Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Mon 7 May 2007

Happy Birthday to us!



It's difficult to believe, but this little blog site of ours started life exactly one year ago today. How time flies...

Back then, we were building up to the 2006 World Cup, wondering what fate lay ahead for the 32 competing teams. We had no idea who Theo Walcott was, no faith in Sven Goran Eriksson and no idea that Italy were on the verge of being crowned world champions.

To pass the time away, we selected our best players of the tournament, played Spot the Ball and asked you to vote for your favourite TV pundits and commentators. 'Big Bluffer' proved hugely popular and helped attract a wider audience of friends new and old through our first big interactive feature.

When the World Cup was over and the excitement had died down, we gave our site a sparkly new look and turned our attention to the upcoming Premiership season. We surveyed the new kits on show, predicted the outcome of the league and watched the drama unfold before us.

As ever, there was time to look back through football history and our series 'England In The 70's' gave an in-depth account of one of the most interesting and most overlooked periods the national team has known.

Nostalgia has always been one of our favourite themes and this was apparent as we looked back to our Subbuteo-playing days and started a new series looking at Obscure Kits From British Football History.

Back in the here and now, the European Championship qualifiers were underway as were the UEFA Cup and Champions League competitions. We looked at the chances of the British teams involved and put everything into context in our own distinctive fashion.

To provide a tangible sense of light and shade, we began an occasional series called 'Seven Shades of...' where two well-known figures in football were connected in a spurious fashion via five people inbetween.

Even our regular contributor, Kedge, decided to write a 'Seven Shades of...' item and this prompted us to create an email address for anyone else that wanted to write for us too. If you want to do the same, you still can by contacting us at write4us[at]spaotp[dot]com. Many of you already have and we remain incredibly grateful for all your efforts.

By November 2006, it was time to start another interactive series – You Bet. Over 10 weeks, we invited you, our loyal public, to help us raise as much money as possible for Great Ormond Street Hospital by selecting a football-related bet that we could spend our £1 on. By the new year, we'd tripled our money and most importantly, had fun generating some much-needed cash for charity.

An SPAOTP trend began with the first of our analytical articles – 'Does Your Club Hit the Net on the Web?' It focused on the good, bad and in some cases awful Premiership club websites and compared their many and varied features. This was followed by a look at how countries with large populations often fail to live up to their potential in world football in 'The India Equation.'

By now, you, our visitors, were discovering us from all over the world. Be it the United States, Romania, Singapore or New Zealand, we've been staggered by how far the word has spread about SPAOTP. To this day, we feel humble at having such a wide-spread audience and are grateful for the sense of purpose you've given us.

Most recently, another of our light-hearted series has begun – 'The Friday List of Little or No Consequence.' It's fast turning out to be our most popular feature and somehow manages to raise a smile amongst many of you despite its utter futility and lack of significance.

Fortunately our site isn't based entirely on futility. We've always aimed to entertain, educate and give a refuge for those that want more than just football news, and that's exactly what we intend to do in the future.

We've been stockpiling lots of new material which you'll be seeing on the site in the coming months looking at all possible aspects of 'the beautiful game.' Future items include our second 'Kit Legend' vote, a look at the impact foreign players make on the game plus a special European 'You Bet' for the Champions League and UEFA Cup finals.

We hope you continue to enjoy Some People Are On The Pitch as much as we enjoy putting it together. It just remains for us to give a huge thank you to everyone that's visited, left comments, written articles, linked to our site and given us all the motivation we've ever needed to carry on. You continue to inspire us to bigger and better things.

And now, as this is a day of celebration and reflection for us, why not let us know your thoughts and ideas about SPAOTP? What are your favourite bits of the site? What would you like to see more or less of? How can we make things better? Leave us a comment and let us know! Your feedback is much appreciated.

Oh, and one other thing - to celebrate our first birthday we're trying to organise a special event so that those of you within spitting distance of London can join us in person by way of a football-related get-together. Watch this space for more details...

For now though, as we head off at the start of our second year, thanks for visiting and make sure you come back soon. We are Some People On The Pitch and it's a pleasure to be of service to you.

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