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Viva Over – On Calling it a Day

So that’s that then. Five and a half years of tapping away at keyboards and hoping various bosses don’t notice that I’m not actually copying out the spreadsheet I said I was come to an end. One of the reasons I began Viva was because I felt there was a gap on the web for a more reasoned and relaxed take on the Rovers. The excellent Donny f***ing Rovers had gone, YAURS had lost its battle to retain the Empire and suddenly it was the official site or nowt. The other, and more important reason, was because I enjoyed writing and wanted to do it more regularly.

Viva Rovers began in July 2006, when it took over the Doncaster slot on the Rivals network vacated by Donny Massive. I don’t know what the first article I wrote for the site was, because it, along with most of the first three years of content were lost when S*y Sp***s unceremoniously pulled the plug on the Rivals network in the middle of the night. I decided to resurrect the site then, in July 2009, for the same reason I started it in the first place, quite simply I just enjoyed writing it.

In the past few months that enjoyment has waned, in part because my support for the club is not what it once was. They’re still my club. It’s still my home town. But the attachment is not as resolute as it has been in the past. The other reason the enjoyment has waned, is because of the abuse. Four five years abusive responses to articles I’ve written have been few and very far between. In the past few months they have followed pretty much every article. Of course people will and should disagree with me, that’s human nature, that’s football. But it seems folk have ceased to be able to disagree with me without hurling abuse or creating a caricature or social profile of me, and perhaps inevitably I’ve become fed up of that.

I don’t seek to be abusive or personal and indeed have not. There are no irrational or personal attacks of character in the articles on here (well aside from Neil Warnock, and I view him as the exception which proves the rule). Instead any opinion offered has been formed based on the actions and words of the people concerned. I have always, from the very start, sought to be balanced and, as much as a supporter can be from their club, withdrawn. I’ve never sought to be controversial for the sake of a response as it’s an approach I abhor and one I’ve duly taken others to task on. The ‘stance’ such as it is of this site toward football and the Rovers has never really wavered, despite the efforts of those reading it to crowbar articles into pigeon-holes with ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ scrawled above them in crayon.

In the past few months I have been called a prick, a bellend, a boring fucker, a bastard, a c**t, a boring bastard, miserable, sad, pathetic. I’ve been told to fuck off countless times. I’ve been told to go and support Portsmouth or Leeds, or anyone else. Its been suggested that I’ve brainwashed supporters into thinking like me (because of course none of you reach opinions of your own accord any more), and been cited as a reason why attendances at the club are down (an opinion on the web being apparently more influential than a recession). There’s been threads assessing my character and ‘motives’ on messageboards. I have had a phone call from the director of the Viking Supporters Co-operative for ‘a chat’ and an email from them suggesting what I should and shouldn’t write. I have had another phone call warning me to be careful what I write about the club as folk are ‘keeping tabs’ on me. Still, it’s just banter.

I don’t get any money for this website, in fact it has actually costs me money, as I’ve paid out for the add-on that allows me to host the rescued Rovers v QPR FA Cup match video for folks to view. And so there is no reward in writing it, other than the enjoyment I get from stringing sentences together. When you know those sentences are going to be taken out of context, twisted, and thrown back at you whatever you write there is no enjoyment. Someone commenting on a piece recently began “I read the first couple of paragraphs and gave up” before picking me apart and suggesting I was driving fans away. The notion of context presumably sailing over their head as they typed. Writing each article of late has taken a build up of a few days and a weary here we go sigh. It’s no longer fun. And if it’s no longer fun, then there’s no reason to carry on with the site.

Since mentioning on twitter I was calling time on the site I’ve had a lot of supportive messages and the crux of many is the adage “don’t let the bastards grind you down“. Well, they have. Its become relentless. I’m not a confrontational person, I just like folk to treat me as I treat others. If people want to disagree with me and offer their view then great, if they cannot do that without berating me then thanks, but that’s not for me. I don’t have the mental resolve to keep deflecting abuse over and over again. Someone posting on twitter suggested that I had become a victim of my own negativity. Victim is a bit strong, I’m only ending a hobbie. But if we are using that word then I think its more a case that I’ve become a victim of a seemingly unrelenting pursuit to label all views as either positive or negative, and chuck all opinions in a Venn Diagram which never overlaps.

