How local do we need to be?

An interesting debate going on about the Ruislip Gazette and whether or not we are a Harrow or Ruislip club.

We have been having this discussion for some time and trying hard to persuade the Gazette that they should include us within their patch.  After all the simple fact is that we are playing senior non league football in Ruislip – not just this year but for the forseeable future.   So let’s get this straight – WE ARE A RUISLIP CLUB – now and until further notice but we are also a club with strong roots/connections in Harrow.

Most of our fans originate from Harrow although many don’t live there anymore.  Given our move to Ruislip we have no option but to try and attract support in Ruislip/Hillingdon whilst not forgetting our links to Harrow.  That is why we were delighted to host John Nickolay, Mayor of Harrow at the Harrow Borough game at Christmas and Brian Crowe, the Mayor of Hillingdon, who was due to attend a game in January (which was postponed) but still visited us to see the facilities and draw our New Year’s raffle.

I find the sports editor’s argument confusing mainly because he is refusing to report what is happening in Ruislip to people of Ruislip.  As a result he is not allowing the growing number of local people who are new supporters or linked to our growing junior club to keep in touch with club unless they buy a local paper for which the entire rest of the content will be irrelevant.

Our attendances are up nearly 50% this season and that is not from people coming from Harrow but because we are reaching out to local Ruislip kids and families through Ruislip schools and the local community and because we are also able to back up that offer with good, entertaining and exciting football and decent facilities.

I also don’t accept that the relevance of the issue around how other fans might feel if we took some of their space.  Surely the duty of a local paper is to report on the events happening within their locality.  It seems to me that the transformation of Grosvenor Vale and the inclusive way we are reaching into the community is deserving of some local coverage.   Hayes FM are covering us as well don’t forget (live reports every week), we are working with the local chamber of commerce as well as other Ruislip based community websites.

We are also attracting Hillingdon based businesses as sponsors and potential sponsors as well as Harrow based businesses.  Feedback I have had confirms that it will not help us in the long run commercially if we cannot get local Ruislip press coverage as these businesses expect that coming to us will be good for their publicity and rightly so.

So what can we do?  We’ve seen the arguments and we will continue to do our best to try and persuade the Gazette that we are worth covering.  We will invite the sports reporter and his editor to be our guests at a forthcoming match to continue this debate as well – I hope they accept our invite.

I certainly encourage local residents to write to the editor and ask why they should have to buy a paper covering another borough to find out the latest WFC news.

Nick Dugard continues to do a tremendous job (no surprise there) leading our media efforts and I don’t for one moment take for granted the coverage that Tim Edwards is giving us with the Harrow Observer.  I would like to think that part of this is because we have made a great effort to be set up so that he can get all the Wealdstone news he needs for his audience.  But given we merit coverage in the Kilburn Times as well we will just have to keep on trying to convince our most local paper that we are worthy of coverage there too.

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About howiejk

Chairman of Wealdstone FC since May 2007

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