Named after the young Manchester United teams of the late 1940s and 1950s that played under legendary United manager Matt Busby, “The Busby Babe” is a blog centered around all things Manchester United. It focuses on news surrounding transfers, including rumors, but also delves into game recaps and some general coverage of European soccer as a whole. The MUFC match summaries are usually focused solely on United’s successes and shortcomings and are always teeming with opinion (Save for a couple of reasonable performances, this is a match United will want to quickly forget.)
Who is contributing?
Because The Busby Babe is hosted on SBNation.com, all writers are simply users on the website. There is a main blog that has posts made by users who have been named editors and staff writers. Two sections of the website, titled Fanposts and Fanshots, are areas of the site where any SBNation member can post. The Fanposts section is just like a traditional message board, while the Fanshots one is focused on multimedia. Here, members can post links to videos on YouTube or pictures from the internet, and they are shown on a live feed, much like one would see on Twitter or Facebook.
Who is being targeted?
The target audience of the blog can be best described in the title of its homepage: “For Manchester United Fans.” From my brief sampling of “The Busby Babe,” it is clear that the writing style is directed toward everyday, pub-going fans. The blog is written in a casual tone, which is a welcome changeup from the usual dry, fact-centered tone that usually accompanies articles about sports news. I really enjoyed Andi Thomas’s piece about the possibility of Lionel Messi being transferred to United, and it is a good example of this informal nature.
In the first paragraph of the article, akin to stage directions, Thomas writes out some of his physical actions as he was composing the piece. For instance, he mentions, “There’s still — checks calendar — nearly two weeks of this nonsense [mid-season transfer window] to go, friends.” Thomas also displays the light nature of the blog as he emphasizes the significance of Adidas helping United buyout Messi’s contract with Barca: “they [Adidas] are willing to assist United in a bid for the player, even up to the extent of his TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILLION EUROS YES TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILLION EUROS FOR A FOOTBALLER ALRIGHT HE’S REALLY GOOD AND THE WORLD IS A STUPID PLACE AND ALL BUT STILL, REALLY, COME ON NOW release clause.”
What is the angle of The Busby Babe?
The Busby Babe is focused on soccer news as it pertains to Manchester United. Most posts are centered on Manchester United itself and its matches and transfer rumors, but sometimes the writers will focus on possible upcoming opponents, for instance, that the Red Devils may compete against if they win their next match.
Andi Thomas writes about United’s FA Cup fifth round draw, if they were to defeat fourth tier team Cambridge United, with whom they recently drew. She gives a brief introduction of the two teams, which are essentially equivalent to minor league teams in baseball, and then swings focus back to United and reports when the second leg of the MUFC-Cambridge contest will take place.
The tone of many of the blogs that are published on The Busby Babe are that of a diehard supporter. Writers are purposely straying from the usual unbiased nature of sports reporters and giving perspective that one could receive sitting at a pub in the heart of Manchester or in the stands of Old Trafford during a match.
The title of Andi Thomas’ post surrounding United manager’s Louis Van Gaal’s reluctance to play a 4-4-2 formation is “We see you Louis, twitchin’ that ass.” Thomas’ title comes from a van Gaal quote that describes his uneasiness, or “twitching of his ass,” regarding playing a 4-4-2 “because we [the team] were out of balance.” As a diehard Cameron Crazie, I can certainly relate to this tone, as I too have yelled in the direction of Coach (1)K as if he can actually hear what I am recommending. Though not a diehard Reds fan, I certainly consider them my favorite team, and reading a piece that sounds like it could have been a conversation in a pub makes me interested in what the writer has to say.
What is the contribution of “The Busby Babe” to the larger conversation about soccer?
Manchester United is one of the most renowned soccer clubs in the world. Numerous online resources regard them as among the top 5 teams in history, and they are the second richest sports franchise in the world, trailing only Barcelona (The Guardian). “The Busby Babe” gives the soccer community a United fan’s perspective of the squad. Especially because they are arguably the most popular team in the world’s most popular league, many reporters cover the Red Devils, but none can give the unique point of view like that of contributors Andi Thomas and Jack Sargeant. Their combination of passion for United and knowledge of soccer gives them a unique way by which every move of United can be scrutinized and (more often than not) praised.