So that’s the reasoning, that’s why Viva Rovers has become Viva Over, time to end on some positives. Writing this site, and the accompanying twitter feed in particular has opened up a communication channels with a lot of Rovers fans and general football folk, many of whom I consider as friends without ever having met them. Viva enabled me to get in touch with Ray for example, and finally see footage of that Rovers v QPR  match from 1985. It enabled me to sell an Ian Duerden t-shirt to Ian Duerden. It enabled me to fulfill an ambition and see my words in The Guardian. It enabled me to meet Geoff who took that picture of me playing the trumpet a decade ago that sits at the top of this page. It enabled me to receive a nice email from a man called Sean. And most keenly it enabled me to enjoy writing. Viva ends here then, but the print fanzine Popular Stand will continue and I’ll probably amalgamate the shop and the twitter feed into that in time. On the front page of the site now are XI of my favourite pieces from Viva’s vault, not necessarily the most viewed or most commented on, but the eleven pieces, of those that survived the Rivals cull, that I’m most happy with, and which I feel best sum up the site.

I’ve never sought praise for this site. I’ve not nominated myself for anything. I’ve never really used it as a networking tool, all that’s not really for me. And so whenever I have received praise or encouragement from others I’ve genuinely been taken aback by the kind words of those of you who’ve taken the time to read this site. The site being described by one Rovers fan as ‘high-brow’ still makes me laugh, and hopefully I’ve lived up to the other messageboard comment which subsequently became the site’s slogan; above all, it actually looked like someone made an effort.

Merry Christmas.

Oh, and finally it was a website, not a bloody blog.

Discussion

46 thoughts on “Viva Over – On Calling it a Day

  1. sorry that tou are leaving . good luck in anything else you decide to do and have a great xmas and a prosperous new year Craig

    Posted by Craig GARVEY | December 24, 2011, 2:50 pm
    • just to say glen a superb blog(sorry website)always enjoyed the lighter& funny side to your excellent writing skills & views.you will be missed.good luck in your career& futurecheers macca

      Posted by ian mckenzie | December 27, 2011, 4:48 pm
  2. A dark day for lovers of fair comment and interesting articles.

    Posted by Sheepskin Stu | December 24, 2011, 2:53 pm
    • Gutted, Glen. I have enjoyed your articles very much over the past few years and not just because I generally agreed with your viewpoint. A real pity that it has come to this.
      I look forward to your blog and assume I can still make a purchase from the shop.

      Jon (Wallsend)

      Posted by Jon Roys | December 24, 2011, 5:24 pm
  3. A shame to see you go. As I said on Twitter, your website (not blog) was the inspiration for mine and I have shamelessly stolen many of your ideas and themes. All the best with the future, apart from when you play Cardiff City of course, when I hope you lose 95 – 0 :).

    Posted by myonlycardiff | December 24, 2011, 2:55 pm
  4. I think it’s a real shame that you’re calling it a day. Whilst I’ve tended to disagree with your opinions of late, I still enjoy reading your articles. All the best for the future.

    Posted by Christian | December 24, 2011, 3:10 pm
  5. I hope the fellow supporters (unbelievably) and those at the club who have been giving you a hard time take a long hard look at themselves.

    I’ve enjoyed reading your articles and will miss doing so in the future. All the best in whatever you decide to do next!

    Posted by Chris Buxton (@ChrisB106) | December 24, 2011, 3:44 pm
  6. I’ve really enjoyed reading your articles. I think they are really well written and very thought provoking. It’s a shame that you are calling it a day but I totally understand where you are coming from…

    Posted by Hendo | December 24, 2011, 5:01 pm
  7. Thus endeth the most readable independent view of our team. Good luck in the future,

    Posted by rosso exile | December 24, 2011, 8:08 pm
  8. Glen, I came late to this site (within the last year) but have since come to regard its as something of a little gem. Yes, you could be a little provocative, a little controversial even. But the quality of the writing and the overall output was terrific and I really appreciated it. The photos alone were worthy of the admission money. And you were always on my wavelength so I could appreciate where you were coming from. That said, I didn’t agree with you all of the time.

