I’ve spent quite a bit of time these last few weeks trying to compose a farewell blog post. It has been something on my mind for a while now and although I tried my best to get off to a strong start this season, I think now is the time to call it a day.
The main reason? Time. The truth is I am making this announcement because of time – and the lack of it.
During lockdown we all had the opportunity to focus on the things we love and it gave me the chance to plan and prepare for the new season. I spent hours upon hours tinkering with new images, graphics and layouts. I thought about different formats for the blog and had a number of ideas on how to make my writing more detailed. Excitement for our return to the top-flight reinvigorated my own desire to keep writing.
Over the summer I tried to extend my writing style and structure so that the standard and length of my posts reflected what I felt a return to the Premiership deserved. It also helps that United as a club are in such a good place right now. Each and every week the thought of writing about United was, and is, such a pleasure, but the time is simply not there for me to do it justice.
I have now returned to work, and find myself in a new role that demands so much more of my brain energy. As I write this on Sunday morning I know that because of my new role I will now have two or three hours of planning and prep to do today, and that is now going to become a standard pre-work week routine so that I can do my job to the best of my abilities. Couple this with my amazing little boy who is now nearly three – a stage of constant curiosity (and a force of nature in terms of energy), it means my time during the week and at the weekend is now very limited. I really need to think about each and every hour I have. I am struggling this early on in the season, even with the games being on TV. Right now I can simply swivel round and start typing but once we are back at games, my commute to Tannadice and to away games adds countless hours. Then we have the gyms and swimming pools opening up soon, and with our wee one at an age for taking proper swimming lessons and joining sports clubs etc, my time constraints become even tighter.
Every so often people ask how long it takes to write a blog post. Unfortunately that answer is now “too long”. The average week will see me probably spend about 4 hours composing and editing the match reviews plus the images and graphics. I’m also so conscious of every single comment and piece of feedback that I get through – the site itself, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and email that I always want to respond and engage. That then can add another few hours to my Sunday and I’m guilty of zoning out in the house, focusing on the blog and maybe not using my time for other things.
It is partly my own fault for forcing through an extended format of match review. My first few reviews, back in 2017, were on average about 800-900 words in length. These last few weeks I have been pushing 3,000+ words and it isn’t sustainable. Some might say, “well why not just go back to the shorter styles” but the truth is, I’m the kind of person who either has to go for it full pelt or not at all. I also love writing about my club and always have a lot I want to say. Last week, in response to a tweet, I went to the analytics part of the site and discovered that I have written over 330,000 words on United!
So, is this the end? Well, it probably is. The match reviews as a weekly thing will now definitely be ending but I might come back every so often for bigger, all encompassing posts. If there are significant changes at the club or I feel like writing a mid-season or end of season review then you may see me pop up every now and again, but the weekly writings are over for now.
I’ll keep going with certain things and I like using Twitter especially, so that won’t stop. I’ve also enjoyed my foray into some of the Instagram-esque stuff and the creative part of my brain likes doing that as a way of passing time. The site will also remain ‘live’ just in case I do have the urge to compose a post, or anyone wants to have a look back at my writing (plus I’ve paid my yearly hosting fee so I have to keep it!)
All that remains is for me to say a huge thank you to anyone who has ever read my blog and has taken the time to engage with me. I am sorry if you are someone who reads this weekly blog as a way of keeping in touch with United. Many of you have contacted me to say that you live abroad or far away from Dundee so need United content to feel connected.
Also a big thank you to anyone who has supported the blog in terms of pushing it to a larger audience. People like Ceres Arabs, The Dode Fox guys and the Dundee United Supporters Foundation have always been a fantastic support to me. The same can be said for lots of individuals on social media (and apologies for not naming you). Knowing that there are people out there who look forward to my blog is something I will always be very grateful for.
This has always just been a hobby to me, and one that I have loved. I’ve never really had any connection to the club and it has always just been one fan’s view on anything United related. I actually started the blog back in June of 2014 but back then, and for the first few years, it was just generic football related content (and it was hardly read by anyone). Once I switched to United it started to pick up a bit of traction and it has been a pretty turbulent period of time for the club, so that has given me lots to write about.
It is with a very, very heavy heart that I have made this decision, especially at a time when everyone is so incredibly positive about Micky Mellon and the players.
There is always a small chance that in a number of weeks time I might decide this was all a mistake and make a return but in all likelihood that isn’t going to happen for a while.
All the very best, and thank you.