Northwich Guardian

Hi all.

Believe it or not (!) I am actually a frequent visitor to this Forum to check on what Albion fans are saying about their club. Not only that, but quite often there is comment on the coverage given to Witton by the town’s two newspapers. From that, it’s easy to pick up a fairly strong anti-Guardian sentiment among Wittoners.

It’s something I’m keen to address. I have my own views on our Witton coverage, but frankly that counts for very little.

By far the largest number of sports letters written to us are from Witton fans (and no, WHS doesn’t send them all!). This week we are launching a new letters and emails section that will ensure EVERY single note sent to the sportsdesk is printed in the next edition of the paper.

Of course this alone isn’t enough to change some fans’ views. I’d be interested to read some comment on what you guys think of how we cover Witton and where you think we can do better.

U could start by putting witton on the back page every now and again, even when witton win by 5 and 6 goals still v*** seem to get the headlines with defeats…?? ???

There is no doubt that Witton have been treated as the poor relations by the Northwich Guardian over the last few years with far more coverage given to Northwich, this is I can only assume because they have been playing at a higher level than us since we ran into financial hardship when our benefactor walked away, but this has never stopped The Chronical and their (in my opinion) more even minded chief sports editor giving both clubs pretty even coverage. If the guardian are willing to present a more evenly balanced amount of space to both teams I for one would be willing to start buying it again (not at the Chrons expense I might add). Witton currently have the best team we’ve had in years and the most willing manager who is always prepared to speak to the press to help promote our club. We do need the press there is no doubt about that and this team deserves more back page exposure and I’m certain that the ‘anti-guardian’ feel that you get on here would soon go if everyone felt we were getting that equality. Witton Albion are finally on the up again with lots and lots of hard work done and still to do by the owners of our club… THE FANS, would be great if the local press would come along for the ride too.

As some one who knows the Guardians chief sport editor i can vouch for him in saying he aint biased as a supporter as i remember the school days as he came down with me and a couple of our other mates to watch the ALBION.
But if we could get a few back pages here and there we aint asking for a lot we aint as greedy as s**m across the canal. Cheers r kid Andy oh and whats goiong down in Italy? ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile:

Have you not found a village yet Crouchy??

My main gripe with the Guardian was 2 weeks ago when we go to kendal and win 5 - 1 on the back of a 6 - 0 home win the week before, yet the main feature on the back page was ‘Johnny Allan breaks his leg’. And not only was that the main back-page feature, but there was also a further column on the back-page saying how gutted everyone was about it!!! Whereas Witton’s excellent away result had a small mention on the inside page.

Thanks fellas.

It might help if I say a bit more.

When I took over the post in the summer there was a lengthy debate behind the scenes (involving people higher than me I might add!) about the back page of the Northwich Guardian. The outcome of that discussion was that there had to move away from ‘all-football’ back pages. The inevitable casualty of that (rightly or wrongly) is Witton. To temper that I was given an extra inside page so that every week we carry seven pages of sport. I’ve moved our Winsford United coverage to be only in our Winsford edition, which has freed up more inside column inches for Albion.

The club now has more space in the paper than it ever did, except that space is exclusively inside! I agree your arguments about back page space have merit, and certainly is something I should look at.

The flipside to that, as Picko alluded to, is Vics.
At this moment in time they are two divisions higher than Albion and the respective average attendances stand at around 900 and 300 respectively. It is unrealistic to expect a 50-50 split on coverage. It isn’t going to happen.

And yes, Crouchy is right, as a kid I went to a damn sight more Witton matches than I did Northwich.

One final thing, Jim Vince is a tremendous ambassador for the club in his relations with the press. I try to get as much in from him as possible every week as he really is pulling out every stop to get Witton on the map, both on and off the pitch.

I feel strongly about this issue, which is why I wanted to post on here.

Keep the comments coming.

What a refreshing posting!

As one who has criticised in the past (only re the back page) it is great that Andy has come on hear and asked the readers views.

I happen to think the inside coverage of Witton is superb, in colour, well laid out, plenty of info, and with no mention of Middlewich Town RESERVES!!!

