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With those pesky internationals out the way, the Premier League was back in action and it was a weekend full of drama.
Social media is in turmoil. Australian news and everything that hangs off it has lost a limb and less people are being funnelled into the usual sources of information. We’re going to have to generate our own news.
You saw the game on Optus this morning, you can post something on Facebook and later in the day that will be something worth reading for your waking friends on the opposite time zones. They comment and their friends see it, and all of a sudden it’s news.
It’s not as easy as that though. The viewpoint of the Australian EPL viewer has long been considered inferior to the local supporter, the die-hard, 30-plus-games-a-season fan who is immersed in the local and national English media and sees the games first-hand at the stadium.
How could you possibly keep up with the news on the ground when you’re so far away, breaking stories happening through the night when you’re asleep?
How could you know which player has done the most work when you can only see what the cameras feed you?
How can you get the full picture without the rumours and the half-truths that circulate in the workplace or in the pub, and the stories that the newspapers wouldn’t touch for fear of being hauled across the coals?
Well, that’s all changed, hasn’t it?
With the UK in lockdown, the active supporters spending their weekends at home hooked up to Sky or BT Sports, and the internet playing an even bigger role in everyday life has instantly levelled the playing field.
There are little things that the cameras don’t pick up, like a player with his hands on his hips, failing to chase back, the constant running of athletic wing backs, the positioning of the defence and the goalkeeper when the ball is up the other end of the park. And there are the antics on the bench.
But we only see what we see on our TV. Now the hardcore home-and-away fan, usually able to judge the mood of the supporters on game day, feeling the conditions and knowing the real strength of the breeze, is hamstrung like the rest of us watching on TV.
A view expressed from a fan in another part of the world is now the same as a view from a fan in England. Only the dedicated football media have access to games live, so we rely on them more and more to give us the scoop from the stadium, but they’re too wrapped up in having to do their job.
What an opportunity for us distant sports fans to become more involved and more engaged in the social media commentary of games. We see what everyone else sees, albeit at a different part of the day when we are in a totally different mindset to the local fan.
A 5am kick-off when you’re feeding the baby, or a 7am start when you’re getting the kids ready for school, gives you a different perspective, and a clearer view of what is happening on the field. You’re more switched on. You’ve probably not been on the cans.
Conversely, watching a 2am kick-off, you might be just in from a night out or waking up bleary-eyed after a few hours slumber. It is a different perspective again to the fan watching the game in prime time. Your opinion matters. Your comments are as valid as the next fan.
Use this time to enjoy social media for what it is. It is a means of keeping up with the latest chatter, and an Aussie commenting on the latest Liverpool defeat has seen as much as the fan watching on his telly from his Merseyside home.
So, don’t be shy. It won’t last forever. Make an impression. People will eventually go back to games in England and if we don’t share our views and ideas now, our TV-based opinions will be once again consigned to the ‘whatever’ pile.