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To what extent has the changing nature of football media and fan culture impacted player mentality in England?

By fluffyguffy
CONTENTS
Introduction Social Media Journalism Discrimination Conclusion
Introduction
During the latter half of the 20th Century and early 21st Century football has been greatly affected by the growing technological and social changes in the world. The extent to which innovations such as social media, the internet etc. has changed the nature of football media and fan culture is a subject up for debate. It is necessary to analyse aspects of fan culture and their interactions on social media and the nature of media representation in order to answer the question and understand the impact on the sport. The reality is that while the game of football has for a long time kept to its traditional values and regulations when played the external factors that affect the player’s lives have increasingly become harder to deal with in terms of pressure and exposure. I believe that a player’s morale can be a big factor in their performance and that combined with the psychologies and philosophies behind game management is important to winning games in football. Among other reasons I think this is what has led to the self-destruction of England’s national football team in terms of performance. The expectations of England in the world cup and Euros are significantly different to their final results. Having won the 1966 world cup as the home nation and since failing to achieve major success has undoubtedly put more pressure on the following generations of the the national football team. According to Simon Kuper, after England exited in the group stages of the 1958 world cup (Simon Kuper, Financial Times, 2006) England's inside forward Johnny Haynes remarked after elimination in 1958, "Everyone in England thinks we have a God given right to win the World Cup." and I think that this attitude has persisted even to this time. In this modern day and age with almost universal access on several different media platforms, not only the game itself but every player and manager is under constant scrutiny. After an impressive performance, a player may be elevated to a stellar status while he may actually experience a major sense relief in meeting the expectations of millions of armchair critics, only to be scapegoated and come crashing down to rock bottom after a failure as judged by the media.
Social Media
First of all social media these days is a whole new world that when utilised can help professionals with their business and advertising and helps the world communicate with each other but there is more than enough evidence to expose the falsification behind facebook, instagram and twitter and reports that these platforms could cause depression and anxiety when used too often. With the guardian claiming that facebook and twitter ”harm young people’s health (Guardian, 2017) and the NHS also stating that is Instagram 'ranked worst for mental health' according to a teen survey and report produced by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the Young Health Movement. (NHS, 2017)
A recent example of negative impacts towards a footballer was Liverpool’s centre-back Dejan Lovren. (Guardian, 2017) Last week Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren experienced something worse than a medical diagnosis being broken to him by a reporter. The defender revealed he had received a death threat on Instagram. Following a poor performance against Tottenham Hotspur, a user had messaged Lovren, claiming he was “gonna murder ur family u Croatian pr**”. The player responded by posting a video on the site: “I don’t mind when people talk sh* about me, it says more about them!” he said. “But I cannot ignore when my family is threatened. I just can’t and won’t accept that.” Before the match, his manager Jurgen Klopp compared the media reaction to Lovren's performance to people "watching an accident". "You are the kind of people standing around with smartphones instead of helping," said the manager. "I'm not this kind of person.” (BBC 2017)
This kind of abuse is becoming more and more common these days with social media because fans can hide behind a screen and send derogatory online messages they want to any footballer. This negatively impacts a player’s mental health as well as future performance, knowing that the fans they play for are fickle enough to even threaten their families. Dejan Lovren often gets slated after making mistakes. He received many plaudits after scoring against Borussia Dortmund to launch Liverpool to the Europa League final in 2016. Many players have had to delete their pages on social media to avoid getting such horrible messages. After an Arsenal game, Granit Xhaka had to disable his instagram comments because of the large amount of his own fans ridiculing and threatening him after a bad performance against Liverpool. (Dov Rawson, 2017) Some would say that social media has no place in the game at all and actually is a factor of the players losing concentration and worsening their game performance. Former Scottish national Graeme Souness, an older player cannot fathom new technology often compares the players of his generation as more focused on the job at hand before even contemplating celebrating and talking. Nowadays, players will take photos before and after the game. Perhaps for some it is almost a ritual, the main benefit of this for many of the players is the advertising potential and sponsorship deals. For every time a player with a large fan-base, such as Man United’s Paul Pogba, with millions of followers and fans, uploads a photo to be seen by millions of people, he gets more money and the club gain popularity and most fans are happy to be updated on his life. For the managers, this can cause another problem if players misuse their opportunities to share their lives publically. According to the financial times (Simon Kuper, 2014) Arséne Wenger said, “We are concerned about twitter and things going out of the club that should not go out. It is important to keep that under control.” As in some instances the players may have been charged with misconduct for inappropriate responses to other social media users. For example Rio Ferdinand was suspended by the English Football Association after calling an individual's’ mother a “ske*”. There were 60 charges in football for social media from 2011 till November 2014 The clubs can now compete with other forms of media and instead of only rumours, gossip and opinions they can state official messages from the club to update fans on their line-ups, transfer news and everything in between. Outside journalists are very unlikely to provide the same kind of information to readers unless they are in association with the club itself; this has lead to many clubs consequently having larger audiences than the news and other traditional media.
As of 04/01/2018 I have checked through instagram to compare the number of followers between journalists and footballers: Guardian_sport (11k), Guardian (816k), bbcsport (1M), bbcnews (4.5m), skysports (1.4m), btsport (233k), premierleague (14.9m) Wayne Rooney (11.8m), Jamie Vardy (846k) Jake Livermore (20.6k), Will Keane (182k) marcusrashford (3.9m), Paul Pogba (20m), Eden Hazard (11.6m) Sportbible (2.6m) southamptonfc (321k), huddersfield town (58.7k) NUFC (130k), Liverpoolfc(5.3m), mancity (6m), Arsenal (10.5m). This shows that there are often more people following the players individual social media account (many of which are professionally managed) which is a more reliable primary source of information given the degree of inaccurate football gossip that is often misleading and speculative. However there has not been an excessive amount of football managers using social media to the same extent.
