As 2011 rolled on I was devoting more and more time to researching and writing, despite having returned to full-time employment. But I was becoming increasingly aware of the competition from other, far better, football blogs. Don’t get me wrong, I had no feelings of animosity. I loved these writers and felt that FiveinMidfield was simply part of a football blogging community that was in its prime. However the struggle to reach more than a handful of readers for a piece that was taking hours to put together each week was taking its toll. With other commitments piling up I couldn’t justify spending such large amounts of time on something that reached a single figure audience, and so my dedication began to wane.
What’s more though, a curious thing began to happen. Having been rapturously obsessed with the maddening world of football since I was a little boy, the game started to annoy me. Certain aspects of it, though far from hidden previously, began to leave a sour taste. After wrestling with these strange feelings for some time I realised the answer was that I was falling out of love with football, and with that FiveinMidfield disappeared. Sure there were spurts of activity, attempts to get back into the swing of things, but though I was aware of what was happening and tried to fight it, something had changed. Around Christmas time last year I decided FiveinMidfield was no more. I made no announcement, and nobody even noticed.
Over the last year though, something equally strange has happened. My long term girlfriend, who had previously shown less than no interest in football, began to get drawn in by my murmurings of discontent on a Saturday afternoon. She wanted to know what it was that could drive me to such extreme moods, both positive and negative. In either an attempt to understand or to help me rebuild bridges, she picked a team to follow, and then through a twist of fate another team stole her heart. In just a few short months as a ‘football fan’ she has witnessed triumph and despair, and watching her fall for football has awoken something within me.
And so, unemployed once more and with a heart all astir, FiveinMidfield is back.
When I started this blog I was wary of making it team-specific. I wanted to simply tell football stories, and while this will remain the case, I know now how important my team is to me, and so I have made a conscious decision to incorporate that passion. The elements of the old FiveinMidfield that I prided myself on: the stories, postcards and profiles will continue too, and after removing loads of my old work when I decided to give up, I have now put this archived content back online.
This season looks hugely exciting. From wholesale management change at the top of the Premier League to Nigel Reo-Coker taking the MLS by storm, there are plenty of stories to be told.
I know readers will be just as elusive as ever, but it doesn’t matter. I’m just happy to be enjoying football again.
So thank you. And enjoy.