In The Blog – Down In The Box

by Neil Sherwin

Down In The BoxThe latest blog to feature in our series has nothing to do with bedroom activities or anything of the sort so keep your wandering minds in check.

Instead, Down In The Box is Barry Landy’s look at all things football and he was kind enough to give us all the details about his blog.

Hi Barry, thanks for taking the time to talk to us.

Hi Neil, not a problem. I find I have more time than usual to dedicate to the blog whilst I’m on summer break from university. The lack of a settled schedule during the academic year can sometimes mean it’s tough to write and maintain the blog as much as I would like.

So ‘Down In The Box’, what’s it all about?

Well, Down In The Box is my football blog that covers topics from international football, the Premier League, Football League, SPL and European competition. It doesn’t concentrate solely on one topic as I had never really intended it to at the beginning. It was set up in the aftermath of Ireland’s play-off defeat to France in 2009. In the days afterwards, I felt I had a lot to say and a blog seemed the logical option to express my thoughts. It has spiralled since then really. I had flirted with blogging briefly a few years before, so this time, I decided to make a concerted effort with it. Deciding to study Sports Journalism at university, it seemed sensible to have an online portfolio too.

As regular visitors to your site we are impressed with your attention to detail. How much of your time does it all take up?

It can vary really. With university and work commitments, time can be, and has been in the past, a premium. Writing the blog posts themselves are obviously the most time consuming and depending on the topic, researching them can take up a lot of time. The theme, a basic WordPress design, lends itself to quite a simple look for the blog, and apart from the posts themselves, it’s quite light on other pages/features. Due to that, I feel that attention to detail blog and design wise is a minimum requirement really.

You cover a wide range of topics, is there any particular area of the game which interests you more than others?

As far as blogging and developing my writing skills goes, I try to keep the subject matters on Down In The Box as broad as possible. Since it’s inception, I have covered FIFA reform (or lack of it), various topics surrounding the World Cup last year, Premier League politics, the Togo team bus shooting at the African Nations Cup aswell as the standard English/Champions League opinion pieces and my musing on the Republic of Ireland, which can often be lacking in the United Kingdom, where the majority of readers and visitors to the blog come from. International football and it’s intricacies interest me, I guess I miss it for the majority of the season when it’s not there. For me as a writer, it breaks up the club season and gives a different focus in terms of topics to cover. What with FIFA in turmoil, club vs country rows, countless tournaments, a wealth of niche nations, players and even continents in some cases to consider and  no shortage of breaks (a debate in itself), international football gives plenty of scope. Expanding on those, even the upcoming Under 19 European Championships, which I’m hoping to cover in depth given that Ireland qualified and there are no British teams involved, is something I’m looking to work on.

Having such a personal blog is a great way to showcase all your thoughts/work. Would you recommend it as an effective tool for any aspiring football writer?

Absolutely. As portfolios go, setting up a blog is certainly the most effective way to give your work a platform to publish to and subsequently build a readership and receive comments. As most writers will testify, getting negative criticism is part and parcel of putting your opinions and thoughts out there. Often, they are from other bloggers and can be constructive and helpful if you take them in the right way. Within a couple of months of setting the blog up, I applied to study Sports Journalism at some universities. I fell into the ‘mature student’ category at the time, and needed to write a personal statement as opposed to rely on my school grades. Thankfully, by that stage I had posted plenty of articles which acted as an example of my work. It seemed to do the trick. It’s perfect for honing your writing skills too. The more you do it, and read others of course, the better you’ll get. I’ve found it easier for sure.

What does the future hold for Barry Landy and Down In The Box?

Well, this summer, the plan is to simply increase the number of blog posts appearing on the site and begin to maintain some sort of consistency in that respect, something I’ve failed to achieve recently. Getting some exposure via guest appearances on other blogs, as I’ve done before for Back Page Football to always helps. Like I said, I do hope to cover Ireland’s progress at the European Under 19 Championships in Romania which kicks off late in July. Last season, I had lined up some interviews for features, one being with a Republic of Ireland international which was unfortunately curtailed to injury and some unhelpful press officers at a club that will remain unnamed. That interview has only been delayed though and I hope to wrap it up on onto the blog in September. Aside from that, our twice annual Transfer Deadline Day blog will be live at the end of the current window, where I’ll be trying my best to recreate Sky Sports News’ Jim White’s fevered excitement as the clock ticks towards closure. And lots of tweeting too.

Cheers Barry and best of luck with it all.

Thanks Neil, keep up the good work on Back Page Football.

As well as checking out Down In The Box, you can also follow Barry on Twitter!

Author Info

Neil Sherwin

Neil Sherwin

Co-editor of BackPageFootball.com and BackPageRugby.com. Writes mostly on Premier League, A-League and MLS with contributions to other sites including TheFootballSack, InBedWithMaradona and Bloomberg's BSports. Has featured on The Guardian's Football Weekly.

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