So you want to know the story of City Watch, do you? No? Move on to our latest scouting report in that case.
Seriously though, as City Watch hits the 50,000 follower milestone on Twitter I thought it would be a good time to speak a little about the story up until now, and what could lie ahead.
It all started in the summer of 2011. That’s the one – Agüero, Nasri, Liam Gallagher & Beady Eye unveiling the new kit. An exciting summer for City fans, though not so much for this one who needed something to distract himself. City were doing some incredibly innovative things on social media and YouTube, but there was little to no unofficial coverage on the growing platform known as Twitter and I thought, why not post the news I find and see what happens?
So I did that and people followed. And more followed. Suddenly, hundreds of followers turned into a thousand. People began to rely on City Watch for daily news and match coverage without the official spin. On 25 Aug 2012, the account hit 5,000 followers. On 23 Apr 2013, that became 10,000 followers. On 6 May 2016, the 50,000 follower mark was reached. It may not seem a lot to a United or Liverpool supporter, or any club that has had decades of success to build a global fan base, but for a growing club with ‘no fans’ and an ’empty stadium’, it isn’t bad.
After years of daily coverage with no breaks, I had to call it quits in 2015. Many believed City Watch was a team effort, but it wasn’t – it was just me until that point. Working at night had given me time to devote to my love of Manchester City during the day, but the burnout was real. After the announcement, offers rolled in to buy the account or collaborate. I couldn’t let go of what I had built, though, and had friends in my ear saying bring it back, make something more out of it. After much thought, I decided to give it a go.
And so City Watch returned, this time with a podcast and towards the end of 2015, this website. The difference this time is while I’m still the guy behind it, I’ve been joined by an amazing group of people helping me out, fronted by my good friend Lloyd. This has allowed City Watch to expand, and now we have a hugely popular podcast, averaging well over 2,000 plays per episode, and a growing website. Graham Hunter, Henry Winter, Simon Mullock and Gab Marcotti are among the guests we’ve been privileged to have on the podcast.
Since launching late last year, the site has received well over 700,000 page views, with nothing to drive it but Twitter and Facebook. Mike Summerbee, Franny Lee, Shaun Goater, Trevor Sinclair and others have all kindly offered their words to the site. Around fifteen people contribute regularly or occasionally, with the site boasting over 420 articles in its five-month existence. It’s now a team effort and with so much variety of content, the feedback is more mixed than before. Some believe we’re too negative, but that isn’t the intention. A season with fifteen defeats for a club of our standards and resources is never going to be met with cheers and merrymaking, and we all hope there will be more to smile about next season with Pep arriving.
I’m extremely proud of what City Watch has become with no funding whatsoever but that from my own pocket. What lies ahead? Our main priority right now is to make the website even bigger and better. We’re introducing new ideas and features regularly. There is also a demand for more podcasts, which we may explore soon. There are ambitious ideas we have in mind but they would require more time, people, and money. We all want to make City Watch the very best it can be and are trying to achieve that, little by little. We value your ideas and feedback, so send them to us if you have any.
As you may have noticed, City Watch is free and as mentioned, paid for out of pocket. There has never been a single advert on the website, although this may change in the coming months. Overheads are increasing and a lot of time goes into this. In the meantime, if you enjoy what we do and want more still, please consider a donation.