By Helena Wang
Since being founded in the summer of 2009, Back Page Football has been a platform for fans from all over the world to produce high quality writing about their perspectives on the beautiful game of football. Created by Irish student Kevin Coleman, in partnership with Australian based journalist Neil Sherwin and web designer Ollie Kavanagh, Back Page Football has upheld its goal of uniting football fans to share in the multifaceted football content that is provided.
While Coleman was the man behind the idea of Back Page Football, what makes this blog unique is that he wants any fan who is passionate about football to share their opinions and analyses of the game. In fact, the blog has a tab welcoming anyone who has an interest in writing about football to contribute to the blog. With an ever-strengthening core team of columnists who write for the site, Back Page Football is always looking for new writers to broaden their scope.
With such an immense group of quality writers, it is no wonder that Back Page Football’s content reflects that diversity. It does not focus specifically on the biggest football leagues or the most popular national teams – instead the latest articles on the page include topics ranging from Russian football’s financial instability to Massimo Cellino’s ownership over Leeds United to an analysis on Marseille’s attack. Such global articles are intended to both welcome newcomers to the sport, and also widen the scope of the game for those dedicated to the game.
For the casual fans of football, Back Page Football is a great way to learn about some of the great current footballers. One of their top features is the list, The Top 50 Players In the World, which is updated yearly. This very detailed list gives an in-depth analysis on the players’ current and past accomplishments, which is a great read for newcomers who want to digest some knowledge on the best footballers. Additionally, the open platform of the site is a great way for newcomers to post articles themselves about topics they would like to learn more about.
What Back Page Football does really well is provide a genuinely global outlook on the game. For football fans who are dedicated to their team in the English Premier League or westerners who religiously root for their national team, Back Page Football is a great place to expand their football horizons. For instance, the blog is currently keeping up to date with the 2015 Asian Cup and providing interesting points about what is happening during the 2015 African Cup of Nations. Additionally, Back Page Football has broken down their coverage by national leagues. While the core of their writings focuses on the English, Italian and Spanish leagues, they also look at the Australian, Scottish and American leagues.
Having such a diverse demographic of fans allows Back Page Football to explore the sport in many different angles. Not only do they analyze the different teams’, players’ and coaches’ abilities, they also look at the sport from political, cultural and economic standpoints. One article that I found particularly interesting was called, “Solving the Income Gap in US Soccer”. This article delves into the reason why the US Soccer team, despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars to develop a soccer team, can still struggle to win against smaller, poorer countries such as Panama and Guatemala. It seems that soccer in the US is, institutionally, not the same as soccer elsewhere – it is not built on the streets of the US or in the industrial parks. Rather, one must have the means to afford the equipment and private trainers to become a recognized player in the US. This notion of only those who can afford training can become successful US soccer players then leads to a game of exclusion on the youth level. This article is a great example of how Back Page Football delves into some of the deeper political and economic debates surrounding the sport. Another great example of Back Page Football looking at the sport from a different perspective is this podcast on the economic value of the Capital One Cup:
When it comes to multimedia utilization, Back Page Football is at the forefront. One of the site’s primary features, the Hold The Back Page podcast, has been investigating football from a variety of perspectives since 2010. The podcast’s topics range from debates of who is the best player in the world to interviews with current and former players to analyses of football clubs and tactics. Led under the guidance of Setanta Sports’ Tom Fox and co-editor Neil Sherwin, Hold The Back Page is a great feature of the blog that provides something truly enlightening for its listeners.
Overall, Back Page Football is a football blog that produces a wide and unique variety of contents that ranges from analysis, to news, to economic discussions to culture and more. One of the site’s greatest assets is its open platform set-up, which allows the blog to achieve its mission – provide a space for football fans to write high quality content about the beautiful game from a place where their work can be discussed and debated. While there may not be dissertations about a specific team’s playing abilities or groundbreaking reporting on a manager’s tactics, Back Page Football brings to light some of the institutional issues underlying this beautiful sport. It is a blog where casual fans can learn more about a specific team or player, and where dedicated fans can expand their football worldview. With its array of interesting and distinct articles that captures the global scope of the game, Back Page Football is a blog that is truly interested in developing the minds of football fans.