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Media Calling!

Media Calling!
Football, despite the thousands of column inches on the web and in print, plus the hours of television and radio coverage accorded during the course of any one season, is still a novice in the field of public relations.

Not enough is done to keep the public informed about issues which are basic to the spirit and nature of the game. Relationships, to say the least, remain strained.

There is a crying need for a team of public relations experts to move in at every club. Clubs need selling to the public, and need a definite character which each and every fan can identify with. The image presented today is unconducive to grabbing the public's imagination.

Outside of the elite, apart from match days stadia, by and large, are unused and wasted. There is nothing to attract supporters between matches. We should seek to imprint each club within the minds of its community - yes, it would cost money, but that investment would be well spent. I hope that when Edgar Street is eventually upgraded, adequate steps are made to ensure that the range of leisure activities are wide ranging and are of a high standard. The revamped Edgar Street stadium must be attractive thereby ensuring constant community use across the field of leisure and entertainment; not just sports but cinema, interactive gaming, retail and fast food outlets. Lets create a first class image outside of the football arena.

Football and its environs may be splashed across every back page every day of the week but think - how many good things are written about the game? Plenty of people are prepared to write about football but usually it's about off the field scandals, management deals, or it concentrates on cheating, or the referees conduct, the amount of bookings and the number of players being sent off. An emphasis like this is only making football's task of attracting fans more difficult - not less.

When I was a boy I used to spend hours reading everything I could about teams, players, goals and marvelous matches. I was obsessed with wanting to know who had scored, who had played well, who was the top goalscorer at each club. Yes, that's all still available now in a variety of forms, but what is written about? I see ill-informed debate on the games deterioration, it's lack of discipline, vast greed, and an obsession with celebrity, not to mention the discretions of the world's famous players.

By drawing constant attention to the undisciplined, cheating mentality of the Premier League 'stars' the media gives the impression that all football is like that. Respectable children from many families will simply not come to matches if they continue to read this insidious propoganda. The games good points are hidden and completely overruled by bad publicity. It's an accepted adage that we get the press we deserve - but surely football does not deserve a press like ours? Instead of reading about how well players are performing, I just see defeatist and doomladen prophesies forced down my throat.

Its been a marvellous few seasons for Hereford United both on and off the field. We have proved that money is not everything after all. We have bounced back from near oblivion, and after two short years back in the Football League we are playing in the 3rd tier of English fooball for the first time in 30 years. The club have achieved this without a bank-rolling backer, nor have the debts risen - in fact the club have posted 5 steady years of profit!

On the pitch the management duo of Graham Turner and John Trewick have produced squads capable of matching the very best, and some outstanding away performances have helped catapult the club back up the leagues. I may be a nostalgic romantic but this is the sort of stuff the national press used to thrive on - the underprivileged making good.

Football is the best game in the world and it's time everyone started remembering that. Supporters need educating, with club public communications in need of a boost. Football is an important cog in the character of every British town and city where a professional club exists. Even during the dark days when a club seems to be on its knees, and only a handful of people turn up every week, we must never forget that the older generations will still talk and argue with great pride about their clubs past achievements. I have travelled to the likes of Barrow, Workington, Southport and Newport over the years, and with respect, they just don't seem the same since they lost their Football League status.

Fortunately scepticism has stopped the average fan from fully believing everything he sees, reads and hears via a plethora of media platforms. If only the media would become more responsible, scratch below the surface a lot more, and realise that they are biting the hand that feeds them, football would thus jump its biggest hurdle. A good national and local press is a positive one. Not one that constantly looks for fault, real or otherwise!

The Camel

Writer:Colin Green
Date:Wednesday July 2 2008
Time: 5:57PM

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