Media student Bron Jenkinson, who is on a placement at the club, reflects on a season spent covering the Spireites home and away…
Can you imagine what it’s like trying not to celebrate a 90th minute winner against Wrexham because you’re scrambling across your laptops files to find the goal GIF? Well, that’s what I had to endure in this weird but wonderful season as a new member of the club’s media team, and what an experience it has been.
It’s been an interesting year, from Tuesday nights in Wealdstone (you want some?), to sunny Saturday afternoons in Wrexham. What a season it’s been. If you had told me that we’d be in the play-offs by the end of the season after eight or so games… I’d have just laughed.
As part of the media team this season, it’s been more important than ever to deliver good content to fans. In light of the pandemic, it was truly vital to ensure we were feeding our social media channels with endless quizzes, funny memes and, of course, Throwback Thursdays.
So where did it all start? When finishing college, I felt that I needed a change. I had run a few social media campaigns in my old job and I really enjoyed them at the time, so I thought it would be a stab in the dark to study media at Sheffield Hallam and it was the best decision I ever made!
After my first year of studies, I found myself sat at home in the middle of a pandemic, I felt I needed to reach out and get some hands-on experience and use the time productively. Well, here I am!
When I was offered voluntary work with Chesterfield, I had no idea what was to come, a season of ups and downs, travelling across the country on Tuesday nights to watch the Spireites. It being the club I love made things easier – those three-hour drives back from London suddenly fly by when we’ve got three points.
It’s been a strange year or so for everyone across the world, but it’s certainly been a strange time for football without the most important thing in the game – the fans! There is one thing that has been highlighted more than ever recently, and that is that football is built on its supporters and without them, the game would simply cease to exist.
I’m one of the lucky ones who has still attended football matches and watched the team I love, but without the crowd on matchdays, it’s simply not the same.
Supporters fill the air with anticipation before a game and that is certainly something we have missed. As the media team arrived, there were no supporters chanting in the pubs, no pints being sipped and no Spireites shirts or scarves to be seen, anywhere.
Football is a game of opinions, and those opinions definitely aren’t restricted in the press box! However, one thing all members of the media team have agreed on this season is how badly we have missed supporters.
This is my first season in the press box after eight consecutive years of being a season ticket holder at the Technique Stadium. There is nothing I enjoy more than a chat about football, the anticipation in the stadium in the build-up to kick-off, the all-important pre-match pint and of course the game itself.
Spending most of the season in an empty stadium, the Dagenham & Redbridge game was certainly an experience, but I’m eager for that sort of atmosphere every week. Hopefully it is something that can return next season.
I’ve followed the Blues up and down the country for many years as a fan and nothing beats an away day with your friends, but games this year have certainly been different. Travelling down and arriving at the stadium sometimes up to three hours before kick-off, was certainly a strange feeling to begin with.
Entering the ground and sitting amongst fellow media members and press from other teams, rather than viewing the opposition fans from across the stands. Filming pre-match videos and warm-ups to show to supporters, with this kind of content being more important now than it ever has been.
When the match itself kicks-off, you still felt like you were watching the warm-ups, it could be dull and you heard every word from the bench, good or bad. If I had a pound for the amount of times I heard ‘I wish supporters were here’, I’d be a rich man for sure!
Throughout the 90 minutes, the sole focus is on the game, updating fans with minute-by-minute tweets and ensuring we cover the games on all social media platforms as much as we possibly can.
Post-match we speak to James Rowe. On and off camera we spoke about the game – he always has a few minutes to talk to you – whether the cameras were rolling or not. He’s a respectful man with plenty of time to talk, and he’s worked wonders on the pitch over the last six months or so.
With all the negatives of this season, one positive has been the growth in the club’s online presence since fans were restricted to following games from their homes. It’s still a shame though, because although this season has boosted the club’s online presence, it certainly hasn’t filled the hole left by fans and we certainly need them back next season.
We travelled home from games in the car and with no matchday traffic we always got out of the stadiums pretty quickly, but without fans that post-match buzz, even after a big win, just wasn’t as present as it should’ve been. The times are getting better and as a football club and country we are moving forward and getting back to the times we once had.
When supporters fully return, I truly believe we can blossom under the ownership of the Community Trust and anything is possible. Fans returning will boost the squad and that in itself is like two or three new signings. There is nothing more I want to see than a sold-out Technique Stadium.
Being a Spireite myself, it can be hard to separate the fan in me, but it’s something I’ve learnt to do. My passion for the club is normally more evident than ever when we win and evident when we lose. However, it’s about perspective in this role and I must always keep level-headed.
When we scored that last-minute goal against Wrexham to snatch all three points, I would say that is when it was the hardest. The fan in me wanted to jump up and down like a kid on Christmas Eve, but I couldn’t even celebrate as I needed to find the goal GIF to post on Twitter.
One thing for certain is that I will always be is a Spireite and nothing will ever take that away from me. The Blues will forever hold a special place in my heart, no matter where the wind takes me. That’s for sure.
Highlight of the season – It would have to be Bromley away, travelling three hours down the motorways on a cold Tuesday night to see George Carline pop up at the back post and grab those all-important three points late on. That’s the best feeling I had all season. What a moment it was!
Overall, the experience with the media team has certainly been one I’ll never forget – what an interesting season it has been. Moving into next season, I’ll be on placement at Chesterfield, working on producing engaging content for the socials.
It’s now that time where we can relax a bit, get excited over pre-season fixtures, debate over players we’ve never seen play before and all go a bit mad to find out who we play on Boxing Day.
Bring it on!