Well it’s been a while, fancy a beer?
Socrates is back for 2016! If you have a football blog, if you podcast, if you’re an illustrator, if you’re a kit designer, if you’re a football tweeter or if you have a Tumblr dedicated to floodlight pylons this is your chance to meet up with people who do (kind of) what you do.
If you’ve never been to a Socrates event this could be the perfect opportunity for you to break your duck. Maybe your New Year’s resolution is to restart your blog, maybe you’re thinking about podcasting, maybe you’re planning something bigger – this is your chance to meet people with shared interests and experience.
Blog about a different sport? No problem. The chances are you’ve experienced the same issues as football bloggers, so if you think you’d get something out of chatting with us then come along. Except you golf bloggers, you’re just weird. Only kidding*, you’re alright (*Seriously, not kidding).
If everything goes to plan this should be the first of three events in London in 2016. Hopefully we can get some events going in other parts of the UK as well. As ever with Socrates, if you want it, you can make it happen.
When: This event will be held from 7pm Friday 29 January 2016 – FA Cup 4th round weekend. We always like to have a backdrop of football at these events and hopefully the BBC will be showing a potential giant-killing.
Venue: Confirmed as The Sports Bar & Grill at Waterloo Station.
Will you be there? Let us know if you’re coming along – tweet us @SocratesMeetUp or email firstname.lastname@example.org . Tell others too.
How one measures success as a football blogger or podcaster is a source of endless discussion. Whether it be down to page visits, iTunes downloads, retweets, facebook likes, a listing in The Guardian’s Favourite Things or, like me, when someone who wasn’t a member of my close family actually read one of my posts, we derive satisfaction from a variety of milestones.
One of these is the emergence of various awards and one variant of these is currently open for voting: the Football Supporters’ Federation Awards. It’s pleasing to recount that a number of excellent writers and not a few Socrates members have been put forward for these gongs and I’ll take each in turn:
The Football Supporters’ Federation Awards 2014
Far from restricted to blogging (I’ve read Sergio Aguero’s Halifax Town blog and it leaves a bit to be desired), these awards cover many angles of the game including the accolade of best player and best pundit. For our purposes, however, four categories are especially noteworthy:
Blogger of the Year
Socrates stalwarts Damon Threadgold and Simon Barnett of The Real FA Cup as well as Ian King of Two Hundred Percent jostle for position in this section – a kind of ‘Group of Death’ if ever there was one. The latter actually switched to covering topics beyond football recently (Mike Read and rabies have been among the more alarming of these) but there has still been a bundle of mighty content to enjoy from the earlier months of the year while Ian does still tip his toe into footballing waters.
His recent piece on the FA Cup helps us segue nicely into further mention of Damon and Simon’s site – a long standing paean to the game’s backwaters and an inspiration to the BBC’s newly revamped coverage this past month. As the two gents state, the FA Cup is still way better than the League.
The two sites are up against excellent Brentford fan site, Beesotted, a highly productive enterprise, Seb Stafford-Bloor’s prolific and always-on-the-money Premier League Owl and the visually inclined Copa 90 as well as the probable winner, Arseblog. Undeniably superb, the decision to put the nominations to the public vote inevitably favours sites that take advantage of a partisan leanings and, 2-1 defeats to Swansea notwithstanding, the popularity of Arsenal Football Club is not in dispute.
Podcast/Radio Show of the Year
In this category, the irritatingly regular Football Weekly will surely once again clean up although it faces equally listened-to competition in Five Live’s Monday Night Club (John Motson defending Sir Stanley Rous and all) as well as The Football Ramble, The Tuesday Club with everyone’s least favourite Liverpool baiter Alan Davies and The Warm Up, a Talksport production which I am not familiar with and have no intention of altering that state of affairs.
So, bias apart, you really ought to be voting for Graham Sibley, Terry Duffelen and Jan Bilton’s The Sound of Football, originally co-hosted by Chris Oakley of the Football Attic and over 200 shows to the good now. recent shows have focused on the issue of ‘weakened teams’ and ‘right hammerings’ – Perry Suckling probably shouldn’t click on the link.
Independent Website of the Year
Although pleased to be nominated, my own site The Two Unfortunates has perhaps snuck into the reckoning due to some kind of Ryan Giggs-style ‘lifetime achievement’ award – after 5 years, posting regularly in 2014 has been an effort at times even if the likes of John McGee and Susan Gardiner have helped maintain high standards and the campaigning strand that the FSF awards should really reward is more or less present and correct.
So, alternatives in this category would number the quietly impressive The Inside Left, a pan-football site that has treated us to some superbly written and edited articles and good series such as their Swansongs and One Love vehicles and The Anfield Wrap, a highly respected Liverpool FC vehicle which is also responsible for a fine Reds podcast. Competing with the aforementioned are the Newcastle United blog and New Order-inspired True Faith, Fantasy Football Scout and statisticians WhoScored.com – an enterprise that has just the 447,000 followers on twitter. Guess who is going to win then?
Fanzine of the Year
It’s encouraging that the awards reward fanzines in this age of online interlocution and as evidenced by the likes of Chester’s The Blue and White Fanzine and Ipswich zine Turnstile Blues, the format is undergoing something of a renaissance. Nominations in this category include the all ends up excellent Doncaster Rovers’ Popular Stand Fanzine, stewarded by Glen Wilson and also containing coverage of Doncaster Belles and the campaigning Stand which has railed against modern football in fine style for a good time now – even they may be shocked by recent events at Wigan and Sheffield United mind.