This chart represents that it is usually players, followed by clubs, then news sources that have the most followers on Instagram. This shows a generational shift between how people are sourcing their information. As players or clubs can outsource and confirm information from their own side to the public, rather than the public having to wait for a news report, even through the same platform.
An interesting quote from “Bring The Noise” Jurgen Klopp’s book (Raphael Honigstein, 2017) The coach (Klopp) and his staff are aware, the English media and public come to a final verdict about players way too early and it takes almost forever to revise their conclusion even if a player proves them wrong for months. "If they (media and public) decide your goalkeeper is sh, then he's sh forever and ever", analyzes Krawietz. "They wait until the respective player finally makes a mistake again and then it's always like: See, we've told you before he's sh**e. These self fulfilling prophecies in a negative way are distinctively big in England." Of course players need to do their job regardless and proving critics wrong can be a motivation, various footballers from around England confirm that hearing the fans being supportive is motivational but of course some of the extreme abuse they get can deter their passion for their teams and the fans they’re playing for. I believe that England’s national team for the past decade has suffered from constant monitoring by the media and undoubtedly has been under immense pressure because of it which has been a factor in the disappointing performances over the years, despite fielding good squads with an abundance of talent.
Journalism
The Guardian published an article about how Ronald Koeman was under lots of pressure from the fans of Everton football club and the board as Everton was struggling to pick up points. The 5-2 loss against Arsenal left his future in serious doubts. Within 24 hours of the first Guardian article, another article from the Guardian reported Ronald Koeman had been sacked from Everton.
“A defiant Ronald Koeman claimed he was still the man to arrest Everton’s alarming decline despite a 5-2 home defeat against Arsenal that has left his future as manager in serious doubt.” (Andy Hunter, The Guardian, 2017)
“Ronald Koeman finished his last, brief, funereal press conference as Everton manager with a dismissive: “Write what you like to write.” He cannot be surprised that his Goodison Park obituary now follows.”
I think that this recent case in particular showcases how a manager with a decent track record ultimately failed not just due to his lack of ability but because he was expected to perform at a new environment after overachieving with Southampton. Claudio Ranieri also had won the premier league with Leicester as a manager, a once in a lifetime miracle for the club of Leicester City, who had only recently been promoted to the premier league. He achieved so much so quickly and couldn’t possibly maintain the same performance after letting go of some of his key players. The media were quick to blame it on the Leicester City manager rather than losing important players, having less availability for squad rotation (due to more fixtures from the Champions league) despite the fans mostly being supportive of their manager (Grace morgan, 2017)‘He had earned the right to try and keep us up’. It seems almost quaint to recall that in the early 90s the average spell of a manager in English football was more than three years. Last season 60 managers left their jobs between September and June – with only a third in situ more than a year. Interviewed by Domeneghetti for this book, Dyke, now head of the FA, provides some perspective on the TV deal that brought us the Premier League and all that goes with it, and says that he now realises “the biggest fu** up in the world was that the FA didn’t ask for anything”. So short-sighted and stupid were football’s administrators – “not the brightest blokes off the block” in Dyke’s words – they were more interested in settling political scores within their own organisations than securing the future of the game. And so they sold the game to TV. The mutual benefit is still there, but the benefit is to an elite group rather than an entire sport, and football is now utterly dependent on TV’s money. (Martin Cloake, 2014)
Domeneghetti states that “the history of football media is the history of the media. While the press helped popularise football, football helped make newspapers a mass market product.” (Roger Domeneghetti, 2014)
(Citation: CLELAND, J., 2011. The media and football supporters: a changing relationship. Media Culture and Society, 33 (2), pp. 299 - 315.) In terms of future research, the Football League Supporters survey (2006) highlighted that 93% of all supporters used the official website to find out news and information compared to only 58% who used the local evening newspaper. Thus, what is the situation now with regards to media consumption by supporters? Finally, as this article as indicated, there is an increasing level of involvement between a number of media sources and ‘active’ supporters. Thus, to what extent has this changed as media sources continue to develop more ways of engaging with its audience? (Football League Supporters Survey, 2006) In the olden days the most important things for the fans were the results of the matches and who was injured who would be playing when the matches were about to be played. These days however with new technology we can find out more and the fans aren't satisfied until they know every detail that they can which is why journalists have a bigger job of finding every detail and publishing online first so people can get their news straight away from the internet without having to buy newspapers. This has led to a big decrease in the amount of newspapers being sold these days, the popular source of news is now the internet and a lot of people use fan sites and also use unofficial websites to make fan forums for example reddit, facebook groups and twitter pages.
A study conducted by University of Liverpool's football research unit in 1999 showed the kind of relationship between people of that city, who mostly, support Liverpool and Everton and how they use the media. They found that the majority would use the local evening news papers such as Daily Echo Liverpool Echo there and found that they were the most important sources for the supporters. The radio played an important role to have that interaction between fans and to express their feelings and talk about football. Many still prefer the traditional sources such as the evening newspapers, radio presenters etc. to the internet because the problem with the internet is that anyone can write anything and with no credible sources you don't know whether it's true or not. However the opinion pieces gives people something to talk about and think about until they know for certain it's true. Every transfer window these days there's always circulation over Twitter and Facebook about rumours that might end up being absolutely nothing at all. Different players move to different clubs all the time and sometimes managers come out and say it's not happening but at other times the managers regret those words and it comes back to haunt them. (Football Research Unit ‘The Sources of Football Information amongst Everton and Liverpool Fans’. Liverpool University: Liverpool, 1999)
Social Trends (2004) reported that 45% of households had both satellite TV and internet which was a huge increase in comparison in 1999 to 2000. In 2005/2006 it was reported that 91% had internet access. The Football League Supporters survey (2006) highlighted that 93% of all Aston Villa supporters used the official website to find out news and information compared to only 58% who used the local evening newspaper. It’s quite safe to presume the vast majority will use the internet as a source for information, however a minority of people may only rely on only the radio or newspapers.