    The best comment I can make, I guess, is that I will miss this site. I can understand what you say but, from personal experience, I should add that I take no internet comment personally. Anyone who writes abuse on the internet is a warped ‘anonymous’ who wouldn’t dare do it in public. Regrettably, it’s a feature of the internet and the world we live. But if people make phone calls then that takes it to another level.

    Here’s to hoping that your undoubted skills take you onwards and upwards and that you recover your zest for DRFC.

    Posted by BigH | December 24, 2011, 8:31 pm
  9. Have always enjoyed reading your take on the ups and downs and ins and outs of our club. Refreshing and entertaining articles – thank you and hope you enjoying spinning the words wherever next they appear.

    BristolRedRover

    Posted by Chris Wilkinson | December 24, 2011, 9:44 pm
  10. It’s sad to see the Barbarians at the gate triumph, but thank you for the many articulate and thought-provoking articles.

    Best wishes for the future,

    BlaxtonRover

    Posted by BlaxtonRover | December 24, 2011, 11:25 pm
  11. I am shocked at reading this. I remember when viva rovers began and being so impressed with your dedication and seeing how committed you were to the site.

    Good luck for the New year, I’m looking forward to seeing what your next venture will be!

    Posted by Maria | December 24, 2011, 11:26 pm
  12. Glen, I’m really sorry you think like that but I can understand it.
    I’ve always enjoyed reading your style of writing, well written, informative, amusing and yes you did make an effort!

    Posted by john | December 25, 2011, 12:09 am
  13. An absolute crying shame, I really am quite upset that this has happened. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading each and everyone of the articles on Viva Rovers. Good luck for the future Glen, I’m just glad that we’ll still have the fanzine.

    Posted by Nenpod | December 25, 2011, 1:11 am
  14. Please have a rethink Glen , before you call it a day , it’s never not to late.

    Posted by Neil | December 25, 2011, 9:40 am
  15. a dark day glen

    keep your chin up

    Posted by dave emson (bedale rover) | December 25, 2011, 3:55 pm
  16. I only picked up on your site in the last year, and it has been a beacon of sanity in the crazy world of internet football discussions, where some choose not to see things they would prefer not be there.

    Personal abuse goes with the territory nowadays, when someone puts their head above the parapet and says “but what about”…, for some it’s water off a ducks back, others carry it around as an unwanted stress.

    A world in which everyone needs to follow the party line in order to be a “proper fan”, belongs in the history books if anywhere. I am disappointed in those who can only see disloyalty in a debate. Pressuring those who have an inconvenient take on events just shows an insecurity in those feeling the need to play the bully.

    I hope you reconsider after stepping back, but if not then thanks for the work you have put in. All the best,

    Albie.

    Posted by albie | December 25, 2011, 8:16 pm
  17. Only started following the site this year through Twitter and although I’m not a Rovers fan (Gooner based in Donny) It’s quite a shame that you’re stopping. It was a great pleasure to read on here, even if it was just a few months. All the best mate.

    Posted by Harris | December 26, 2011, 12:26 am
  18. Very sorry to hear this, Glen, and best of wishes for your next step in football writing.

    When I first started to hear about the abuse, prompted perhaps by your excellent piece on the changing nature of DRFC a few months back after Saunders had replaced S’OD, I worried that this would be the natural outcome.

    No one can blame you for the decision. Depressingly, the group mentality will nearly always win out on such occassions. Let’s just hope that your support for Rovers isn’t affected in the long-haul.

