Exciting news incoming…
But more of that in a moment!
Far more importantly (not), I was made aware this week that On The Dot had once again become subject of debate elsewhere in the National Information Infrastructure (Social Media if you prefer). Apparently I’m too sensitive, have lost contact with my sources and write a bog-ordinary-blog no different to any other… lol.
In fairness, some or most of that is probably quite true.
Do you like secrets?
Well, perhaps it’s time I shared mine, but first a short history lesson.
In the beginning was the word. And the word was with Twitter account. And the word (or words) was On the Dot. And the word became Blog.
In other words, I was blogging about the Dons for a couple of years before people started passing me information. I’m not sure why they started doing it really. Perhaps they felt sorry for my apalling efforts at writing or just wanted to put me right.
And then I picked up that strange label “ITK”.
I can’t pinpoint a time or place when I crossed the river of promise into the hallowed land of “In the Know”. I imagined it would be a Narnia-esque place, where the rivers flowed with red wine and beatiful people pandered to your every need.
Sadly, it’s still a battered old laptop on a wooden table in my dining room. I still get nagged to leave the Dons alone, to load the dishwasher, walk the dog or put children to bed. No curious wardrobe filled with fur coats for me…
So what does ITK look like?
It’s a cross to bear if I’m honest.
There are those who buy into it and hang on your every word, anxious not to miss news, rumours and gossip they don’t hear in their local newspapers. But that leaves ITK feeling under pressure to deliver and make sure everyone has their fill.
Then there’s the sceptics. It’s nothing I haven’t heard already. He could have got that from the internet. A lucky guess perhaps?
And finally there’s the haters. He may be ITK or maybe not, but either way we’ll judge him harshly for what he does. Troll him on Twitter or generally assasinate his character.
The secret to being ITK is really quite simple
“Listening and researching”
It was Pierre Levy who was credited with creating the notion that “nobody knows everything but everyone knows something”. His book Collective Intelligence is an interesting read. He says;
“New communications systems should provide members of a community with the means to coordinate their interactions within the same virtual universe of knowledge.”
When I started blogging about the Dons, fans would send me messages adding bits and pieces to what I’d written or correcting my mistakes. I’d maintain contact with them and make sure I credited their information in my blogs. I’d use the vast array of information available on line to corroborate that information and ensure what I published remained accurate, contextual and interesting.
Equally, through social activities linked to the club I started to meet a wide variety of fans and staff. I found myself in the fortunate position of being able to interview people like Martin Allen, Robbo, John Cove and Pete Winkelman.
I was heavily involved with the “Facts of the Move” project, co-ordinating the gathering of documents and writing the article with the support of other fine fans.
And through all these activities I met other fans who had links and associations and each in the words of Pierre Levy knew something.
My enjoyment comes from listening to the Dons news, rumour and gossip, researching them and translating into a blog for anyone who might be interested. And the very best places for doing that is on Twitter and at football matches – chatting to fans in the stand.
Contacts come and go. Some are better informed than others. You lose one and find another. But what I never do is disrespect anyone who passes information on. No matter how small or insignificant, that rumour can sometimes be the missing piece of the puzzle that completes the picture. But there are many respected fans who hear a lot more than I do.
It is easy to become protective and sensitive.
Anyone that writes a blog will know that it attracts a wide range of reactions. I’m not sure that people always think of the impact their words have on social media. Things are said that wouldn’t be repeated in face to face situations. Bullying or intimidation is too often turned on its head with the recipient accused of being over sensitive. Social media creates a false environment where rules of decency and respect are often forgotten. A virtual world detached from reality perhaps.
I struggled for a while with this, but eventually found a way to deal with it. Honesty, integrity, humour and clearly defined lines in the sand. So these days I try and react to criticisms with honesty and with humour but if MY line in the sand is crossed… its goodbye. If anyone follows respected reporter Alan Nixon, you’ll see that he does the exact same thing.
Having said all that, back to the Dons…
My blogging (and tweeting) has evolved over the years. At the beginning I’d think nothing of posting names of transfer targets and club gossip. But then I came to realise that my actions had consequences. As the blog became more widely available (and perhaps more respected), information would reach other clubs. And that had to stop.
Equally, as with any organisation, not everything that happens reflects well on the club. It might be interesting to us fans but do we always want to paint the club in a bad light or air our dirty washing in public. We take enough crap from the scum down in Kingston without creating our own.
So… last summer as an example I was aware of club interest in various players. But I restricted my tweets to emojis the night before signing announcements, just to create a sense of anticipation and excitement. Seven of them in actual fact (so not just a lucky guess).
On 12th August I broke the news about the Dons interest in Rhys HEALEY (without naming him).
On 19th August I broke the news about the departures of NESBITT and MUIRHEAD following issues in Spain
On the same day I provided specific information about the club’s financial position and widescale redundancies at the club
On 23rd August I broke news of several players returning to training and an update on the training ground not published by any media organisations or the club.
But since then, there have been no signings to comment on, the team has performed very well, leaving us in the promotion places and most people have a smile on their faces.
Is there anything happening at the moment?
I’ve heard that there’s been a series of meetings between management and players regarding contract extensions and that Tis has secured the services of all the players he wanted to keep at the club. Specifically I’ve heard that Williams, Gilbey and Agard have put pen to paper.
But the information that most fans seem to be interested in relates to Chuks Aneke. Although I’m still trying to firm up the details, I’m told that Chuks has committed to a contract extension that involves a promotion bonus and a release fee clause. I’ve been told what that figure is but again, am not prepared to publish the figure as it could harm the club’s position.
I’m also told that the club DID have an interest in Stockley (as now confirmed by Tis), but that contrary to the comments in my last blog, the release fee clause was £750,000 and we did meet that figure. I understand that we couldn’t compete in terms of wages, offering £3,000 per week as opposed to £15,000 being offered by Preston.
Finally, I’m told that the financial position at the club (or more importantly the parent company Stadium MK Group Ltd) is significantly improved thanks to various factors including concerts, corporate deals and the Brazil match. I can’t provide exact figures at the moment but the fact we could put together a massive financial package (for league two) reflects the improved situation.
PS: I wouldn’t write off a return by Rhys Healey either. Tis has been very careful with his choice of words and management of expectations.
But please remember that these are all rumours, gossip and 2nd hand information. Do your own research and make your own minds up.
So there you have it…
A blog with a difference this week, and now my secret’s out I’ll expect to see far more Dons blogs starting up. But for now, let’s concentrate on the football. Let’s get behind the players and enjoy the sharp end of the season together. We have a great squad of players and a fabulous manager. COYD.