Wayne Rooney has been constantly ridiculed over many of the times that he's done something embarrassing, he's played and captained for Everton, Manchester United and England so he's always represented a huge fan base. With 16.8 million followers on twitter (https://twitter.com/WayneRooney 24th Dec 2017) He himself has a massive fan base and with that brings a huge amount of haters and he has become one of the most targeted figures of the media.
Rooney has done some positive things, he’s very charitable, having his own foundation and recently donating a lot to Alder Hay children’s hospital but he's also been involved in many controversies. He landed himself in trouble by admitting in 2006 in his autobiography (Wayne Rooney My story so far, 2006) how David Moyes was part of the reason of leaving Everton Football Club which later resulted in David Moyes suing him. This is a big change from previous football generations because they didn't have the same pressure of constantly being monitored, the papparazi and the press started to grow but it was nowhere near as detailed and as exposed as it is these days. On one hand this ensures that these role models act wiser and avoid getting into trouble as they are more easily exposed for doing the wrong things so in a sense that acts as a prevention and cleans up the game a lot and also leads to punishments of players misbehaving through fines and suspensions. Conversely it leads to more judgements and more pressure because ultimately any slip up can be seen by everyone in the world. This can lead to a lot of problems such as depression and anxiety for football players. For example, In (Gerrard, S., 2015) Steven Gerrard talks about the Mental frustration after his infamous slip against Chelsea that essentially cost Liverpool the premier league title. Knowing it was recorded live on television for the whole world to see and essentially people ridiculed him in the aftermath despite achieving so much for England and for Liverpool Football Club in his career. Players are brought down to self-loathing for small mistakes. Footballers are experiencing psychological distress, even with so many achievements it's actually found that one quarter of Professional Footballers suffer from depression and anxiety according to FIFPro (Josh White, 2014).
This is due to the high pressure and emotional experience that fans and players alike are involved with but also so many fans and their happiness lie within that team of players and the manager. As a result they feel responsible for the results which may lead to a lot of people being upset with the performance if not the result. And this can lead to the fans being completely volatile, abuse their own players and even starting to abuse each other. Our society seems to value people on what they are rather than who they are, if you’re a footballer but you haven't made it to the big leagues like the Premier League then you're essentially quite irrelevant in comparison, not likely to be extremely rich as the reality is only the very very top 1% are as rich as the likes of Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham etc. Top flight footballers can all carry on their careers within football through sponsorships, punditry and management. The majority of those footballers that are in the lower divisions aren’t as financially secure as people would presume because their salaries, while extraordinary, only last over a limited career span given the physical demands of the game and careers are often cut short due to injuries.This means that lots of players are actually financially unstable by the time they retire and may not have the right education or knowledge to manage their money. They feel they’ve lost their identity and it's also quite shocking to see the sharp decline in some of these players and their personal lives - 33% of footballers have had divorces within the first year of their retirement which is quite shocking when you think about it. (Peter Staunton, 2014) The problems are not heard about often from the professional leagues but a lot of them suffer with personal life problems, mental health problems and many physical problems such as problems with the joints due to repetitive strain injury of these joints in such a competitive and highly physical game especially in England where physicality seems to be one of the most important attributes for all the Premier League teams. Footballers also inhabit a fiercely competitive environment and perceptions that they are "lucky" to be living a "perfect" life are isolating to players who want to live a normal life and avoid the overexposure of their personal life and family and friends from being neglected or even targeted by others. Over-investment in performance as an indicator of self-worth leaves players vulnerable to harsh self-criticism and poor self-esteem and very often leads to worse performances. "For footballers in the public eye, who are seen as ‘heroes’ on the field and living charmed lives off it, it is especially hard to reveal the cracks in the façade which, after all, is only a façade," says therapist Wendy Bristow. "Plus the pressures associated with always having to be a ‘hero’ can deepen those cracks. If one in four of us will experience some mental health issues in our lifetimes, it stands to reason that one in four footballers will too." The money and jealousy leads to the dehumanisation of these footballers. (Luke Dolan 2017) TalkRadio reports the backlash of the Daily mail’s tweet for their expression of Aaron’s financial status along with his detention under the mental health act “£55,000-a-week England footballer Aaron Lennon is detained under Mental Health Act after stand-off with police”. Many fans had backed up Aaron Lennon and revolted against the Daily Mail’s distasteful tweet. (https://twitter.com/david_ob17/status/859665252014837760) “so he can’t suffer an illness because of his salary? Cretins” (twitter, 2017) “Terrible journalism. Lack of class and out of touch.” (twitter, 2017) (Alice MCGurran 2017) According to the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA), the number of players seeking support for mental health issues is soaring - last year 165 members contacted the PFA, resulting in 655 counselling sessions. These numbers have been rising since the support service was launched in 2012. This statistic however correlates for a positive and a negative. The negative implies that more players are suffering from mental health issues however conversely for the increase in members contacting is that players are starting to feel more comfortable with expressing their problems and arranging counselling, therapy and speaking out to people to look for help and sort out their issues. (Guardian, 2017) Aaron Lennon was detained under the mental health act and went to rehab in order to recuperate. On new year’s eve he tweeted about his year and thanked many people including Everton football club and football fans and many others. He encouraged that people who were feeling in a similar manner should know that “there’s so much help out there you are not alone. Please seek this help and believe the tough times are not forever.” (Twitter, 2017) (https://twitter.com/AaronLennon12/status/947555232464228352) I believe that this shows a very positive impact coming from a footballer. He has many fans and followers and he is spreading a positive, inspiring and important message to many fans and shows others in the industry that the support can be genuine from people and it shows how much the fans’ relationships with the players can provide an improved state of mental health and more beneficial for the player. Aaron Lennon deserves a lot of credit for opening up and handling his situation very professionally.