    Posted by Lloyd | December 26, 2011, 8:55 am
  19. Glen as someone who used to stand near you in the pop stand when I was just an impressionable young lad I have always looked to you as someone who I knew would voice the views of ‘proper’ rovers fans not the fickle, rabid for instant success lot that have inevitably sprung up since the move to the KMS. I am very sad to read that what is the Bret Hart of rovers sites (the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be) is to be an ex blog, a late blog etc etc. RIP Viva Rovers. I had to stop posting on the VSC forum because well… I don’t want to get abusive myself so I’ll leave it there.I sincerely hope you re-consider and thanks again for the two issues of pop stand I won which I really enjoyed.

    Posted by Rob Johnson | December 26, 2011, 10:04 am
  20. This is a sad day for Doncaster Rovers but no-one deserves the dogs abuse you’ve had lately. I’ve suffered my share of it on the Viking Forum for daring to challenge the carnage being wrought at my club, but like you, I have now given up. I threw in the towel and left them to it.

    So-called supporters suggested I f*** off and support Leeds, so I’ve f****d off. Not to support Leeds, of course, but I am now one of the missing fans, so certain prominent ‘supporters’ need to look a little closer to home as to why we have falling attendances rather than laying the blame at the door of those who at least argue their cause with eloquence.

    Meanwhile we are patronised by the VSC moderators for even daring to have a different opinion.

    Trouble is, you are seldom challenged by folk with wit or intelect on the internet. It always seems to be some (presumably) spotty teenager who’s only concern in life tends to be whether we should have a ‘singing section’ and where it should be located within the ground.

    Some will follow the current regime wherever it leads them. I fear it will take them to hell on a handcart. This talk of mid-table before the season’s out (it was originally play-offs if you recall) followed by promotion next season is certainly blinding the gullible.

    Remember the fairy tale of the king’s new clothes?

    Has John Ryan been taken in by a snake oil salesman perhaps? Time will tell.

    Good luck in the future Glen. I for one will miss your reasoned comments.

    Bob

    Posted by Bob Roberts | December 26, 2011, 10:43 am
  21. Real pity you’ve had to step back Glen. Viva always showed an irreverent slant on things, in a day and age where spinning and media control rule. I hope you take the time to recharge and come back afresh

    Posted by Joy Division Oven Gloves | December 26, 2011, 1:35 pm
  22. I for one am delighted you are shutting down, I have only started to read this website in recent months but have known you for a long time. You have not only disappointed me but disgusted me at times with your recent articles. You say that it has not being a personal attack on people but for me that’s what it has being, just a constant flow of digs and negativity towards the club you claim to support. The way you over reacted to O’Driscoll’s sacking was ridiculous, there is never a nice way to sack anyone whatever they have done for you but that is how football works now (a shame I know) but I’m sure Sean understands better than any of us how the game works. I know we have never really agreed on most things but I have always had respect for you, but I must say that I have very little respect for you now. For me you have gone too far with the attacks on the club and the poeple involved with us. You have never given the club or the new regime time. It was always critisism and negativity straight from the start.
    For me you have changed massively from the Belle Vue days, you would always tell me about being more positive and giving players and managers time, something you have not done for Dean or the clubs idea whether you agree with it or not.

    Please don’t stop this website, ha, ha, ha, only joking.

    Goodbye Glen, bring back Trumpet Man.

    Posted by andy | December 26, 2011, 8:16 pm
  23. Glen,

    I’ve always enjoyed your articles mate, plenty of humour and well written, it has been a pleasure reading them. I’ve never posted before, rarely read the comments actually. So I was unaware of the unjustified abuse and can fully understand how you feel about it, at the moment. Give it a few days/weeks fella and as JOY DIVISION OVEN GLOVE(Good name by the way) wrote, recharge and come back afresh.

