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Swiss Ramble Interview

Swiss Ramble was nominated for the Best Football Niche Site award while Swiss Rambler was nominated for the Best Football Blogger award. We asked him to talk about the awards, how 2010 had turned out for Swiss Ramble, future plans and of course, who he would vote for in the awards. Here’s the interview:

1) You’ve been nominated for Best Football Blogger & Best Football Niche Site, chosen by both fans and industry experts, how does it feel?

My initial reaction was one of surprise, especially as I have been nominated for two awards, but I am now basking in a proud, warm glow – a bit like the child in the old Ready Brek advert. I feel truly honoured to be mentioned in the same breath as some really excellent bloggers. It’s as if Christmas has come early this year.

2) What kind of year has 2010 been for Swiss Ramble?

It started very quietly with only the proverbial friends and family reading my blog, but ever since I started to focus on writing about football finances, the site has really taken off. Originally, I thought that this would be a niche market, but there is clearly more interest in this area than I had imagined. Very few people write about the business of football in detail and fans seem to really appreciate being able to understand what is going on at their club.

3) What do you think has been the key factor in your success?

I try very hard to explain the finances of football in a way that is both comprehensible and entertaining. Obviously, the subject is potentially fairly dry, so I do try to inject a little humour now and then. As it’s a blog, I can go into more detail than the newspapers, because they can’t afford to dedicate so much space to such a topic. This means that my articles are able to explain the figures in a way that most people can easily understand.

In addition, I have a lot of interaction with my readers, both on the blog and Twitter, where I try to answer any questions they might have. In fact, the Twitter community has been very supportive, not to mention inspirational, and a few RTs and #FFs by some of the big hitters there have made a real difference.

Actually, I’ve also been helped a great deal by the so-called “old” media, where a couple of links on newspaper websites have significantly boosted traffic, such as when the Guardian listed my article on Inter as one of their “favourite things of the week”.

4) If you were casting a vote for your any of your fellow nominees, who would it be?

That’s tricky, as I enjoy reading so many football blogs, but I’m sure that your readers don’t want anyone sitting on the fence. So, for Best Football Blogger, I would vote for Zonal Marking, which I consider to be the most influential football blog around. It highlighted an area that was poorly served in the past by the mainstream media, namely football tactics, and has had such an impact that Michael’s work is now regularly featured in the press – and deservedly so.

For Best Football Niche Website, I can’t look beyond the superb European Football Weekends, written by the amiable Danny Last. I always read that blog and it never fails to bring a smile to my face. If Danny didn’t continually torture me with references to my favourite British beer (I live in Switzerland, as my blog’s name implies), then it would be perfect.

5) What’s next for Swiss Ramble?

More of the same, really. There’s no grand plan. The blog is just a bit of fun for me, so I will keep writing about the business of football as long as I still enjoy it. Each article takes a lot of planning and research, but I’m happy to do it, as it combines something I love (football) with something that I know about (finance).

These days I get many requests from fans to write about their club, so I also feel a strange sense of responsibility. Almost all of the feedback has been very positive, which makes all the effort worthwhile, and I’ve met some wonderful people from all over the world through the blog.

6) Have you seen the Castrol Football Rankings? What do you think about them, and who do you think is the best footballer in the world at the moment?

As a numbers guy, I like the concept of the Castrol Football Rankings and admire the objectivity. What’s interesting to me is that the rankings don’t just highlight the obvious stars like Messi and Ronaldo (though they are indeed the top two), but they also feature lesser know talents like Lucas Barrios, the Dortmund striker, who is currently in sixth place. That said, it’s difficult to look beyond Messi as best footballer in the world, especially with El Clasico so fresh in the memory.

You can vote for Swiss Ramble and Swiss Rambler in the following categories:

Best Football Blogger
Best Football Niche Site

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