Discrimination
“91% of football fans in England think racism exists in football – the second highest in Europe, preceded only by Italy– but English fans are amongst the least likely to view the problem as serious (43%)” (Luke chambers, 2013) “English fans give clubs and players the most credit for combating racism, with 40% feeling that they are doing enough. Despite this, every football authority put to English fans was judged to not be doing enough to combat racism. Just 17% of English fans feel that international authorities such as FIFA and UEFA are doing enough”
A quote from an article in the Guardian by The Secret Footballer (Guardian, 2014) states “I reckon that if you took all the phones of everybody involved in football, 90% of them would contain emails or text messages displaying homophobia, sexism, racism and everything in between.” and “I’m terrified of either losing my phone or having it stolen. I have a friend who was put on the front page of the News of the World after losing his phone on a night out. The person who found it didn’t hand it in to the police, he went through it and then sold some pictures to that newspaper.” However in my view 90% Seems to be quite an exaggeration and “everything in between” is ambiguous so only the single player can truly analyse that from his own experience therefore the statement is subjective and shouldn’t be taken as matter of fact.
Rhian Brewster, a Young English player who recently led the under-17s’ to world cup glory, has opened up about the shocking racist abuse he has received from other players from the champions league and the under-17s’ world cup. “Brewster, who won the U17 World Cup with England earlier this year, told the Guardian he has been racially abused or witnessed abuse of a team-mate seven times, including one alleged incident in World Cup final.” (Andy Kelly, 2017) And Brewster admitted the impact that such racist abuse has on him. “On the day it happens, that night my head won’t be there. I just want to be left alone,” he said. “I want to be by myself and left to think. The next day I’ll still be thinking about it. “I don’t think UEFA take this thing seriously. They don’t really care. That is how it feels anyway, like it has been brushed under the carpet.” UEFA (The Union of European Football Associations) charged Spartak but the punishment was pitiful. They had to partially close their Academy stadium for their next UEFA Youth League fixture by leaving 500 seats empty. The young player was praised by many including senior team coach Jurgen klopp and the anti-discrimination organisation kick it out for his bravery to admit to the incidents. (Jurgen Klopp, 2017) It definitely has exposed a dark side of the game and more importantly isn’t being handled properly by the appropriate authorities. Rhian so far has not been happy with the responses when he told the officials about what happened. Of course there have been other instances that were public in relation to racism such as John Terry racial abuse of Rio Ferdinand (BBC, 2012) http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/19723020) or Mario Balotelli's backlash from Man United fans after a tweet. (Chris Bascombe, 2014) The anti-discrimination group Kick It Out had also intervened. It wrote: “Kick It Out is aware of racist tweets directed @FinallyMario and will be reporting to the authorities. Thanks to all who have alerted us.” Many other high-profile personalities have suffered racist, sexist and homophobic abuse on the social network.
https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/dec/28/liverpool-rhian-brewster-racial-abuse-england-uefa On talking about an incident, (Rhian Brewster, 2017) ‘It’s a foul, man, what you playing at?’ I was still sitting down at this stage. Then their player leaned over me, right down to my face and said: ‘Suck my d, you ni, you ne**.’ This too coming from a Spartak Moscow, a Russian team which will be the country to host the world cup in 2018. It is widely known that Russia is racist and homophobic and this could be extremely controversial and worrying for fans across the world coming in to enjoy the World Cup as they may even be physically and verbally abused by the locals. With even the authorities reluctant to support basic human rights.
While England may be better than others, there have been numerous cases of discrimination from many football fans in England: Chelsea fans being trialed for being racist on a train after a Champions League match against PSG. (Angelique Chrisafis in Paris, 2017)
The team Tottenham Hotspurs have often receive anti-semitic abuse for having roots of Jewish faith, for example as recently as 2017 two Man City fans were tracked by the police after a video emerged of them singing anti-semitic chants to Tottenham. Sometimes even going as far as chanting about tragedies and death. This type of abuse has been called out by players and managers as disgusting. (Fergie, 2014) Fergie called for Man United fans and Liverpool fans to stop any abuse about the Munich Disaster and the Hillsborough Disaster, respectfully, that have been devastating for both clubs. Many managers have to juggle between keeping their players, fans, board and committee happy along with their game management duties. In my view this can be complicated as they have to maintain balance for the whole club and ensure all involved are satisfied. This is complicated when their own fans can cause conflicts with other fans. There are countless cases where rivalries have been taken too far such as when somebody died in fights between Millwall and West Ham ultras. (According to The 20 fiercest rivalries in English football - by Jonathan Liew, 2015). While it can be noted that some clubs such as Chelsea have had more people kicked out of the stadium for discrimination, their staff actually do very well to get rid of people caught doing wrong which is why they have a high number of stadium bans compared to other clubs. According to a picture from french newspaper [L'Equipe] : Number of stadium bans for racist chanting in the Premier League over the last ten seasons [L'Equipe]. Shows that West Ham, Chelsea and Tottenham have had 19,19,17 bans for racism, teams that had 0 include Cardiff, Crystal Palace, Fulham, QPR, Reading, Watford. Many of these clubs are in similar areas such as London. So it could be that the authorities aren’t doing anything about racist abuse in some clubs.
