Mills at Sutton United
As well as our usual stuff we have drifted off piste and away from the FA Cup. The drift started during the World Cup with our tentative and erratic first podcasts when we got in Andy, Bruno, Ryan from The Half-Time Whistle, Nick from Last Seat On The Plane and Kiwi Jiff to ramble on about the lesser lights in the World Cup.
Simon has reported from Argentina and we’ve viewed a Benetton-like game among some lads on the playing fields of New Zealand. We tried to go to Spain to watch a game for the award winning EFW but the game was moved. Thanks also to the brilliant websites that have allowed us to contribute pieces, Equaliser, the72, the Football Pubcast Ipswich fanzine TWTD, a couple of appearances on the Two Footed Tackle podcast and several pieces in the Evening Star by Phil Ham. Not bad for a couple of blokes just going to football.
Last but by no means least, thanks to Dulwich Hamlet for kicking this all off. Visiting Champion Hill inspired therealfacup to begin and that non-league ethos was summed up by this season’s Non League Day. The football bible that is 200% listed us as one of the essential non-league websites to visit on that day and Damon finished his year off by actually playing a proper game with a proper ref at the home of football, Champion Hill, in a blizzard and won 4-3 but was clearly at fault for one of the goals. Oh well.
We’ve met some thoroughly decent chaps from other blogs, too many to mention, although we have bumped into Stu from theballisround and friend of all bloggers Jamie Cutteridge at A LOT of games. What a lovely place the football blogging community is.
Happy New Year to all of the above and everyone who’s had a peek at the blog.