Football is still considered to be the most popular competitive sport in the world, with millions of fans across the globe. In fact, thanks to remarkable advances in internet and mobile internet technologies, the beautiful game seems to grow in beauty every day.
While it is very easy to get caught up in the hype that surrounds the modern game, with top players earning millions per season, without full support from fans, the entire shooting match would quickly fall to pieces. We know this because we’ve already witnessed the effects of what a dip in football match attendance can do, if you recall the post-Heysel years here in the UK.
However, thanks largely to fan-generated online content, the exact opposite is happening, particularly within UK football. Premiere league teams are currently experiencing a boom in both support and popularity. Top clubs including Man United, Chelsea and Arsenal have been enjoying what many pundits are describing as a return to grass roots level support.
Most football fans still enjoy heated debates over a pint or two down at the local, talking about the weekends match, what went right, what went wrong, who delivered and who was awful? Aside from that tradition, does anyone remember those dedicated football fanzines? They were massive in the late 80’s, containing everything from match reviews to player stats, supporter opinions and more. Now it’s happening again, in a whole new way – through the internet.
So how is the internet changing how we experience modern football in 2017? The answer has to do with social media and the rise of fan-generated content. This can clearly be witnessed in top notch fan-driven websites like Arsenal’s very own Arsenal Mania, a site created by Arsenal Football fans, for Arsenal Football fans.
Blogs are among the most powerful new tools for fan-driven content online, they’re informal, with new content being added every day. Many great football fan-driven blogs such as The Football Lab and the slightly tongue in cheek Arseblog, are perfect examples of the power of online football blogs.
One thing is for sure, when checking out popular fan-generated content online, there is a notable sense of a more relaxed and inclusive atmosphere. Perhaps, the way we should always have analysed football in the first place – through fan participation.
Thanks to top online social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and even YouTube, any fan has as much to say as the so-called traditional sports analysts and experts do. Teams like Arsenal even have their own YouTube channel – ArsenalFan TV, where supporters can check out the latest inside news, match highlights, and off the cuff interviews with real Arsenal fans on the streets.