April 8th, 2012
A while ago I withdrew from anything public regarding Rovers, the result of a threat by some prominent supporters to out my “dirty little secret” and whilst I’ve enjoyed my sabbatical, it’s now time to clear the air, move on and go back to trying to make a difference.
Now, don’t get excited, I’m not going to name names or make private email conversations public, the people involved know who they are and have to live with it. This isn’t about settling scores or winning battles, it’s simply about revealing the info they tried to blackmail me with, so they no longer have any power and so I can go back to trying to make a difference. Doing it this way means the organisations I back can decide whether they want me involved or not. In return for keeping the details private, I’m hoping those involved let it lie and not turn this into another leg of an ongoing battle between fans who should be working together.
So, what’s my dirty little secret? Well, whilst I remained publicly very very neutral on the subject of protests (until by blog post calling for them to stop, which wasn’t particular critical of the protests that had gone before), initially I was privately quite supportive of Glen’s efforts (back when it was just Glen). I genuinely believed my main involvement was to ensure they were well organised and peaceful (i.e. not a repeat of the seasons before’s protests), but once the accusations started flying I went back and re-read all my initial emails and yes, much to my own surprise, I was quite supportive and even gave encouragement.
People accused me of being before behind the protests (I wasn’t) and of trying to undermine the protests (I wasn’t), I did initially think fan pressure would result in Kean being replaced with a better manager, but I soon realised (as I detailed in my last blog post) that other than bringing our plight to everyone’s attention (which it needed doing) our unique predicament meant they’d never succeed in their initial aims. I took abuse from both sides on this, I had people connected with the club accusing me of being behind the protest and I had protesters claiming I wasn’t welcome as I was “anti protest”. Funny old world isn’t it.
So, there it is. I was initially quite supportive. Not much to blackmail me over was it?
However, now that’s out there, it does mean I can get back involved with various Rovers groups without fear of my previous connection being used again them (if they want me).
Given the chance, would I do things differently? Of course I would, I now know who to trust and who not, who is genuinely fighting for a cause and who is just fighting, who wants what’s best for the club and who has other motives. But hindsight is a wonderful thing. I made some bad calls, I’m far from blameless and because of this whole episode I’ve lost a lot a genuine friendship. But I still stand my ground and I will continue to do what I think it best for the club and I reserve the right to change my mind as the situation and information available changes.
Why now? Well, now is the time for us to be working together, fighting for the same cause, rather than trying to damage each other’s efforts.
February 5th, 2012
I know this post will upset a lot of people and it’ll probably put a lot of strain on my relationships with many friends, but despite being as upset as everyone else at the current mess Rovers are in, the protests HAVE to stop now.
My rationale for that is nothing to do with supporting the team, many of the protesters are the most ardent supporters I know. It has nothing to do with giving the owners or manager another chance, both I feel have gone far too far to ever be worthy of any redemption.
However, we have to take stock of what we actually want. “Venky’s Out” as a sole aim is stupid, if we don’t have some kind of owner, we’re in administration, simple as that. So the real aim is “Venky’s Out and replaced with a better alternative”. So, we’re now looking at attracting new owners. The same is true of the manager and those parts of the club management team people feel are detrimental to the club. Getting rid of them isn’t enough, we need to replace them with better.
So, how do we attract such people? We’ve got to become an attractive proposition. If Rovers were a normal business, then a significantly low price would be sufficient, but that doesn’t work in football, everyone knows it’s a money pit, so we have to become attractive in other ways.
We don’t have a lot to start with, we’ve never been a press favourite (despite the traditional easy-sell of “plucky underdog fighting above it’s weight”), we’ve gone from having a highly respected senior management team to becoming the industry joke (something I blame on the owners management and communication style and a small number of people that influence them, NOT the vast majority of club staff who stayed) and we’ve got fans, who have (I acknowledge, unfairly) been portrayed in the media as vitriolic troublemakers who have unfairly targeted a manager and his family (few outside Rovers know the truth about that), then made two seemingly innocent brothers scared to visit their own club.
The fans love to talk about it being their club. Well, we need to act like it, we need to put our club in the shop window and make us an appealing proposition as possible. WE have to sell the club.
