This page provides background on the formation of this site and its ethos. An extensive site map is elsewhere.
The sports sections of newspapers used to be printed under the heading ‘Sporting Intelligence’, although ‘sections’ is probably too grand a word to describe the few paragraphs that appeared. Here is the top of the page that included the small amount of sport in The Times (London) on Monday 10 September 1888:
From the same edition of the same newspaper, here are the football reports on the Monday morning after the first ever matches in the new Football League (where the top division is now better known as the Premier League).
Note that the top match ‘report’ – the big feature of the day – is 56 words long, and doesn’t actually deal with a Football League match at all. The weekend’s main fixture involved a touring Canadian side playing against “the powerful Scotch club, the Glasgow Rangers” at Ibrox Park.
The score was 1-1. The touring side (and there’s a picture of them in photos) included a born-and-bred Canadian, Walter Bowman, who would later become the Football League’s first ever foreign import, but that’s another story . . .
In other games that day, Aston Villa drew 1-1 at Wolves, Burnley lost 5-2 at Preston, and Newton Heath (later Manchester United) beat Blackburn 2-1. And in the same football round-up there was news of York and Hull, playing “under Rugby Union rules”.
The point is that Sporting Intelligence presented the most recent facts available – no froth, no spin.
As the sports sections got a little bigger, there was room for the occasional pseudonymous expert – The Parson or some such – to drop a bit of gossip or an explanatory thesis into the public domain. These dispatches, often gems, came from close to the heart of the sporting world.
The ‘Sporting Intelligence’ heading thus worked at different levels: relevant facts, inside information, analysis.
The media has moved on since then; changed utterly. But innovation hasn’t necessarily meant quality. All too often it’s meant regurgitation, especially on the web, with few sources being repeatedly endlessly, diluting in quality with each replication. Plagiarism is rife, as is PR guff. Good PRs have a role to play in journalism but far too often stories are PR-driven, not story-driven, and that can be as much the fault of an under-resourced journalism industry as spin-heavy PRs. It can all add up to lots of air and little substance.
Those of us involved with sportingintelligence.com aspire to something different. We might fail, of course, but then anyone can aspire to succeed and end up failing. That’s sport. But for now at least, sportingintelligence.com …
… is independently owned and independently run;
… will point you to ideas from elsewhere that we wished we’d brought you first ourselves, or that you might have missed, or we think plain fun (Quick links);
… will bring you our sports salaries database, allowing you to compare sports earnings from around the world on a like-for-like basis, presented with detail that allows an insight into whether cash really does buy success.
… will bring you regular insight especially into English football; we’re based in Britain after all, and football is No1 here by a mile. But no league operates in a vacuum, and where possible we’ll look at what sports can learn from each other, in all ways.
… and will aim to promote intelligent writing and debate on sport – all sport.
We also believe that it’s the right of the reader to say ‘Prove it’. So we’ll endeavour to do that.
Contributions welcomed for all sections of the site.
Get in touch.
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