By Walter Broeckx
Today is just another day in history. Not a day that people will look back at in 10 or 15 years time and say: remember 22/01/2014? That day …the earth stood still, the 3rd world war started, an atomic bomb exploded, a nuclear plant exploded, a tsunami washed away all live somewhere, a disaster happened, a plane crashed…. Well let us hope such things don’t happens in the next hours. I don’t like disasters at all and certainly not when they would involve people dying.
But for Untold this is still a bit of a historic day. As this article that you are reading now is the article that according to our all knowing computer got the number 4.000. Four thousand. I like round numbers in a way even though I don’t know why. 4000 articles since the start of this blog. Time to have a look back I think.
The first article on this site was published on 14/01/2008. That is just over 6 years ago. It was from the hands of Tony of course as he was the one that started Untold Arsenal all on his own. Little did he know that this blog now is sitting amongst the top blogs in visiting numbers not just from Arsenal but also compared to other clubs. That starting date means that roughly calculated 2198 days or something around that number of days with Untold Arsenal has gone by.
And this shows that we have published about 2 articles each day over that period of time. And to think that at the start when Tony was on his own it was only one article a day. But now we do publish two articles each day and most of the time even more.
I still remember the first time I came to Untold Arsenal. I just found my own home. A place I could call home. Articles written in a funny way most of the time. And articles always written in a positive way. Not the moaning and bitching at all and everyone involved with Arsenal that you can and could find all over the internet. This was not a moan, moan, moan Arsenal website that I was desperately trying to avoid at that time.
I also remember very well that as a non English speaking person I was kind of afraid to give my opinion. In the past on the moaning Arsenal websites when I tried to answer I found out that people quickly noticed it and then even attacked me for not being English enough to support Arsenal. But after posting my first comment after reading for weeks without opening my mouth (I still can’t get it how I managed to do that) I noticed that this was different. In fact when they found out about me being from another country I was welcomed even more.
And when Tony asked if readers could share their stories about bad trips to the Emirates or Highbury I tried to write an article about my wild trip to the Emirates with my 4 children a little earlier. I send it to Tony and on a very special day for me I got a mail that changed my life. I remember waking up on that day 11/08/2009. As I always remember waking up on that day as it is my wedding anniversary day. And that day was even more special as I was married for 25 years on that day. When I got out of my bed and turned on my computer I found a mail from Tony.
He said that he liked my article and that he would publish it that same day. Speaking about coincidences… on my 25th wedding anniversary day I became a contributor to the in my eyes best Arsenal supporting website and blog. To be honest I don’t know how many articles I have written since then but I think I will be good second best after Tony. And I settle for that position.
But I was not alone. Other people joined and wrote sometimes superb articles. I can remember the match previews from Phil Gregory. Who now is earning too much money in the City (I hope he does) and had to stop working for us.
We had the still world famous Dogface who joined us and surprised us with his data on referees and all that is wrong in football and the world of referees. He became my partner in crime (if you may call it that way) when doing the referee reviews. We all know the sad way how Dogface had to cut back on working for Untold when his wife became seriously ill and eventually died a few months ago.
We also lost recently one of our contributors when Adam Brogden got killed in a car accident. He only was a short while with us as a writer but his articles were amazing reads about the transfer market dealings. Not the ITK stuff about who we should buy but the stuff about how dodgy transfer deals can be.
Mentioning peoples names is dangerous. As you might end up forgetting to mention people you should have mentioned. So at the risk of upsetting people I will mention a few other persons who have contributed to the greatness of this blog. People who have never stopped supporting Arsenal, the manager and the players through thick and thin. And it takes strong people to have done this over the years.
So we do must thank people (in random order) like Don McMahon, Arvind, Bootoomee, Drew, Dominic Sanchez-Cabello, Andrew Crawshaw, Sammy the snake, …. and this is where I will go wrong for not mentioning everyone. Sorry about that.
In it’s history Untold Arsenal has covered all kinds of things. And the idea from the start was that we would and should be different from the rest. Not moan about everything one can moan about. But always being supportive. We can be critical about a player making a mistake that cost us. But we will never write him off for that. We will support him over and over again whenever he puts on the shirt and does his best. Apart from this supportive attitude we have done many things.
Untold was one of the first who wrote about finances and football clubs. And Untold Arsenal was one of the first websites that tried to measure referees and how they do their games. A thing that has got us lots of attention, not in the least from PL refs themselves. I have been told they have been reading our work and that they were rather interested in our end of season reports. Certainly when it came down to find out who got the best numbers behind their name.
We have written about FUFA, EUFA, FA, PGMOL, the Mafia… or is this all the same? All and everything related to football and Arsenal can find a place on Untold.
One of the features of Untold was that when possible, we try to bring some humour in to the articles. Not always easy and not always a success. What sounds like a great joke turns out to be bad or nobody seeing it or ignoring it. Serious when we need to be, but laughing when we can. In my mother language there is this idiom that goes : what cannot be said with a laugh, isn’t the truth. (OK probable get completely lost) but I do believe that is what Untold has been trying to do all these years. Talking about serious things (and Arsenal and football are serious things) but when we could share a smile or a laugh live was much more fun.
And that is where you, who have read this article come in place. If nobody would visit us I think Tony and I would have thrown the towel by now. But each day I am amazed at how good our comment section is compared to others. And even in that comment section we have some people who stand out. Whenever the situation is looking to get out of hand we have our own Doctor Laugh who smothers the heat and who makes you smile. I don’t know where he keeps on getting them but when I see the name of Brickfields Gunner I automatically start laughing.
So Untold is not just about Tony and me. It is a community where the people who read this blog are as important as the people who write and have written.
In our history we have reached and are still reaching enormous numbers of visitors. I remember Tony mailing me when I just joined in saying we got to 100.000 visits a month. Now according to the last numbers I can remember we are having some 750.000 visits on average each month. With peaks going over 800.000 I remember. Can we get to that 1.000.000 readers a month? Who knows?
What I do know is that Tony and me and all the others writers, will be working our socks off to try to write the articles you like. Up to the 5.000 Tony. Let’s keep them coming.
And thank you dear reader for your support! Without you it would have been impossible.
Cheers. Oh and for that title? You don’t have to pay your drink sitting in the living room do you? Just have another one….