The long running The Square Ball (Leeds United), Duck (Stoke City), United We Stand (Manchester United) and A Love Supreme (Sunderland) are also in the running for this category.
A word also for the recently held Football Blogging Awards. Although both voting stages of these are based on a public vote, this should not obscure the excellence of some of the winners and indeed, the organisers seemed to acknowledge the shortcomings of making this a mere popularity contest in allowing for a ‘Judges Choice’ award. Among the winners were Sheffield Wednesday fan Laura Jones for her site YICETOR and the brilliant Coventry City website, The Sky Blues Blog.
Lastly, although certainly something to celebrate, awards of this kind are not the be-all and end-all and remain highly subjective – the presence of so many outstanding sites and podcasts which haven’t been nominated is immediate testimony to that.
Topics discussed included Belgium and Switzerland’s World Cup chances, David Moyes, the New Magic Spongers-organised book Falling for Football, a forthcoming print venture for which John Dobson would like to see proposals, the difficulty of train travel in the Scarborough area, the footballing rivalry between Newcastle United and Middlesbrough, the Crimea Question, a new project from Richard Bellis & Mick Kinlan and Chris Smith’s Brickstand project (a lego model of Selhurst Park anyone?).
Chris (right) and Michael Hudson (aka @DolphinHotel) are pictured above (I’m afraid the darkness of bar has left many of our additional photos looking a bit forlorn) while suggestions for another northern venue for Socrates are welcome. Sheffield’s Brewery Tap might well be a good shout next time while below is a pic of last Thursday’s venue.
Thank you to everyone who came along for what proved to be a hugely enjoyable evening.
The next football bloggers and podders meet up in London is in Chinatown at the Prince Charles Cinema on Thursday April 10th.
The event is hosted by Warren United, the new animated comedy series about to start on ITV 4 later in the spring. The producers are laying on free alcoholic and soft drinks plus a preview screening of the first episode of the new series.
Kick off is at 7pm and the address is below.
7 Leicester Place
TO ATTEND: e-mail email@example.com and to be put you on the list. Alternatively, tweet @socratesmeetup. Please use the hashtag #socrates15 and feel free to spread the word.
We are delighted to announce that the first Socrates event to take place in the North of England will take place in Leeds on March 27th.
Interest has already been generated over twitter with a range of bloggers and podcasters having certified their likely attendance. If you wish to come along, do either leave a comment below or get in touch with the @SocratesMeetUp twitter account. Alternatively, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The event is open to anyone who indulges in football blogging or podcasting, no matter how new to the pursuit.
For ease of access, the venue will be the Brewery Tap, 18 New Station Street in Leeds. As it so happens, on the last Thursday of every month, a local brewery takes over many of the casks and kegs for one night only. They started with Yorkshire brewers but they’re starting to include people from further afield now too – so our visit is well timed.
Proceedings will get underway from 6pm at the latest but I should imagine one or two of us might get there a little before then.
The next football bloggers and podders meet up will be on Friday 24 January in the Sports Bar And Grill at London Waterloo Station. Kick off at 7:30pm. If you write, podcast or broadcast about soccer then you are more than welcome to join us for an evening of networking and chat. Even if you’re currently “resting” as a blogger, come along and you may be inspired.
The back-drop for the evening will be live coverage of the return of Bundesliga with Borusia Mönchengladbach taking on Bayern.
TO ATTEND: e-mail email@example.com and to be put you on the list. Alternatively, tweet @socratesmeetup. Please use the hashtag #socrates14 and feel free to spread the word.
The address of the venue is below.
Sports Bar & Grill Waterloo
The next football bloggers and podders meet up will be on Saturday June 8th in the Sports Bar And Grill at London Waterloo Station. Kick off at 7:30pm. Anyone who writes, podcasts or broadcasts about soccer is welcome to join us for an evening of networking and chat.
If you plan to attend then e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put you on the list. Alternatively, send a tweet to @socratesmeetup. Please use the hashtag #socrates13 and feel free to spread the word.
The address of the venue is below.
Sports Bar & Grill Waterloo
Socrates 12 is confirmed for Friday 2nd November at the Real Man Bar downstairs at 91-95 Clerkenwell Road, London.
Socrates is a social and networking event for football writers, bloggers and podcasters. Anyone fitting that description is welcome to attend.
The event is kindly sponsored by BuddyBet and their generous contribution to the food and drink should make for a fantastic evening. Find out more about BuddyBet here:
If you would like to attend then e-mail email@example.com and we’ll put you on the list. Alternatively, send a tweet to @socratesmeetup. Please use the hashtag #socrates12 and feel free to spread the word.
See you there!
Socrates Co-Founder and blogging stalwart, Chris Oakley is emigrating for New Zealand next month. To wish him well and to make sure he leaves we are delighted to announce that the next Socrates Football Bloggers Meetup will be in his honour on 31st August. Kick Off at 8pm.
This event will be a slightly less structured affair and will have no sponsor so you’ll have to bring your own money.
Socrates is an opportunity for football bloggers to meet and connect with each other in an atmosphere of conviviality and friendship. This will be our 12th London event which we hope you will be able to attend.
If you are a football blogger and would like to come along then please drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put you on the list.
Many thanks to Socrates 11 sponsors, Football Radar for a fantastic night at the Real Man Bar in London. Great fun was had by all and we are looking forward to holding a further London Socrates event in June to coincide with Euro 2012.
If you would like to organise a Socrates event in your local area, do get in touch. The next event is in Bristol. Click here for more details.