Beesotted regular, and seasoned jouro, Jim Levack, gets all-of-a-click about the latest raft of bargain basement stories about the Bees ‘supposed’ transfer targets. It’s gonna be a long summer of transfer twaddle from the click-bait kings!
I’m a journalist. Not a content marketer. For anyone in any doubt about the difference, a journalist is usually a trained writer able to build an affinity with the person they’re interviewing to get a decent angle that people will want to read.
Content marketing is a new title created by people who haven’t had the journalistic training or don’t have the attributes needed for the job… and it seems these marketing types have convinced people that there’s now no longer any need for journalists.
Things change, I accept that, and in an era where people – football fans included – are time-poor, clickbait is king.
Stuff like ‘Ten things you never knew about Peter Gilham (Number 7: He had a deliberate penchant for horrible jumpers in the 70s)’ or worse still, ‘Seven players Brentford should be looking at for next season’.
There are several sites, whose writers (in the loosest sense of the word) appear to make a living from putting hundreds of names in a hat and then pulling out a club name and writing a few pars linking the two. Challenge them about the absence of any basis in fact and they’ll come back all guns blazing at you.
The latest – ‘5 midfielders that need to be on Brentford’s transfer radar’ – is frankly a joke to anyone with the slightest knowledge of the way Brentford operate these days.
Four of the five ‘must-have’ players were aged 30 or over, at least three of them names who have been around the block… one of them Steve Sidwell!
The final suggestion in the list was nearer 22-year-old so slightly more feasible, but nonetheless probably not the kind of player we’d need, based on the ones we currently have. And I use the word currently advisedly.
Obviously if people – yes, including me – are stupid enough to have our curiousity piqued by deliberately vague headlines, then more fool us… and me.
That technique has never been more apparent than with the constant stream of ‘Dean Smith odds-on favourite for (insert name here) job’ stories that these sites churn out.
I haven’t got a clue whether he’s actively sought or applied for any of the ‘merry-go-round’ jobs but knowing him purely through my own post-match dealings with him and those of respected colleagues who have worked with him, Dean Smith is a man of fairly unique principle in today’s game.
Obviously, everyone has their price but an excerpt from the final day press conference that didn’t get reported was quite telling, as he insisted “money isn’t everything”.
Sadly, that didn’t get reported in the local press because they were out by the tunnel chasing the players… a scene which judging by my former paper, The Chronicle’s, decision to withdraw from covering Brentford in full, will only deteriorate.
Back in the day it was an independent newspaper that charted the ups and mainly downs of the Bees, with the legendary George Sands attending a total of 1,126 Brentford games on the trot between December 1953 and May 1976. He missed only one Brentford match in all his time with the Chronicle, having been in hospital over Christmas in 1953.
Fast forward half a century – after the Chron, working with some of the guys still running Beesotted today, quizzed Ron Noades and Dave W£bb over their motives – things have changed.
Thanks to swathing cuts and a misguided approach to news and sports news gathering by Trinity Mirror, we are left with the new iteration of Get West London which runs with the misnomer of www.football.london – yes it covers London football, but only the Premier League.
The last Brentford story apart from a speculative piece about Smith heading to The Hawthorns, was Dean’s final day ‘grass isn’t always greener’ tale.
Beesotted has stepped into the void with podcasts, a radio show and longer pieces like this one, but the immediacy of a news format interview with managers or players has gone.
For me it’s so sad that a club going places after its fourth consecutive season in the Championship now no longer has one of its best loved newspapers giving the incredible achievements of this little club from West London the coverage it deserves.
But no doubt they will be back to give Brentford 100% coverage… when we reach the Premier League.
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