V*cs have hogged the back pages as much for their off field ‘activities’ as on the field activities but it remains a fact that they have 3 times the support we do, and as such would espect more column inches.

But as we all know the balance of power has changed in the past, and who knows what the future holds.

This team is the best we have had since Stan Allans, and if we keep the squad and management together then with the help and support of the local press we can look forward to some good times ahead. Not to mention increased attendances.

hi andy, its nice to know that we at witton might be getting a fair crack of the whip
at last off the guardian.
but i will wait a while before i reinstate my weekly order, which was cancelled last spring.
carnt weight to see your report of the witton-vics game.

Hey Andy,

As your mate, i appreciate just how limited you are by your bosses as to what you can and can’t do regarding the coverage of the teams.
It is frustrating that NV do get more of the back-page inches and obviously i’d love more coverage of the albion - including the occasional back-page inches - but i understand why this is often difficult for you.

i think you’re doing a great job within the limitations you have.

After that vote of confidence, you can expect the sack within a few days - lol!


Admire Andy Simpson’s initiative to come on here and ask about how he can "Heal the wounds" as it were. I think what would be fair is Witton getting the back page at least once every 4 weeks but maybe upping that when Vics play some less important game and Witton play a more significant game like on Saturday against Marine or a team in the top six of our league. A look at the fixtures should allow Andy to plan this several weeks in advance. Appreciate for instance that Vics will require the back page when they next play in the FA trophy or perhaps when Mr Connett opens another new restaraunt!! At the moment Witton are on the up with the best football management team in northern non league soccer, the best team I’ve seen at Wincham since Stanley Allan’s (and he bought that if you remember Colne), the best set of fans this side of the Weaver, Dane, Mersey or Ship Canal, and a chairman and board who are actively backing the whole package. The whole thing is on a high at the moment and the place is buzzing just like the old days.So Andy congratulations for trying to improve the coverage and I hope you’ve got some ideas from all this. I hope you can do something for Witton’s coverage as there are one hell of a lot of people working so hard for the club both up front and behind the scenes and they deserve more recognition!

Thanks everyone.

I’m on holiday this week so don’t shoot me down for what they may (or may not) have done with the paper this week!

I’m back in on Monday tho.

TONEEE, the Witton-Vics match report has been online in full since last Wednesday morning.

You can read it at [url=][/url]

As the game is eight days old by the time tomorrow’s paper comes out, there is only very limited space for a mention in the paper.

Just one fact you seem to be overlooking Andy. Yes Vics do get 8-900 some Saturdays and we do average just under 300, but our 300 is virtually all Wittoners, hardly any away support, whilst Vics get up to 3-400 away suuporters. When thye played Farsley in the Trophy the gate was less than 600, why? yjey don’t bring anyone with them. I would hazard a guess that should both teams appear in the Northern Conference next season, a distinct possibility, the gates of the two clubs would not be disimilar.
One final gripe against both papers. The MOST important game for Mid-Cheshire took place the other Wednesday when the Mid-Cheshire Boys, ALL local lads played Nottingham in the Quarter Final All England Cup. The adverts for the match in both papers was vastly overshadowed by unimportant news on Vics’ trip down south and how hard it had been on the supporters!!! The Boys deserved better.

andy, just read your match report on the net.

Nice to see we make the back page this week with some comments from Jim Vince. Maybe Andy being on holiday has resulted in better coverage for the Albion!!

Have to applaud Andy for this post - it was almost asking for criticism!

It is really important to build a good relationship with local media. Jim is especially good at media relations and long may this continue throughout the club as a whole. The Guardian is there to write as they see fit and we may not always agree with their interpretation of a game. However, a good relationship with them is important, it is a shop window for the club and positive relations will help attract more supporters.

The atmosphere and level of support for Witton is currently riding high and we should be looking to capitalise on this. As an example, if we have no match sponsor for a given game, then it may sound daft but we could give this free to the Guardian and run a promotion with them for free kids entrance/discount family ticket, etc. We promote them, they promote us. Give Andy a ‘Reporters View’ in the programme each week? If he has the time and desire to do this it would be another cross promotion.

We have a good chance to grow our crowds in the run for promotion and building closer links would be really useful - we have to make Witton a nice club to deal with for local media and local business (the opposite of our neighbours).