    You Reds, Kev

    Posted by Kev | December 26, 2011, 8:43 pm
  24. Glen, you took it upon yourself to abuse Willie McKay, John Ryan and Dean saunders, in response to your beloved Sean O’Driscoll being sacked. You Conveniently ignored the fact that O’Driscoll was presiding over one of the worst runs in the history of the club. When you do this, you must understand that not everyone will share your opinions, this doesn’t make you anymore thoughtful, reasoned or intelligent than anyone else. When your views are so one dimensional you surely can’t be suprised that people are going to react in a way that you do not find acceptable. When everyone agrees, and hangs off every word you type I’m sure running this website was wonderful. Sadly for you, and to the detriment of this site, your views became heavily biased against the club after the O’Driscoll sacking. With this in mind, I think it is best that you do indeed close this site.

    RTID

    Ben

    Posted by Ben | December 26, 2011, 10:38 pm
    • Ben, I think you need to read the piece above a little more closely. I have no problem with folk disagreeing with me and my own personal views on Rovers, indeed its obvious that many will. Sadly too many folk have felt the need to partner their disagreement with personal abuse, or just hurl abuse on its own, and its that which I don’t care for.

      I have questioned the new approach a lot, because I don’t think it was right for the club. I’m not adverse to the fact that you can only lose games for so long before something needs to be addressed, and I’ve said as much in articles. But the manner and method by which the club have undertaken that change is what has frustrated and irritated me with Rovers. As such I have questioned it to try and seek answers as to why that path was taken. I have disagreed but I have not abused people. I’ve not thrown insults at McKay, Saunders or Ryan, but I have questioned their approach. So if folk want to question my reasoning and opinion thats fine, people have done that since the start and I’ve always valued debate, but I don’t see any need for the constant abuse I’ve been receiving, and thats why I’ve closed the site.

      Posted by glen wilson | December 26, 2011, 10:52 pm
  25. Glen Sorry to hear. I regularly read your articles dont always agree but enjoy their tone and substance.
    I can’t understand some of the comments, why would someone be glad that you were stopping writing just because they do not agree with what you say?

    Hasn’t North Korea’s leader just died.

    O’Driscoll is God, best manager ever, he is never leaving…
    Official announcement.
    O’Driscoll is the enemy, Dean is our leader, we never liked Sean and he has left this club in ruins…

    Posted by John | December 28, 2011, 2:48 pm
  26. Hi Glen

    Isn’t it a pity that all the good things (rovers wise) that happen finish in such a sad way.

    Many years ago when I first discovered “WROEYS” YAURS site, it was a site for the formal meetings of mind regarding “The Rovers”.

    At the time there was good hearted banter between fans who on many occassions agreed to disagree, no harm in that.

    But slowly but surely that good hearted banter changed and posters on occassion began to be derisive of the posts that were placed on there.

    For whatever reason, Wroey called it a day with YAURS so it was good to find the “VIVA ROVERS” and the VSC sites.

    Now I discover that you have also been down the same road and have decided enough is enough.

    Shame.

    I have enjoyed reading your match analysis and the build up to games,and I am sure that many of the guys & gals on my worldwide mailing list have also enjoyed the same. Perhaps we have at times not agreed but that surely is everyone’s perogative.

    I have also enjoyed the many varied articles on the site, and it was a pleasure to meet you in the flesh for the first time just a few weeks ago

    I wish you well for the future Glen whatever you are involved in, keep in touch via the fanzine and I will keep sending the yearly summaries.

    My very best regards

    Ray

    Posted by raymond jest | December 30, 2011, 1:46 pm
  27. Hi Glen

    My best wishes to you as well. Doncaster Rovers fans (and fans of other clubs who have visited) will all be the poorer for the closing of Viva Rovers. I shall miss it terribly, but I also hope that your many talents will find other avenues of expression where they will be better appreciated.

    Best regards

    Brian W

    Posted by Dutch Uncle | December 30, 2011, 6:40 pm
  28. A blogging colleague retweeted this and I find it quite sad. Unfortunately we all know where you are coming from on this. I don’t know a great deal about Rovers, but the issues around the involvement of MacKay would bother me if it was my club. It was once – I am a Portsmouth fan.