So it is quite hard to accurately measure if there are other clubs in particular that are more abusive than the rest. It can be said though that out of the many fans for each club there are statistically likely to be a small number of fans who will discriminate. So kicking it out of the game has to be done by all involved.
It is also worth noting that even to this day there aren’t many openly homosexual footballers, England's only openly gay footballer (Liam Davis 2017) stated that there are several footballers that are closed about their homosexuality and it is unfortunately expected that the initial party of these players will receive abuse for it. It is important and brave for these players to do so as it allows future generations of footballers to be more open. "It seems to me bizarre that we're really not getting anywhere, that people are still reluctant to come out. I want to tell them that literally I have never had any issues, no problems, nothing but a positive response. "If I can get that out there, that football is a wonderfully supportive environment, then I guess I should." Many clubs and fans participate and support in LGBTQ parades and the premier league introduced the rainbow laces anti-homophobia campaign (Jamie Grierson 2017). According to Stonewall’s research, almost two-thirds (63%) of sport fans said more should be done to make LGBT people feel accepted in sport. However it's quite obvious that there are many reasons that given in 2017 footballer probably would not want to expose more of their personal details especially homosexuality which unfortunately today is still being discriminated against.
(Justin Fashanu, Wikipedia, 2017) Justin Fashanu - the first openly gay footballer in England who unfortunately ended up committing suicide with links reporting that it was due to the backlash from many people about coming out as well as racist remarks for being of Nigerian descent. As soon as his manager Brian Clough found out he was gay he banned Justin from the training with the rest of the squad. Since then no league player has really come out, he has been the only openly gay footballer in England so far. A movie was made in his honor called Forbidden Games: The Justin Fashanu Story (Jon Carey, Adam Darke, 2017) and has been available on Sky (Skysports, 2017) and also Netflix as of writing this on 13/01/2017. (Netflix, 2017) At times football has shown that it can adapt and the fans can learn to love players regardless of their differences.
The BBC reported that 82% of supporters would have no issues but 8% of football fans would stop watching their team if they had a gay player (BBC, 2016). Also “In an online survey of more than 4,000 people - 2,896 of whom were sports fans - commissioned by Afternoon Edition and carried out by ComRes, 71% of football fans said clubs should do more to educate fans about homophobia.” This sample size is large enough, and over a large area to show a valid estimate of how many people want their to be more education to fans about homophobia. “50% of football fans say they have heard homophobic abuse, 51% have heard sexist abuse and 59% have heard racist abuse” and in this modern game to hear that possibly more than half of fans are still hearing abuse is worrying so there is room for improvement.
Comedian Russell Howard also explains how he believes that football is a powerful enough force to get rid of homophobia and discrimination in the game. (Russell Howard, youtube, 2017) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UcY3fAHiJU) Football is a game that provides role models and voices that will be heard by millions so to use it positively can help eradicate discrimination. Indeed it seems that’s what more fans are encouraging to happen. (Stonewall, 2017)
Conclusion
Fan culture can be a horrendous thing for the management and players because if enough like-minded fans can push an agenda to isolate the player or the manager away from the club they can. The number of clubs that seem to have known something bad was going on and done nothing about it is very worrying. This I believe is evidence that the new world of football has moved from a private job to a very public lifestyle that has increased pressure and abuse in many different forms, sometimes in the aim to attract more attention and publicity for profits.
Finally, I think that the fans more than anyone can hold the power in them to improve a football club by being supportive to the players, working in unison with other fans and also backing a good fitting manager by listening to each other a lot can be accomplished. Unfortunately the game’s nature is designed for different interjections to be made and everyone’s got an opinion on the right way of football but being supportive ensures a happier community with better performances.
At the end of the day the fans, critics, media and of course the players and managers themselves have a collective responsibility to control and understand the effect of their actions to ensure that a certain line should not be crossed under any circumstance. Stricter regulations must be put in place to deter anyone from tainting the game and efforts must be made to adhere to the code of conduct set out by the football association. The ultimate goal being to ensure a safe and positive environment at all levels of football and to enjoy an enriched experience to all those connected with the sport.
submitted by fluffyguffy to LiverpoolFC

[Table] IamA EA Games User Researcher, AM(A)A!

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Date: 2013-12-30
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Questions Answers
You use Steam more than you use Origin, right? Right?? Im mostly a PC gamer, so I use and like both. I also hate both, frequently at the same time :) Both have some good holiday sales on atm, for example.
Am I ever gonna be able to play through the single player without the game crashing and corrupting all my save files on bf4 for ps4? Cause I'd like that... My crystal ball says, "Absolutely"
My utter lack of any actual information says, "I hope so dude"
Do you feel like the company you work for deserves it's horrible reputation? Not at all. Nobody is perfect, but I'm happy to work at EA, and proud of most of what we do. I own a bunch of EA stuff that I wear regularly, and in the real world, have never had anything but positive reactions.
Are you proud of SimCity? I played it and enjoyed it. I had nothing to do with the game, so nothing to be proud of or ashamed of.
Regarding public opinion, it's not something I can talk about, I'm not a PR dude, and I doubt they'd appreciate me trying to do their job :)
Lucy Bradshaw (Maxis GM) posted a good article about it: Link to www.ea.com
How was your day until now? You know that "I should not have done that" meme? :p It's ok, I have no illusions about what a lot of this'll be like.
What is your personal opinion on micro-transactions? When done right, they're fine. I've sunk a lot of money into Clash of Clans and FIFA Ultimate Team, for example. They're very easy to do very wrong though, and you have to design the game from the ground-up to accomodate them. Bolting them on gets you bad results.
