I guess you could say that I’ve always had a passion for football, and while it’s always been a big passion of mine, it intensified from the summer of 2015 onwards. In the run-up to that summer, you could say that my life was pretty shit, primarily due to my anxiety disorder, which at the time left me feeling like I just existed rather than living.
I’ve been active on social media for as long as I can remember and while before 2015 I was more of a Facebook user than a Twitter user, it was thanks to Twitter that everything changed for me. I began receiving information concerning Sheffield Wednesday, and this saw the beginning of an exciting period for me.
As everyone will know, there are many people in the online world be it social media platforms or forums, that put about information and it often turns out to be a load of crap. However, what this guy was telling me always ended up happening. This one specific source only got one minor detail wrong over months of us talking, which I found remarkable.
Receiving this inside information in many ways changed my life from being dull and mundane into something exciting. I started putting information that I felt could be made public out there to fellow Wednesday fans on Facebook, while also tipping off a few journalists now and again. After a while operating on Facebook, I felt Twitter was a better platform for me and what I was doing, and I, therefore, began being active on there for the most part.
Being in the know is fantastic at the start as you’re learning of things before most other people. You know things that thousands want to know, and you do get a buzz from it. However, the reality is, being in the know isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and there are more negatives than positives that accompany it. You often will hear things you wish you didn’t know, you will listen to things that you would love to put out there, but you know you can’t, and this leads a lot of times where you must bite your tongue which can be infuriating.
Some random guy on Twitter pumping out news on Sheffield Wednesday will inevitably draw the attention of Sheffield Wednesday, and that’s understandable. However, I do think because you’re just a Twitter user you do become a bit of a target for both the club and haters, but I always aimed to make it clear who I was and that I wasn’t going to hide behind an account.
It was at this point where I first sought to find my place in football. I had always been into writing about football from probably my early teens, and as I now had something to write about that was exciting, rather than just writing match reports and the like, this was the first avenue I felt best to explore. I started writing for Vital Wednesday, and this was a fantastic opportunity for me.
I was able to write about Wednesday and attend pre-match press conferences at Middlewood Road. Getting the opportunity to go behind the scenes so to speak is something that most people won’t ever have the chance to do. It’s a privileged position to be in, being able to see the players and the manager, while also rubbing shoulders with local and sometimes national press.
I quickly learned that in football, the press side of things in a way is controlled. This quickly put me off the idea of going down the journalism route before I’d even got started. Obviously, a journalist can’t just say whatever they want to say, but in football I do feel at times you’re restricted from saying anything which could be perceived as negative. Nobody wants negative press after all, but I’m someone who wants to be able to say what I want to say as this means I’d be being true not only to myself, but to my readers.
If Sheffield Wednesday were a Premier League club, perhaps I could have earned money by providing tips to national press, something which I discussed with a prominent football journalist. I could have found a place tipping off journos and gained financially, but then again why would I want them to steal my thunder so to speak, something which has happened several times over the years.
So, the journalism route closed for me, I couldn’t really gain from providing tips to newspapers, so the only thing left was using the information to gain from betting every now and again. I felt I could get the stories where transfers were concerned potentially before most, but I felt if the transfer side of things dried up I’d be left with nothing to write about, as I didn’t feel like you could put across negative opinions.