Over the past couple of years, we have built a healthy, vibrant and influential community which recognises the need to counter the corporate propaganda spouted by the mainstream media on behalf of the football authorities.
The media have, not entirely but in the main, been hostage to the patronage of those in charge of the club/media links, and to the narrow demographic of their readership. Despite a continuing rejection of the media’s position by that readership (in terms of year on year slump in sales) there is an obstinate refusal to see what is by now inevitable – the death of the print media. The lamb metaphor in fact ironically moving to the slaughter.
The football authorities in Scotland, once the country that gave the world the beautiful game, are rigid with fear that their own world will fall apart – because they are wedded to the idea that only one football match actually matters. To that end they will do whatever it takes to ensure that it continues. They have long since dispensed with the notion that football is an interdependent industry, and incredibly, even those who are not participants in that match follow like sheep towards the abattoir.
The argument is no longer that one club cheated and got away with it. The debate that we need to have is one about what is paramount in the eyes of the clubs and the media . Is it the inegrity of sporting endeavour, or box-office?
For out part, independent sites like this have accelerated the print media’s demise, and there have been temporary successes in persuading the clubs to uphold the spirit of sport. However our role has up to now been to cast a spotlight on the inaccuracies, inconsistencies and downright lies that routinely pass for news. News that is imagined up by PR agencies and dutifully copied by the lazy pretend-journalists who betray no thought whatsoever during the process.
Despite our successes, it really is not enough. We have the means at our disposal to do more, but do more we need to change ourselves, because the authorities sure as hell aren’t gonna.
We need to provide meaningful insight into the game that removes the Old Firm prism from the light path. We need to provide news that has covered all of the angles. We need to entertain, inform and energise fans of sport and all clubs.
We need to do that from a wholly independent perspective. None of this refusing to tell the truth about club allegiances. There is no reason why intelligent men and women can’t be objective in spite of their own allegiances (although the corollary absolutely holds true). Our experience of the MSM in this country is that the lack of arms-length principles in the media has corrupted it to such an extent that they barely recognise truth and objectivity. We need to be firm on those arms-length principles.
In order to do that we have put together a plan (with enough room to manoeuvre if required) as follows;
We will rebrand and re-launch as the Independent Sports Monitor. We have acquired the domains isMonitor.co.uk and IndependentSportsMonitor.co.uk, and those will be the main urls after the re-launch, hopefully later in the summer.
The change in name reflects the reality of our current debate which is not always confined to Scotland or football. It will also give us the option in future of applying the success of our model to other sports and jurisdictions through partner sites and blogs. This should also help in our efforts to raise funds in the future. However any expansion outwith the domain of Scottish football is some time away, and will depend on the success we have with the core model.
Our mission statement will be;
- ISM will seek to build a community of sports fans whose overarching aim is the integrity of competition in the sport.
- ISM will, without favour, seek to find objective truths on the conduct and administration of sport. We will avoid building relationships with individuals or organisations which would bring us into conflict with that.
- ISM will provide a platform for the views of ALL fans, and guarantee that those views will be heard in a mutually respectful environment.
- ISM will also endeavour to inform and entertain members on a wide range of topics related to our shared love of sport.
- ISM will seek to represent the views of sports fans to sporting authorities and hold the authorities to account.
We have estimated our (modest) costs to expand our role as per recent discussions. The expanded role will take the form of a new Internet Radio Channel where we hope to provide 24/7 content by the end of the year. It will also see a greater news role where we will engage directly with clubs and authorities to seek answers to our questions directly. And we will seek to contact the best fan sites across Scotland with a view to showcasing their content.
We have identified individuals who we want to work (initially on a part time basis) towards our objectives, we have identified premises where we want to conduct our business, and we hope to move into those premises during this summer.
To finance these plans there are a couple of stages;
- Initially (as soon as possible) we need to pay accommodation and hosting costs for the first year. To do so, we hope to appeal to the community itself. Our aim is to raise around £5000 by the end of August.
- There are salary costs (around £15,000) attached to our first year plan, but these have been underwritten by Big Pink, and equipment costs (est. £3000). These will be reimbursed if the advertising campaign we recently started bears any fruit (we will not know about that for a few months).
- It will not be too discouraging if we make losses in the first couple of years, so if necessary we will seek crowd-funding to finance our plans if the resources of the community itself prove inadequate to smooth a path to break-even point.
Our first year may be a perilous hand-to-mouth existence, but I am certain the journey will be an exciting and enjoyable one. We will also need to search our community resources for contacts at clubs; players, officials, ex-players, local journalists etc. Please get in touch if you have any in at your club.
We also hope to tap into the expertise of our community for advice, comment and analysis of developments, and we will be looking for any aspiring presenters, journalists, sound and video editors, graphic designers (and lots of others) to help us find our feet. Any offers of assistance would be gratefully accepted.
We mustn’t lose sight of why we are doing this. It is because we love our sport, because we want to be able to continue to call it that, and because the disconnect we find in Scottish football, that of the conflicting interests of the fans and the money men, will never be addressed as long as the fans are hopelessly split.
The ultimate goal is to allow sport – not our individual clubs – to triumph over the greed and corporate troglodyte-ism of those people who run it. I am confident that we as a community desperately want to be able to make a difference. That is why I am confident we can achieve our aim of becoming a significant player in the game.