As long as it's not pay-to-win, and the game isn't artificially frustrating to try to coerce you into paying to skip shitty stuff, they can work. I'm less a fan of MTX for $60 games - the latest crop of games from everyone on XB1/PS4 is frustrating, as it seems like everyone is trying to get onboard. They work best for totally optional game modes like FUT, or ME3 multiplayer - we get to develop that content for players because of the money the MTX provides, but if you don't play it, you're still getting great value for the $60 base game.
In your opinion do you think EA is the industry's leader for sports games? Were they? Are they? Why has there been such lack of reinvention in their series' as compared to NBA 2K from 2K. Being such a large company I think a lot of people in the world expect them to dominate game quality and 2K. But from my personal experience and others' EA got destroyed on their next gen (PS4 XboxOne) games when compared to the other releases. Why do you think this is? I think we're the leader for western spots games, for sure. We dominate with FIFA, Madden/NCAA, Tiger, NHL, but we're obviously getting stomped in basketball. We used to do baseball.
2k puts out a very, very good basketball game every year. They share baseball with Sony, but that's a small market.
Not sure which games you're talking about where we got destroyed by other releases on gen4.
I understand :P and i completely agree. an entire year will do such great for the gaming industry — cant wait for what is to come. Yeah, there's a lot of awesome stuff coming down the pipe industry wide.
How about a skate 4? ;) I've love for that to happen. SSX is pretty similar, but I'm a fan of skate for sure.
It's at the point where I'd love to play through skate 3 again but its just the same over and over, even with free skate. Need more spots to hit! Check out skatePark for Skate 3, it's user-generated content :)
Why do games published by EA often seem to intentionally be designed to make it hard for users to create mods? They can add tons of replay value to a game, and make more people want to buy the game. Mirror's Edge, for instance, had the console deliberately removed, despite it being a standard feature of the Unreal Engine, and several commands were disabled to prevent them from being manually bound to keys in the config files. What's your personal opinion on the matter? Re: mods, I don't know enough about the situation to even have a personal opinion. From a QA/design standpoint, giving people that ability makes the game much more complex. The Skate series for example did "create a spot", which was a sandbox for skateboarding. It was awesome. Once a game company releases mods, they also can't control quality. Check out the Skyrim forums, and all the problems that stem from users installing stuff that doesn't work, and then going to Bethesda for support about it.
I love your games, mostly Fifa and BF, so , thanks for that. Also, what do you think of EA releasing a broken game like BF3 and BF4? That shows total disrespect for your costumers. I have nothing to do with BF at all, other than talking to a few people on their team, so can't say much about what went wrong.
PS: Your customer service sucks donkey balls, EA, work on it please. If you need CS, call them, don't use the online stuff.
What did you study? I didn't, actually, which is unusual. Most folks that do what I do have degrees in HCI, or in experimental psychology.
Any intel about the next need for speed? And buy intel I mean, is it going to be arcadeish like Hot pursuit, Most wanted 2012 and Rivals, or simulator? Sorry, couldn't say even if I knew.
Ah, too bad. Guess I'll have to wait, thanks thoiugh! Cheers. I've been playing Rivals as a cop and enjoying it, for arcade racing. For sim, I think Shift 2 was the most recent. I haven't played it, but heard good things.
Do you realize EA killed the battlefield series? does anyone over there feel bad? they should. I can't speak for anyone at BF, just myself. Personally, I don't think we have, but I hope the team can fix the game for people.
What does it feel like to hack off a third of the finished product and sell it over the course of time from that release to the next product's? No, I'm not such an asshole. Really though, what's with all the microtransactions? It's alright if you can't talk about it, but seriously, is there even that much profit to be had? MTX used well is done in one of two ways - it supports a F2P game, or it's used to make a game mode that a company otherwise couldnt do otherwise. The more it makes, the more they can improve it, etc.
MTX in general is still new in the west. There's going to be a lot of bad implementation until the market decides what 'good' implementation is. Support the stuff you like, and the market will have it's way given time.
Do any of your immediate contemporaries recognize that battlefield 4 might not have been well received by the pc community? Nice that you should reply, though. I honestly don't know, sorry. I bought a copy, but haven't actually installed it yet.
Well, i wish you success in your future projects. question; what's the best way to pitch a game idea to a developer? who do you talk to? what do they want to see? I'm not an expert, and other folks could probably answer better, sorry. Way outta my baliwick.
How so, because I had no clue they were doing well in the eastern markets either. It's much more aggressive, far less player-friendly, and exploitation of psychology is very, very prevalent. Gacha is the japanese term, but the principle is the same. Puzzle & Dragons is a common example you might be familiar with.
Please don't be bothered, i just want to have a quick pick at your brain - what sort of demographic boundaries are producers looking to include with new games? I haven't heard designers really use that as a starting point. If someone recognizes an untapped market, that's one thing, but I don't think many designers start with the market, then design the game for it. I know we're constantly trying to be more inclusive, particularly for women gamers. Double your potential market right there. More and more games are getting pushed worldwide and localized, and that's an industry-wide trend.
What do you personally think about the way EA is operating right now? Also, what do you think about the way people think about EA as a company and do you share that opinion? Mostly positive, but there's always mistakes made. Overall, we're not evil. Bad calls get made. I wish stuff went better, and part of my role is to help improve game quality by using player feedback.
EA puts out a -lot- of games, and we're a huge company, so the quality is going to vary. Comparing Bioware to Tiburon to Criterion is something people naturally do, because "EA" is on all the games, but the teams are totally different. Hopefully everyone does great, and good people work hard trying to make that happen.
