It’s been a whole 12 months since we, as a committee, took over the Exeweb.com website and what an incredible year it has been.
If I may, I would like to do a quick recap on how far we have come. I first contacted Stephen Morris in September of 2011 and asked if the site was still for sale. He said yes, but that it might be closed at the end of that season. I wanted to keep exeweb going for the next generation, to keep the legacy alive for all. I got together with another fan and we decided to create a group of City fans to buy the site. It was extremely hard work trying to convince people that there was a future for it. We then had a meeting in Gladstones with a few who were interested. Many walked away but we did have a group of committed City fans wanting to give something back to the fans and to the club. From that moment on we worked hard raising the funds and the final transfer was the first of January 2012. Apart from some teething troubles, the transfer went well and we are still here.
The first things we did were to transfer the site to a new server. This would increase load times, reduce downtime and – with a bigger capacity – host more content. At the time we were hosting a few websites including the Trust’s and still had the old database within the platform. We paid up for new licences and downloaded the latest software updates for vbulletin. The forum is now faster, safer and more secure. Extras were added such as linking videos from YouTube to play on the site and uploading pics directly instead of using an outsourced link like flickr. This is always a benefit.
I would personally like to thank our vice chairman Liam for his hard work within this area. His experience and expertise in this field have been exceptional. Without him, Exeweb would not be where it is and, again, my thanks go to him.
Our next move was to create a fanzine website on our platform which would host news and views from our Cub, league, and football which Exeter City has an interest in generally. The site went live and Hants jumped on it with gusto, with articles and features written for the City fans to read and comment on. I would also to thank him and all his hard work developing that site, with over 300,000 hits to the pages of the site, I would call it successful. Thanks also go to our contributor team and thanks go to Rae for proof reading our articles and writing a few herself.
The new guidelines had to be slightly tinkered with due to court judgements concerning peoples comments on social media sites and we now promote ‘What you post is your responsibility’ and the Moderators job is really to protect the posters from themselves. If they judge something against the rules they act to protect the poster from any legal ramifications.
Exeweb is not just a forum. It is a platform to host many sites. We have on our platform a multitude of sites which are linked to ECFC. We host all of these free of charge. We create and develop these sites so any group can have a voice on the web without any cost; this includes annually paying for the bandwidth, the web address and any licences. That way money that would have been used to host and maintain the websites can be used in other areas to help the club. We offer this to any group within the ECFC family.
Sites we have created and host are:
The Forum, Exeweb Front Page, Red Army, Siege Army, Cheggerspics, FriendsofAS9
Sites in development are :
ECFC Ladies Team, ECFC Supporters Trust, Grecian Voices.
We are moving towards migrating the Kellow’s Bootlaces material onto our server for future reference and to protect that legacy.
I started the new Exeweb with a vision for its future. I believe that is the role of any Chairman in a committee to have such objectives and guide those around him to fulfil it to the best of his abilities. The vision I had for Exeweb was this:
- That Exeweb would be self-financing and not for personal profit, any monies raised would be used in keeping the platform in good working order and giving any excesses to Club projects and sponsorship.
- That Exeweb is not to represent any one person or group but represent all fans of the Club. Within the forum everyone has the right to post their opinions as long as it’s not defamatory, libellous or abusive. Exeweb will always be there for the fans to express themselves. That any group wishing for an online presence be allowed one with Exewebproviding all services free of charge.
- That Exeweb would be an independent platform working towards promoting the work of all Grecian groups, fans and all that Exeter City Football Club does within the community of Exeter.
I believe that vision is being fulfilled and it now has a place to grow. I have had the opportunity to talk to many people about the site and believe the reputation of the Exeweb.com platform is changing and a mutual respect is now forming.
I was pleased when Exeweb was invited to be part of the Grecian Group forum and is recognised as an important group of fans of ECFC. I go once a month to these meetings and hear of the good work being done in the family of ECFC. I have made a few friends too and built a mutual relationship with the group.
I have attempted to join all groups linked to ECFC. I am now a member of EDG, NDG, Red Army (through my son) and will apply to the Supporters group, Exiles, Senior Reds, GWG’s soExeweb has membership to all of these. Of course, I am a trust member and have enjoyed attending the meetings to gain insight to the work they do. I recommend all to go and hear for themselves all that goes on.
So after a successful year Exeweb, through the adverts, is now self financing and people are coming back to read the forum. Many email asking for help to login because they have forgotten their password. Views are up and people are now logging in. Hopefully, this coming year will be a year where more people will also start to post and join the debate. Not visiting just to read.
I want to thank you all for your support these last 12 months as chairman. I have had fantastic experience in this role and could only have done it with you all supporting me. I believe we have now turned a corner and Exeweb will develop into an even stronger platform which other clubs fans will envy – and our fans will be proud of.