The great thing about the blog format, is that it changes and develops on a daily basis. You do feel the need to post regularly and therefore, unlike a normal website, are duty bound to keep adding things, just in case somebody out there is waiting for their daily bulletin.
When I first started this project early in 2010, there were two things I wanted to achieve. One was to record my memories of following Norwich City Football Club and the other, to pay tribute to a few heroes. I decided therefore to create Sing Up The River End! Initially I intended to restrict myself to the period 1970 to 1990 - hence the net address canaryseventyninety. But after just a few days, I realised that by doing so I would only be telling a small fraction of the Norwich City story. So I changed it from 1959 (the year of my birth and the great Cup run) to 1995 (in order to capture the Canaries’ European peak). However, this in itself meant the whole exercise would need research - and lots of it. No longer would I solely be writing about things in my own football watching lifetime. And the deeper into the past I dug, the more I came to realise I just had to cover the whole history !
Within a short space of time I had the credit card out, adding as much memorabilia to my collection as I could. I needed information, facts, figures, pictures. Very soon I realised that SUTRE! was going to be a long job. Especially as my creative nature took over and I realised just how many features and series I could add to the blog. In the early weeks the design of the site changed many times before I reached a layout and colour scheme to my liking. I think the final, and perhaps most vital development was my discovery of the blogger label feature - which gave me the ability to post daily but at the same time drop items into a defined area. At this point I realised that my blog could become ‘everything you need to know about Norwich City Football Club’ - and more importantly, all on one site. An internet encyclopedia. But always remaining personal to me by virtue of my own stories and narratives.
It won’t of course be that for some time to come yet. In fact, I cannot see it being fully completed inside three years. But with each passing week , Sing Up The River End! develops a little more. Hopefully it will be the same journey of discovery for viewers as it is proving to be for me.
update 5th September 2010 : The 200th post has just appeared on Sing Up The River End! This blog was initially no different to any other - it began with all good intentions, but could easily have ran out of steam very early on. I am therefore delighted to have reached this milestone. I am even more delighted that I continue to turn over historical information that I can use, and I have plenty more subjects to go at yet. The target I had in my head was 250 posts in the first year. I am currently well on course, and my original desire for this project has not waned at all.
update 1st October 2010 : For a while now I have mulled over the idea of trying to blend in more current events with my historical posts. My reservations as to whether this would be a good move or not are entirely based on the fear that I will drift away from the original concept of SUTRE! I certainly do not want the blog to report on matches that have just been played, or discuss injuries, transfer gossip, or rant over topical issues at the club. Those areas are more than adequately covered by bloggers elsewhere. However, anything that happened an hour ago, can be defined as history. And unless I add a post about it quickly, quite frankly, it may never get a mention on the site. I have therefore introduced a new section in the last day or so called The Canary Chronicles, which will allow me to record events soon after they have happened. Hopefully it will attract some new visitors through the search engines who have no real interest in history as such.................but they might find SUTRE! interesting and who knows, catch the bug ! Visitor numbers continue to climb steadily - hopefully as a result of my dedication in adding posts just about every day. It will be interesting to see if this new development takes the blog even further forward.
update 14th February 2011 : The first anniversary of SUTRE! has come and gone, and I still find plenty of things to post. I have added another batch of series which allows me plenty of variety. Significant amongst those are, for the first time, contributions from readers. I am very happy for this to happen - all I insist on is that people recognise that this is a NCFC tribute site, not a fans rant forum ! I increasingly receive e mails from people who enjoy visiting the blog, and this provides encouragement for me to keep going. Soon after the last update, I joined Twitter, and though I knew nothing about it at the time, it has proved to be of great benefit in getting the word out about Sing Up The River End!
update 18th August 2011 : The challenge this summer was to maintain a post per day, something I feel necessary to get and keep readers. I never run out of ideas but when football is shut down, it is more difficult to keep focussed. Well, the close season has now passed, and yes, I did manage to post something every day. On average, more than one item a day in fact. My new target is to try to hit 40 posts a month on a regular basis. I need to ensure I keep adding statistical information, and increasingly current items seem to go down well, so this increase in activity should be achievable. I continue to get some fantastic feedback, often from quite unexpected sources. I have also started collecting information on spreadsheets that, once finished, can be sorted in ways that will allow me to present statistics in ways not done before. Though readers may think SUTRE! has completely taken over my life, it hasn't. I continue to work on it when I am in the right mind. It fits nicely in my world.