People always focus on the negatives, which is understandable, but I get to see a lot of the positives too. We do a crapload of charity stuff (I can get $300 for a charity if I do a small number of volunteer hours, employee donations are matched, we do outreach/donations a -lot-, etc), and the company treats full-time employees pretty well.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. Just to stop talking about the negatives, or the negative view some people have on EA: what is your best memory working there? Thanks, but I expect the negatives :)
Best memory for me was doing design work on the newer NBA JAM. As a well-intentioned but woefully inexperienced QA guy helping the team, it was an amazing experience, and people mostly liked what I did, which is absolutely awesome.
As someone in the industry does this not seem like a very fast way to lose your job? Did anyone approve this before you did it? I'm not a PR guy, just a regular person answering questions with publicly-available information. If I disclosed anything confidential, absolutely.
How much do you get paid? I'm a full-time employee, pay is ok. In general, the gaming industry isn't where you go for great pay, but from what I've seen, EA does better than most in that regard.
Benefits are fantastic though. Standard medical/dental etc, but also get $100/year to buy online games, got $100 rebated for buying a gen4 console, and get 5 free EA games a year (10 if on PC).
I spent a lot of the last 2 years helping the FUT team make that more accessible, so hopefully it'll be better for those that choose to check it out. What sort of things did that entail? Balancing of drop frequencies? UI for managing your team? It's the kind of question I'd love to answer, but can't. If you play both, hopefully you'll see the results of the work we did, I'm proud of it.
What type of experience did you have before becoming a game user researcher? Really interested in what type of degree you have, if any, and if they ever hire psych researchers. I'm a weird anomaly, in that I don't have a degree in anything. Ran my own businesses, did some cool gaming-related stuff, but no formal education. Most of my team is very intelligent, highly educated folks. We have 1 phd, 4 masters degrees, 1 game design degree, and 2 of us without degrees. Both of us non-edumacated yokels spent years in QA learning a lot, and performing very well.
There are a lot of games-industry academics, but very few people actually work in the industry - there's just not a lot of jobs. The demand is growing fast though, so if you're interested, do your research on it. Most people that make the jump to industry get degrees in HCI or psych. Psych tend to have PHDs rather than Masters, but I don't know why. Psych is really useful in understanding player motivation, and in designing good, scientific experiments to measure results. Clubbing video games with science is a pretty awesome gig.
Awesome. Thanks so much for answering. I'm working on my phd in psych now. I like to keep tabs on my private industry options. Academia gets old quickly. Quite welcome. More big brains in the industry are always welcome.
Why does Bill Budge no publish titles with EA? Quality of titles have gone down since you folks stopped publishing his work. Well played :)
Hopefully you can answer this, something that I've always wondered. With FIFA Ultimate Team, what are the chances per pack of getting someone like Ronaldo, Messi, Ibrahimovic or say Neymar? I've been playing UT for over 2 years now and spent around €300 on UT and never got any big name player. Definitely not something I could talk about, sorry.
Can you even say there is a certain method in how them types of players are given out, or is it complete random? KSI must be making an absolute fortune off FIFA. I can't, sorry. Some advice if you're finding it difficult to compete with what you've got, is hit offline Seasons for easy coins. Team of the Week on high difficulty is awesome too.
I really wish UT was easier for people to start off in, not in actual divisions etc but building teams, so expensive to start off. FIFA 14 has a new feature where you can compare items in your trade pile to the market prices, which makes it easier to identify expensive players. I had a silver striker that I sold for something like 80k coins, never ever would have expected him to be expensive without that feature.
What do you think about origin? It's got a lot of potential, and I like a lot of the stuff we're doing with it. Origin has the (afaik) only digital return policy on games, and we've done some awesome promotions like the Humble Bundle a while back. The possibilities for cross-game promotions are cool too. It's certainly not perfect, but it's constantly getting better.
When people test sports games like NHL or FIFA do they just test basic gameplay or do they test Career type modes? Obviously this would take more time but is important to improve on such popular areas of the game. We do a lot of different testing. Most of it is targetted gameplay, because that's faster, but we also do multi-day testing of things like career modes. QA does that kind of stuff as well.
We also do At-Home testing, where we give copies of the game to people, and have them fill out surveys and such after the game is launched.
How do you get involved with this testing do you put out job ads or what? We advertise via Facebook and local advertising around our playtesting studios. Folks sign up online, we send them surveys for playtest applications, and folks fill 'em out. If they meet the demographics we need, we contact them to come into the studio.
It's -not- a job at all, we give you EA developed games as thanks for your time. Sometimes it's a $60 game for 15 minutes, sometimes it's 5 games for 3 days of playtesting, it varies a lot :)
What is the most under-represented demographic that EA markets to, that may be profitable in the future? That's an awesome question that I wish I could answer. I don't have anywhere near enough facts to have a good guess, and if I did, it'd be information I have to keep internally.
Where's MVP Baseball 2014? Best I can do is point ya to this: Link to www.polygon.com
of all, thank you for doing this. Can you tell me the reason why there is no more Madden & NHL on PC? You're welcome, unfortunately I can't help with your qeustion. Even if I knew, which I don't, it's not something I could talk about. I'm a PC gamer and NHL player myself, so I'd love to see it come to PC again. My first QA project was on NHL 09, for PS2 and PC, so it'll always have a spot in my cold, dead heart :)
As a Linux user, why should I be interested in EA and Origin? Not something I know much about. Any thoughts yourself?
Why, in Gods name, if I play the Bruins on GM made in NHL 14 and I sim I never end up with more than 31 wins? the team is much better than that. Would you agree that the ratings are misrepresentitive? expecially when Buffalo had won the Atlantic division the last time I played... No idea, sorry. I've got some unflattering commentary about the Bruins, being a casual Canucks fan, but I don't think it'd be relevant ;)
Ratings are impossible to get "right", because nobody can agree on them. We do a lot of work trying to make them as accurate to real life as possible though, and it's why updating during the season is awesome for both us and players - if something gets overlooked, we can fix it.
