Non-league football is often seen as a friendlier and more community-based alternative to the glamour and riches of the Premier League, but Vanarama National League side Boreham Wood managed to irk two clubs in the space of a week, leading both to take online action in very different ways.
Following their home match against Tranmere Rovers last Tuesday, the Hertfordshire club refused to let Tranmere have a copy of the match video without paying for it, prompting their Wirral opponents to find a novel alternative way to show their supporters what the goal looked like.
The idea is an homage to the Phoenix from the Flames section of popular 1990s programme Fantasy Football League, in which presenters Frank Skinner and David Baddiel would join an ex-footballer in recreating an iconic goal.
Tranmere’s video, as of this morning, has been viewed more than 7,000 times, while the tweet linking to it has had 134 retweets, showing how a little imagination can cause online ripples.
Shortly after, Tranmere’s neighbours Chester FC were similarly peeved when they were told that their volunteer-run commentary service Blues Live, as well as Chester-based radio station Dee 106.3, would need to pay a fee to cover their game at the weekend.
Both parties refused, and Chester released a statement explaining to their fans that there would be no commentary on Saturday’s game due to “unprecedented charges” being levied by Boreham Wood FC.
Boreham Wood appeared to take exception to this, and issued a statement of their own. To be polite, it’s not the most professional or eloquent of statements, accusing Chester of “whinging” and implying that the Blues Live service is financially unsound.
To make a point that the lack of commentary was about principle rather than money, Chester fans began to donate to Borehamwood area charity Signpost, hoping to raise at least the £50-80 Boreham Wood had asked for and support what fans believed to be a better cause. That amount was reached within a few hours and, by the end of the weekend, more than £200 had been collected for the young people’s counselling service.
Both these activities show that in the online world, plenty of good can come from discontent. The two clubs had reason to cheer on the pitch as well, with Tranmere winning 1-0 and Chester managing a 1-1 draw from their respective visits to Boreham Wood’s Meadow Park ground.