Now, in the early days the protests served a purpose, they brought attention to our plight. From then on it was a gamble, they’d either force Venky’s into finding a buyer as quick as possible and shift the club for a bargain price, or they’d force them into digging their heals in and watch the club die, rather than fund it. Nobody expected the fans would lose that gamble, but it seems we did. Hindsight’s a wonderful thing, but if I’d had trusted what I knew of Indian business culture and did the research on Madame vs PETA a little earlier, I could have predicted the result, but I have to admit it didn’t dawn on me until long after the damage had been done. (Edit – Additional: I acknowledge there could have been a third option, that re cause the owner to “man up” an re-engage with the club/fans)
Now, I don’t for a second expect that if we promised to give up the protests and gave the owners an easy ride then the owners would suddenly start communicating, put the money into club they promised and we’d see the brothers at games again. We’ve gone way past that. The Rao’s are a lost cause, we need to stop focusing on getting them to sell, nothing we can do will influence this. Instead we need everything possible to convince potential buyers that they’ll get our full backing and we won’t suddenly break out the yellow and black banners the first time we hit a bit of a rough patch.
With that in mind I started a thread on BRFCS asking people to pledge what they’d do if we got new owners, but we also need more ideas of things we can do. But most of all we need to get smart with the PR, we need to promote all the things that are great with club, we need to celebrate our heritage, we need to shout about those things that still aren’t broken but most of all we need to stop wasting time and energy protesting to people who have proved they’d rather let the club die than give in and turn all the energy, organisation and enthusiasm into actually promoting the club to the press and the world at large. We need to show what is left that is good about the club, in the best light possible.
Yes the club should be doing this, but for whatever reason, Ewood has become almost as silent as the owners, so WE must take up the challenge.
It’s also a campaign EVERYONE can get behind. The protests have divided the fan base, not on their intended aims, but on whether the ends justify them means. Now is the time to move, to ignore the owners (as they are now doing to us) and reclaim our club, get Ewood bouncing again for US not them. Make it somewhere we’re proud of being associated with, not embarrassed with.
September 13th, 2011
As it seems to be the fashionable thing at the moment to write open letters, I thought I’d write one myself. But this isn’t born out of frustration, it isn’t aimed to bringing about change, it isn’t even to offer an alternative viewpoint. Nor do I claim to represent anyone bar myself, though I suspect I may speak for the majority for Rovers fans.
It’s simply a message to the players.
You’ve probably noticed a certain amount of discontent amongst the fans at the moment, you’ve possibly heard about fans vocalising their dissatisfaction both in the national press and via a protest march before the Arsenal game. Whilst I have not been involved with these protests I do understand the frustration that has lead to them, but one thing I think the vast majority of fans want to be absolutely clear about is this is simply an issue with the manager and his exceptionally poor results on the pitch, NOT the players. Most fans, if not all, will acknowledge we now have a very strong squad capable of great things, however a significant section of the fans feel that Steve Kean is not the man to drive you to them (no pun intended).
So, I urge you all this weekend, if Ewood is a little more hostile than normal, if there is booing around the ground, if you hear calls for Kean Out, this ISN’T aimed at the players. I’ve yet to find a single person who blames our current league position of the team itself. We all know we’ve got a talented squad capable of far more than a single point at this stage. You, the players, continue to have the fans full support and we feel it’s important you know this, even if some people’s frustration with the manager does spill over during the game this weekend.
Come On You Blues.
Many readers will realise that I’m one of the admins on BRFCS.com, but as the site is remaining neutral on the issue of the protest, I felt it only right I post this on my personal website instead, for fear of it being misconstrued as and official BRFCS statement
This post is (c) 2011 G. Pegden and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior permission
September 8th, 2011
It looks like it’s time to dust off my old laser pointer as I’m going to be co-hosting training sessions again! Back when I was at Visionsoft I hosted over 100 session over the years (the vast majority on my own) and I used to really enjoy them (ok, I didn’t enjoy 5am starts and 600 mile daily round trips so much).
The good news is, in an attempt to grow the consultancy side of the business, we’re hosting a number of small group, low cost, training sessions, on everything from PCI-DSS compliance to brand security, content monetization to conversion optimization. But most importantly, I get to take off my sales hat and actually get involved with the teaching.