    When people first detected the problems with Pompey in 2009 and put them out they got the same stuff that you appear to be getting here. Many fans learned the hard way, particularly those who the club feted because their websites were useful in getting the club message out. Clubs are far better at PR than fans are. Many of those knowledgeable fans kept quiet this time around because they were sick of the abuse. Guess what – the new owners dropped us back in the mire as well – we are staring another possible ‘insolvency event’ in the face.

    Debates are fine, healthy even. If bloggers are not careful of their facts they need to be put right. But abuse for asking questions and posting informed opinion is neither rational or reasonable. Abuse is the last refuge of the deluded. Blind loyalty to a club leaves fans wide open to having their loyalty abused over and over again, yet if anyone points out that the emperor has no clothes they are the ones set upon.

    No wonder football is dying on its feet.

    Posted by SjMaskell | December 30, 2011, 7:41 pm
  29. A real shame. Where to go now for constructive match analysis? I always enjoyed the tone and will really miss visiting as there really isn’t any place like this that I know of. Good luck in the future mate!

    Posted by Michael | January 4, 2012, 10:49 am
  30. A real shame Glen. I’ve always thought that this site is a real gem and your articles have always been fair minded, intelligently written, and more often than not, piss funny!

    A sad loss indeed.

    Posted by wheatley rover | January 4, 2012, 6:37 pm
  31. I am very sorry that the only source of intelligent, thoughtful and well written articles on all things Rovers is gone.

    I have to say I thought that you had been a little negative lately, which, with forty years of supporting the mighty Reds behind me I can sympathise with. I also didn’t agree with all you wrote, but it always made me think and often smile. This shouldn’t however have attracted the bile of those that consider only themselves to have valid opinions.

    They have not ground you down, they have only succeeded in showing themselves for what they are.

    Posted by John | January 5, 2012, 9:47 pm
  32. Hi Glenn

    It’s sad that you’ve chosen not to continue this excellent site but I can’t say I blame you.

    I too have posted blog posts and simple forum entries on VSC and received abuse from some idiots who the administrators allow to post on there. My response has been not to bother. It’s not that I can’t take it, more that I shouldn’t have to take it.

    Anyway, I hope you find something else to fill the gap Viva will obviously leave. Thank you for the entertainment

    Pete

    Posted by Peter Rowing | January 8, 2012, 6:10 pm
  33. It seems reasoned debate doesn’t exist anymore, you are either black or white, on the left side or the right, for or against. It’s a terrible shame we find ourselves in this situation. I look forward to future contributions in the Fanzine.

    Posted by Chris K | January 8, 2012, 7:23 pm
  34. Sorry to read this mate. Good luck in whatever you do.

    Posted by goonermichael | January 9, 2012, 3:52 pm
  35. As the man who posted the words “above all, it actually looked like someone made an effort”, I find it a crying shame that your having to ‘shutdown your keyboard’ Glenn. I would like to think that Viva could be resurrected again some day, when you have had a little time to reflect on things and a chance to review the support and appreciation of your work as displayed by the numerous posts above. Good luck mate – and au revoir.

    Posted by Mick | January 15, 2012, 6:59 pm
  36. You’ve just ruined my day Glen. It wasn’t a very good day to start with. Now it’s definitely a bad one.

    Over the years since I first picked up my keyboard in the late 90’s in defence of the Rovers, I have, hopelessly, had a mission to encourage the almost lost arts of thinking, of reflection and of providing evidence for a theory. As my old Dad used to tell me often, thesis, antithesis, synthesis! And it’s that synthesis, the marriage of ideas from disparate people, argued intelligently, that provides the insight and value that Viva offered so consistently. Viva Rovers has been a shining light. I am not aware, now, of any other Rovers site where anything beyond the fatuous, vacant and illiterate is offered.

    Glen, you have just closed down a window into sanity and a road that led to betterment. Good luck going forwards – but I’m going to miss both you and Viva Rovers.

    BobG

    Posted by Bob Gilbert | January 26, 2012, 4:51 pm
  37. The demise of this website is sad indeed.

    Posted by david hayes | March 31, 2012, 11:17 am

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