I did intend interviews with my betters to be a weekly thing. Alas, I’ve discovered that the folks in question have more important things to do than cater to my badgering. Fortunately, I’ve asked some genuinely kind folks and they’ve found the time to contribute. This week, it’s the turn of one of the most successful bloggers out there, Pedro of Le Grove.
I hope you enjoy it.
1. Le Grove gets a lot of criticism. Have you ever considered pandering your content more toward the masses, or does being consistently maligned only strengthen your resolve to keep your opinions honest and your own?
I think we cater to the masses already. We didn’t at the start and that’s why were heavily criticised. I don’t think we are nowadays. Le Grove is there to spark debate and conversation. That’s not a forced act, that’s just what happens when you have strong views. If people don’t like what is written in the post, they’re more than welcome to debate it out in the comments section with the rest. We like to think of the site as an online pub. Who wants to drink in the pub with someone who sits on the fence? Not me.You mention that we’re much maligned… I totally disagree. We have a huge daily readership with 75% of them returning daily, our community has posted over 1 million comments between them and we’re often invited to do things outside of the site with other publications. A few people saying they hate Le Grove on Twitter really is insignificant when you look at everything else. The irony of it all is that those people seem to be pretty au fait with the content they claim to hate so much.
2. Like me, there are many new starters and novice bloggers out there. In an environment as competitive and vast as the Arsenal blogging community, how did you reach such a level of exposure and success, and what advice would you offer to those of us finding our feet?
We did a few things. Firstly, we took a view that the manager wasn’t invincible which was pretty taboo back in 2007. We also committed to creating a piece of content everyday. If you want to grow a following, you have to post content regularly. Before I started blogging, I had a daily schedule of sites I’d visit. There weren’t many that blogged everyday, those that did, regardless of quality would generally get my hit. Arsenal fans are information junkies, feed there habit.
We’ve also never written for anyone other than ourselves. As soon as you start calming down your views or trying to satisfy every view point in a post, you lose any potency your content might have had. You’re also lying to yourself. You have an opinion… you don’t have six.
I think there are a number of things we can do to defend better. Firstly, practice defending. That would be an amazing start. I think individually, we have great defenders at Arsenal. We have the best right back in Europe, we have 3 very capable centre backs and I’m warming to Gibbs. We don’t defend as a unit though. That’s a problem. You can have average defenders who play in a world class unit.
I also think we need to use more video analysis. From what I understand, we’ve barely touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to analysing the opposition and the mistakes players make. We need to start upping our game. If you’re playing Stoke and you know who Delap is going to try and hit from a throw, you’ve got an advantage. If you’re playing Liverpool and you know which side Downing generally cuts inside, again, that’s a 2% you might not have had before. Players are lazy. Make then watch the videos. Just like Jose does at Madrid. Preparation is key. We don’t do enough of it.Finally, I’d look to bring in a proper defensive midfielder who loves sitting in front of the back four. That man is not Songinho. We could really do with a Gilberto like player in the middle. Hopefully that’ll be M’Vila.
If Arsene Wenger heads into this summer with the same attitude as last, then he needs to go. If he treats this summer like he wants to win the league, then I’d be more than happy for him to stay. This season, regardless of the finish has been a disaster. Most of that disaster happened last summer. I’d love to think he’s learned something from the errors and I’d love him to show us all he is still one of the best in the business. It’s up to him though… is he man enough to admit his errors and kick on and win us the league? I hope so…
I think I’d wrap my stumps around him and give him a big hug. Failing that, I’d probably bust out my MC Hammertime dance. Everyone loves that. Especially the ladies.