FOOTBALL: The last couple of weeks has seen much debate as to the pros and cons of all things social media, following the tragic death of Caroline Flack, writes Mark Hearle.
It is an area that now, more than ever, is a crucial part of the football club as we aim to keep supporters updated on events at the club, sometimes only a matter of minutes after they occur and reach out to prospective new supporters and investors to the product that is King’s Lynn’s football club.
It is, however, also on occasions a platform that is misused by people to promote views and opinions and to abuse others in a way that sometimes goes well beyond what most people nowadays would call “banter”.
When I first began at the club, the internet was only just taking shape. I recall one of my first jobs was to update the Linnets Clubcall line (hands up who remembers that?) with match reports and previews of games. That was, at that stage, modern technology.
Things of course then evolved with the advent of Facebook, Twitter and, more recently, Instagram.
The demand for information ever more quickly had arrived and it is these platforms that we now use at the club to get our news out to everyone who needs – and wants – to know what’s happening.
Our own Twitter feed – @officialkltown – has grown in quite a spectacular way over the past 18 months.
We now have more than 11,500 followers – an increase of well over 3,000 in nine months due, mainly, to the level of football we are now playing.
Twitter is a very good and quick way to get messages out speedily and is probably my favourite way of communicating.
For example, it has been ideal recently for announcing postponed games – you can have the message out in seconds, which is perfect.
The club has had a Facebook account for a similar amount of time and in the last month we have regenerated our Instagram account, which now has almost 800 followers, gained in a month.
Quite simply, you have to have all of these tools in your box to provide a tight line of communication to your supporters nowadays.
Of course we are extremely careful as to what we post as we are monitored by the leagues we play in.
A couple of years ago we were pulled up over a very slight questioning of a referee’s decision in a game. That meant a letter explaining our actions had to be written to save us from a league fine, which thankfully it did.
We are policed as a club, which isn’t a bad thing because football is a heat of the moment thing and sometimes you do have to control those fingers.
We witnessed what can happen when social media isn’t used correctly a couple of years ago when a person used the platform to go well beyond what could be called acceptable criticism of a player’s performance, They were subsequently banned from attending football at The Walks for the remainder of the season.
On that occasion the offender turned himself into us and, as a club, we dealt with it.
It’s not as simple as that always as fake accounts do exist, meaning it’s virtually impossible to track down some people if they do go beyond the line.
I find that sometimes people forget that others do have feelings and at times things are said when, on reflection, they really shouldn’t have been.
Sometimes, and quite rarely from experience, comments are made and it’s genuine hatred – be it towards an individual or the club.
What I do find remarkable is that this great game that we call football is just that, a game! An entertainment business, call it what you will, but still a game.
People would maybe do well to think of that every now and then.
• Hopefully the weather will perk itself up in time for the visit of Southport to The Walks tomorrow.
I think everyone is more than fed up of the rain, which has been falling in large volumes since September.
The test the Sandgrounders provide will be a tough one as we were exceptional when we won up at their place earlier in the season.
The weather has done us no favours and we face a lot of games in a short space of time over the next few weeks.
I also ask that your excellent support shown over the season can be continued as we enter the last seven weeks of the regular season.
The lads have played themselves into a great position and will need all of the support you can give as the season reaches an exciting finale.
Weather is winner for seniors but others beat rain
FOOTBALL: It was another blank week for West Norfolk’s three senior teams. King’s Lynn Town’s National League North match at Altrincham was called off because of a waterlogged pitch and both Downham Town and the Linnets Reserves saw their Thurlow Nunn League matches against Great Yarmouth Town and Norwich CBS respectively postponed due to the bad weather. Wednesday’s scheduled encounter between the Lynn second string and Diss Town was also off.
A new date for the trip to Altrincham is still to be arranged but the Linnets have got slots for their previously called off matches: Tuesday, March 3, Leamington away; Tuesday, March 10, Bradford (Park Avenue) home; and Monday, March 16, Gloucester City away.
There was, however, still plenty of local action that did beat the weather on Saturday. The West Norfolk derby in the semi-final of the Hadley & Ottaway Anglian Combination’s Cyril Ballyn Cup went in favour of Heacham, who beat hosts Castle Acre Swifts 3-0 to secure a place in the final against Loddon United at the FDC Bowthorpe on April 16. Victory came courtesy of goals from John Flanagan 2 and Brad Key.
In Division Two, Gayton United shared the spoils at Brandon Town where Chez Rust’s goal gave them a 1-1 draw, their third consecutive single-pointer.
Gayton Reserves slipped to a 4-0 defeat at home to Beccles Town Reserves in Division Four, and there was a 3-2 defeat for Downham Town Reserves against Hemsby.
Goals from Max Goodrun 2 and James Howe ensured all the points went to AFC Lynn Napier in a 3-0 win over West Norfolk rivals Narborough in Division Five North.
AFC Walpole marched on in the Cambridgeshire FA Junior Challenge Cup with a 3-1 win against Swavesey Institute. Lewis Clayton and substitutes Antonio Matos and Joe Reed were on target.
In the North Cambs Junior Cup final, the Honey Badgers will play Parson Drove at Wisbech on April 8.
A hat-trick of hat-tricks ensured Outwell Swifts made a triumphant return to Cambs League action with a 9-2 romp at former neighbours Wisbech Town Acorns.
Jack Brand, Aaron McKenna and Luke Plumb all found their way on to the Division 2B scoresheet with trebles against the team previously known as Upwell Town.