If you had to take a straw poll of the guys who work on the NHL Franchise who do you think they would be fans of for the most part? Hrm, probably more Canucks fans than any other team, but that's because we're in Vancouver. There's a wide, wide variety of fandom though - there's a lot of jerseys being worn around the studio in general :)
How would one get a job like yours? Step 1: Be astoundingly lucky. Step 2: Work your butt off.
Most people that do what I do have post-graduate degrees in HCI or experimental psychology. I work with a lot of very big brains. I'm an oddball, since I came through QA, where I basically just outworked most people and performed at a high level long enough to get noticed, and then got extremely lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
Getting a full-time job in the gaming industry is hard work, because it's extremely competitive. Keep working on your own skills to make yourself more valuable to yourself and your team, regardless of whether you have one at the moment.
Any hope for skate 4 on next gen? Sorry, couldn't say anything even if I knew.
How does one apply to test a game in development? To test as QA, it's a job, can find them the usual way. For playtesting, it's not employment at all, just a fun way to play a game, get some games for your time, and help make games better. I'd post links, but they'd get trolled to death. If there is an EA studio near you, hit their website, or google their name and "playtest".
There are some great titles EA makes but im also often left scratching my head on some releases coming out being not ready. Do the developer sometimes lose control of their games? I work directly with developers, and they all want to make a great game. If that game sells well, they know they'll probably get to keep making great games.
Will EA ever release another NHL game on PC? I hope so, i buy it every year, and would rather play on my PC than a console. Whether we will, sorry, couldn't say if i knew.
I might be several hours late here, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway - what does it take to get picked for a playtest? I'm in near the Burnaby campus (I visited with my class once a couple months ago too, it was fun), and I've applied countless times, but never gotten picked. Any tips? Answer screeners honestly is the best you can do. Unfortunately, we get so many applications that we can't bring in everyone, but we constantly try to get new faces in.
Any insight to why the Vita has gotten snubbed in regards to sports games from EA other than a sub par Madden 13 and Fifa? Small market share. I'm hoping it gets better with the PS4 cross-features, but dubious.
Ditto WiiU.
The fact that Fifa Football, Fifa 13 and Fifa 14 on PS Vita have been exactly the same minus rosters and Kits is actually appalling, the game engine feels like its stuck in Fifa 11. FIFA 14 on Vita won't have the same features as FIFA 14 on XB360, for example. Hopefully you'll enjoy it.
I'm still more than slightly annoyed that we seem to have ditched the WiiU. It was an interesting platform to work on that showed a ton of promise. Too bad early sales weren't strong enough to keep our attention :( Everyone but Nintendo and Ubisoft has left, it seems. I was optimistic about the Wii when it first came out, but not WiiU. I agree, there's some neat stuff. I really liked the map/companion powers on the screen for Mass Effect, and Nintendo has some neat games on it.
How extensively do games get playtested before they are released? (On average) I have no idea about actual numbers, and couldn't share 'em if I did. Games for consoles get tested very heavily - developers (or their publisher) will test it, then it has to be tested by the console holder (Sony/MS/Nintendo) and pass their certification process. PC and mobile is the wild west, which is why there's so much shovelware. EA tests those games just as thoroughly, because we've got the resources and infrastructure to do so.
What folks usually don't realize is that the sheer scale of people means even "obvious" stuff gets found by the community far faster than any test team could find it, and that'd discounting stuff that breaks because of the scale of people (usually online servers; see: every popular online release in history).
A team of dozens or hundreds of QA folks can't compare to hundreds of thousands of players hammering the game. QA does it's best, but AAA games are just too complicated to ensure perfection.
When are you guys gonna let someone else make an NFL football game so we can actually get a good football game? Link to kotaku.com
That has a link to a guy doing an AMA that answered your question better than I ever could :)
Also, meta.
How do I get to be one of the people that comes in to test the games? We do playtests at some of our studios, so if you're near one of them, your best bet would be to contact the studio, or do a search for the studio name and "playtest".
What is your opinion on EA's "bundling" of indie games? Fantastic news for everyone. Humble Origin Bundle was awesome.
Any tips for breaking into the business end of the industry? Particularly QA, Marketing, Logistics or HR. Sorry, that's way too broad for anyone to help with, let alone a dude that has nothing to do with that kind of thing. There's a ton of writing that's been done about it online though, if you're passionate, hit the books and enjoy the ride.
EA dosnt have playtesters? But just get random people to do it on a regular basis... Well that explains alot. Playtesting is not QA. We do both. QA is professional bug testing, Playtesting is regular gamers giving us feedback while games are in development.
Can you mail me some games like that other EA employee that did the secret Santa ? Serious answer: I couldn't say. I can point you to some public stuff, but that's the best I can do.
Mass Effect 4? Link to www.gamespot.com
Whens nfs underground 3 coming out, i miss car customization Haven't heard anything about it, sorry. Rivals just came out and is decent, some similarities to Underground gameplay-wise. Might worth checking out.
Tell me at some point EA had or has the idea of a Bowling Game. I'm sure the idea has been had, but I can't see it selling well enough to get made. And really, could we improve on Wii Bowling? ;)
I worked on a demo/internal project that was curling on the DS. It was based on the Playground engine and was actually pretty good! I'd have loved to see that, that might be fun. I guess we could sell it in.. um.. Saskatchewan? :p.
How do you feel when /circlejerk calls ea employees like you "nazis" On an unrelated note: are you Aryan? It's the internet. I'm a white dude with a lot of Jewish friends, so no. They've told me some awesome Jew jokes, does that count?
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