1Eyed Eel

Parramatta Eels Supporters Website

Over the weekend, Mark Pigram left me a voicemail message regarding various complaints he was going to make about this site, and then he called back to let me know that a raft of former board members "who all have one thing in common, they hate your site" were going to be co-signatories on the complaint. I won't mention any names, because I have nothing other than Mark's word to suggest this is the case, but I guess it's no secret either that various boards have not appreciated the open-ness of this site.

One of my greatest personal flaws is that I'm only ever at my most motivated, when I feel I've been wronged, or have a point to prove. I only really started treating this site seriously, when I got booted off League Unlimited, and I'd pretty much made a decision to back away from the politics of the club until I got suspended. Indeed, most of the things I'm proudest off in my life, started with me saying to myself "well, I'll show you".

And so that voicemail, has triggered another one of those moments for me. I'm sure you all know that I've stepped back from the site for the past couple of years - there have been various reasons for that, but mostly related to a lack of time due to my business growing and commitments like my junior rugby league involvement. I've also wanted for the site to develop its own "brand" that wasn't tied to myself. However, I guess what I've come to realise most recently is that I'm never really going to be able to create any real distance between myself and the site and that my own "brand" is tied to the site and the community.

So the upshot of all this, is I've put 1Eyed back on my plate - I've re-organised my schedule to give it a dedicated amount of time each day, and I've made a commitment to take it to the next level and start working towards building something even bigger and better, and something that I, and indeed everyone that is part of the community, can be really proud of.

The first step in that, in solving the technical problems. The biggest issue we have faced with the site is we've been kind of stuck on an old, unsupported platform for a number of years that as you all know is buggy and has had a bunch of technical issues. As its a hosted platform (ie I don't have control of the computers that the data relies on) moving platforms has generally come with a compromise of losing the history of the site, and I haven't wanted to do that. However, I've had some firm discussions with the platform provider, and work has now started on moving us across to the latest version of their platform, while retaining hopefully all, or at least most of, the old content. All goes well that should take place in the next few weeks, but given technical projects almost always take longer than expecting, I'm treating it as a "rest of 2017" project. The completion of that, will move the platformto the same one that the Orf Seezun experimental site ran on, which those of you that tried it, will know provides a far superior mobile experience. 

However, it also gives me a bunch of flexibility to put in place a number of ideas, I've had for a long time, and I'm keen to get back into writing for the site as well. And I'm totally open to any of you guys who would like to get more involved, or have ideas, to throw them by me and we'll see what we can do. If you want to get more involved with the site, let me know.

There are two reasons the site has annoyed past power-brokers of the club. Firstly, it does have a massive reach and as such is particularly influential, but also because we have never shied away from giving supporters a voice, even if they're things that the people who running the club, don't particularly want to hear. The site is often criticised for being negative. It's not. It's just has a very low tolerance for fools and those who put themselves before the club. As has been shown by the general appreciation across the site for the work of Max Donnolly since he has come in and pushed forward the reform movement, this community can be very supportive of those in the club who get in and do a great job. And I also believe whole-heartedly this site better than any other platform reflects the broader Eels supporter-base. The feelings I read on here, are invaraibly the exact same words I hear around me when I go out to a game.  

I believe the club needs this site. I believe we wouldn't be so far down the path of reform and professionalism if it wasn't for the pressure that has been exerted at various points of history. And I can't help but feel pretty guilty when the latest reform proposals were shot down, because I don't think we used the site to support those changes, as we probably could have, and have done in the past. 

So thanks Mark for the kick up the backside. I'm back.

P.S. I have promised Mark Pigram that given he is no longer able to defend himself, that I would not allow for derogatory comments to be made about him, as is generally the policy here for non-members who don't involve themselves at a club-level. So please respect that in both this blog and generally. Thank you.

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Fair enough Phil

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