I’ve been keeping my hand in a little by talking at events like Barcamps and Northern Bloggers, but this’ll be my first time doing it for paying people in a couple of years and I’m very very excited.
My first one is “Brand Security”, it’s basic online security aimed at people responsible for things like WordPress websites, twitter accounts and facebook fan pages of other companies (i.e. digital agencies and web design studios), who don’t have much of a background in IT security and we’ll be talking about things like hardening WordPress, XSS attacks, pass phrase management (especially between multiple users), threat modelling, as well as how to clean up after you are compromised.
If you want to come along, it’s £185 for a 1/2 day course, held at Calls Wharf in the centre of Leeds on 28th Sept. More info at http://brandsec.codingfutures.co.uk/ . I have to admit, I’m really really excited about training again!
September 6th, 2011
I’m going to break with tradition at write about work related stuff on my personal blog, so if the words WordPress, Membership and Plugin mean nothing to you (or they do and you don’t care), now if the time to stop reading.
This post has come about because almost every day, somebody asks on Warrior Forum (a hang out of online marketers and bedroom entrepreneurs) “What’s the best Membership Plugin to get“. Now I could just do a review site, but I won’t partly because loads already exist, partly because I sell membership plugins so I’m biased, but mainly because IT’S THE WRONG QUESTION TO ASK.
September 4th, 2011
The idea of Tribes For Forums was devised minutes before the start of LeedsHack 2011 by Toby and myself, although it’s origins are much older. Through our involvement of several large forums (including BRFCS) and some very unique one (such as Mono) we’d spent many hours discussing how to address some of the long term problems facing online forums.
One analogy always made with forums is the pub, but one part that never fits the analogy is in a pub situation, as the size of the group chatting grows, it eventually splinters into subgroups, often aligned upon common interests or demographics, so each conversation is kept between a manageable size of participants. However on a forum, even though these groups can be artificially created (breaking discussions down by subject for example) the problem is the users with sufficient time can still join in (and even dominate) every conversation. Imagine in the pub situation if the “pub bore” (see the Fast Show’s Billy Bleech for what I mean ) could be involved with every single conversation, all at once, he’d love it, everyone else would hate it.
April 13th, 2011
We have both local elections and a referendum coming up in the UK and whilst I worked as a Poll Clerk at a polling station for the general election I am no longer eligible (as I am now a member of a political party), therefore I am no longer obliged to stay silent on the subject of POLLING TELLERS and how to help rid our elections of them.
Polling Tellers are normally the first people you see when you get to a polling station, they will normally ask you for your voter number, write it down, then point to inside where seeming the the process is repeated. What a lot of people don’t realise is these people are not part of the polling team and you have no legal obligation to speak to them. What they do is examine the numbers given to spot whether people they people they believe they know the voting preferences of (e.g. party members) have voted yet. I have no issue with what they do (in fact, anything that encourages anyone to vote is a good thing) but I take exception to the fact that in a lot of cases they masquerade as officials and rely on people’s ignorance of their purpose to obtain the data.
March 26th, 2011
I’ve just got back from BarCamp Barsnley which whilst being a great day with some great speakers and excellently organised (more on that later) felt a little odd. I realised at the opening welcome talk why this was, almost everyone there was a first time BarCamper and almost none of the usual suspects were around (you know, the hardcore that attend almost every UK BarCamp and are often involved with organising them). It was also the smallest BarCamp I’ve attended (I suspect it peaked at around 50 people) That said, this didn’t detract from the event, in fact it probably helped make it better, for once I didn’t miss too many sessions I really wanted to see and I actually got a real chance to talk to people.
November 15th, 2010
Whilst I’m fairly new to geek events, this wasn’t my first BarCamp (having been to BarCamp Blackpool in the summer) but I still didn’t know quite what to expect. BarCamps are “unconferences”, where geeks get together at give short talks (normally 20-30mins or so) on any subject they are knowledgable on, from computer security to cross stitch, social networking to sushi. Nothing is pre-scheduled before the weekend, it’s all done at the venue by posting a description of your talk on a grid of times and rooms
(much more after the jump)
WordPress Membership by Your Members
November 7th, 2010
Well, I’m back from LeedsHack and I’m a special kind of tired/drained that actually feels like jetlag and focusing on simple things is tricky. But what a brilliant weekend.