update 21st January 2012 : Sing Up The River End! has entered the third year of existence. No fanfare. No big announcements. My target of 40 posts per month was achieved comfortably as was my desire to compile more information onto spreadsheets. So, during a period of reflection just before Christmas, the immediate way forward for the blog was easy to determine. This new year will see even more posts, plus statistical Norwich City information laid out in ways not seen before on the internet. I have decided to do away with any targets on monthly posts. Increasingly it looks as if the project will run for many years (so far only 78 out of 1000 players have been featured in one of the four bio sections), therefore I will just post and post and post ! Another decision I have taken is to re-publish older items. This means new readers will get to see early material much easier. I am getting more and more communication all the time, which is terrific, and this in itself fires ideas in my imagination. The only feature I am struggling with is current stats - they take time to work out, have limited shelf life in that they are soon superseded by newer stats, and are well covered elsewhere on the net. I may return to this via The Canary Chronicles but for now feel it is the least important series on SUTRE! Two features have come to a natural conclusion - birth dates (though these will be re-published every Monday) and all NCFC League Cup results in history are now on. Most other series have life in them yet - and quite a few new ones have been added for 2012. My desire and output continues to rise, and at a time when one or two other Norwich City web efforts appear to be cutting back or disappearing altogether. And to think (as stated at the top of this page) that I originally thought the project would take three years ! I don't think I had any idea how this whole thing would catch on.
update 8th August 2012 : Perhaps for the first time, I have very recently found Sing Up The River End! to be a strain on my time. I like to be well ahead with my writing, and my efforts have been pegged back. Thankfully, this is entirely down to the London 2012 Olympics and nothing else. I originally intended to keep no more than a cursory eye on events, but like many, I have found myself blown away by the spectacle, and achievements of the British participants. Because I have plenty of articles written well in advance, regular readers will have noticed no drop in the number of items published. In fact, this summer has seen a record level of posts appearing on the blog - assisted in part by republishing old articles. I am still not fully in the swing with this particular initiative and I think 2013 will see an old item back on the site daily. Interest in Sing Up The River End! continues to slowly grow. And with the new season imminent, the head to heads will return to the top page with new information added. Over 1000 posts now appear on the blog and I am very proud of that. I do though need to ensure I maintain quality and accuracy - the more I produce, the more silly errors creep in. These are occasional at the moment, but annoy me immensely.
update 17th January 2013 : And so, into year four. It hardly seems possible that something I started almost on a whim should survive so long, but it has. As far as I know, outside interest in Sing Up The River End! continues - certainly there were a number of things that cropped up in 2012 that came as a result of contact from readers, which makes the whole thing more interesting for me. My allocation of time to the blog is now so regular that I almost do my writing and research without thinking. A number of features have run their natural course but once more I have dreamt up some new ones as a replacement. Hopefully the standard will remain high. I have increasingly found myself going back to my original intentions, that is to write what I want to write rather than what I think readers will want to read. The NCFC story is so long and intricate it is easy to get sidetracked. My only target remains to post daily - what that post consists of is still entirely my choice and often it is simply something that springs to mind that needs covering. The volume of posts has increased substantially - currently 80+ per month, though this includes re-posts. I am surprised how much time re-publishing is taking, often I need to update the information in these articles or the wording isn't quite to my liking. This re-posting will grow with time - I really want the better items to show on the front page every 15 months at least, and eventually this will I guess push the size and traffic of the blog to even higher levels. One big project that I completed in 2012 was to research the death dates of old Canaries (from info already in the public domain) and this has led to the addition of an In Memoriam feature every Monday alongside the birth dates for that week. Where we go from here I have no idea. I have no intentions of stopping at this present moment in time, though I also think that if it all ended tomorrow, I would know I gave it a real go. My biggest disappointment I guess is that Sing Up The River End! fails to engage many modern day supporters. But then they are, I suppose, living for today not yesterday. In time, current events will become history, and only then will they show the interest ! In 2012, SUTRE! was acknowledged in a few books written about NCFC, which I am grateful for. I am sure the site is used for reference by people and it is nice that they choose to recognise where their information came from. Alongside this, I have re-emphasised where much of my research is done, acknowledging the efforts of those who came before me. We are all passing the baton on to other generations. I am always looking to bring 'new' information to the forefront - often in the guise of lists, which I think people find much easier to digest. Nothing is really 'new' of course, but I am fairly certain that details of overseas players, goalkeepers and youth products (to name a few) have never appeared anywhere else apart from on SUTRE! and certainly not on the internet. Hopefully this is my way of being original, which is difficult given the expertise of other writers from earlier times. The project continues...........let's see where it leads.