Our results and performances will themselves increase the coverage and column inches. 16 goals in three games is a great example of good news and maybe things like an interview piece with Rob Lloyd, etc would be appropriate.

Anyway enough rambling, well done Andy on the post (i turned this more commercial than editorial), but whatever the basis of relationship it is excellent that you were bothered enough to make the effort and reflected by the replies posted here.

Thanks for the further comments.

It’s great everyone has tried to be constructive. Coming on and saying the Guardian is sh!t wouldn’t have got us very far so I’m chuffed fans bothered to post their views in the way they have done.

The_Wincham_Rabbit is right, I fully expected criticism. But that’s a healthy outcome. If nobody was bothered then nobody would have replied to this thread. It’s heartening that clearly Wittoners do care.

I can’t please everyone all of the time and I won’t try to. I’ve got a lot of food for thought from this thread and will, in the coming weeks and months, try to improve things. The_Wincham_Rabbit made some interesting suggestions.

Sponsor-Link have already approached me to see if I would write some stuff for the new official website. If we can find a mutually beneficial way of doing that then I’ll be up for it. Those who do buy the paper will know we’ve set up a voucher scheme for Vics’ home games where kids get a discount. There’s absolutely no obstruction to us setting up a similar scheme with Albion.

One final thing.

WHS, I have to correct you on the gates situation. I have covered every single Vics home match this season and the best travelling support has been from York City (250). Not sure where you got the 300-400 figure from as that’s way off. Having said that, I’ve been surprised at just how poor some of the travelling support has been in the Conference. The southern-based sides bring 50 max.

Thanks again for everybody’s feedback so far. Feel free to carry on commenting.

The biggest thing Andy is getting people through the turnstiles again, one thing I agree with WHS is Vics are getting better gates because of the league they are playing in not because of the the away support but mainly due to the quality of the opposition. Its a fact that when both teams have played in the same league the average attendance has been very similar for both clubs. If you drink in any pubs in Northwich probably 75% of people will say thay support either Vics or Witton but probably out of that number only 10% go to games! We even have some people in the town that go and watch FC United even though they are a new non league side from a completly different area? I can understand anyone wanting to support say Man United and Witton or Vics and treat Utd as their main team but to support another non league team is in my eyes crazy. We have had league attendances in the past that equal Vics even though we have been 2 devisions lower and hopefully if the message gets across (via the press) that we do have a team worth watching then things will pick up again.

As said earlier respect to Andy for posting on the fourm.

Both Witton and the Guardian could benefit from some sort of promo. The voucher idea is a good one but with Witton already giving under 16’s
free entry with a full paying adult any other voucher scheme would mean us giving away even more, which is something we can little afford.

Obviously we need to increase our attendances and part of Andy’s role will be to help increase Guardian sales by appealing to a wider audience I believe further voucher schemes would do little in the long run to help either.

However if the coverage in the Guardian is going to improve even further (as I think it has since Andy started) then Witton fans need to see it.

How about one Saturday the Guardian provide Witton with enough complimentary papers so one can be handed out to each paying adult.

Now this isn’t me trying to get a free paper!! I subscribe to the Guardian on a yearly basis which means it is cheaper than the price paid in the newsagents and it’s delivered early Wednesday morning for free.

If subscription forms were handed out with the complimentary paper it may encourage people to sign up.

As Andy said V**s average attendances are 3 times ours so they are going to buy more papers than we do however if the percentage of Wittoners buying the Guardian is increased by this sort of idea then the number of column inches we get could also increase.

By gaining the extra coverage in the paper might just help remind the stayaways just what they are missing :wink:

Andy, if you are right about the travelling Conference support how come less than 600 saw Vics beat Farsley in a vital FA Trophy game?

Because to Conference sides the FA Trophy ISN’T vital. From what i can gather from Scum-Supporting friends, most teams are taking 100 - 200 to Vics. Rushden didn’t take that many when they went there. There are probably about 500 - 600 Vics fans at each game. We’d probably get the same if we were in that league with a new stadium. As said previously, the support in the town is split pretty evenly, infact most people i know favour Witton. Alot of people wont come and watch football at our level though.