Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Two Unfortunates twice unfortunate

It was a case of close but no cigar at the Football Supporters' Federation Awards last night, as the blog for which I occasionally moonlight, The Two Unfortunates, missed out on the trophies in the two categories for which it was nominated - Independent Website of the Year and Blogger of the Year. No shame in that - though there was in the fact that I queued up to get the signature of Player of the Year Luis Suarez but didn't bother to ask ex-Toon left-back Olivier Bernard for his. As the other half of Black & White & Read All Over has pointed out, I chose to shun a passionate anti-racism campaigner and yet shook hands with someone previously banned for using a racist term. I'm blaming the complimentary wine.

From a Newcastle perspective, interest was provided in the form of the opening remarks from the FSF's Toon-supporting chief executive Kevin Miles. Aside from the predictable comments about it being nice to be at the Emirates Stadium and not cursing another mauling, and about an unfamiliarity with trophies, he concluded by proposing JFK as a readymade replacement for AVB to Spurs...

Meanwhile, the Fanzine of the Year category saw True Faith up against Mackem rag A Love Supreme, but neither was victorious, the award instead going to the non-club-affiliated (and rather childishly named) Stand Against Modern Football.

The Two Unfortunates contingent were sharing our table with the duo behind the Man City podcast Bluemoon (harshly pitched against the likes of the Guardian's Football Weekly, which won) and a couple of staff who work on fan liaison at Arsenal and who were the recipients of the Away Day of the Year award. Those of a cynical nature might have been forgiven for raising an eyebrow and wondering how ticket prices for travelling fans at the Emirates squared with the FSF's own Twenty's Plenty campaign... We would have had another award-winner on our table, had Sky commentator Martin Tyler elected to sit in his designated place rather than elsewhere in the room.

While Tyler might not have been keen to rub shoulders with nerdy internet oiks like us (even ones who'd made an attempt to scrub up for the occasion), other mainstream media award-winners were quick to praise. The Torygraph's Henry Winter (Writer of the Year) and the team behind Football Weekly seized the opportunity to hail the efforts of semi-professionals and amateurs doing what they do as a labour of love. Magnanimous or patronising? In Winter's case, perhaps the latter - his comments came across as somewhat glib.

And finally a mention of the food, and in particular a main course of steak and ale pie, mash and peas that was at once a knowing nod to traditional matchday grub and a significantly superior version of it. If the pies you get at grounds were even half as good as that one, I'd be very happy indeed.

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