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Behind The @: we speak to City Watch

Introducing ‘Behind The @’, a feature dedicated to finding out more about some of social media’s sporting profiles. From popular Twitter accounts to YouTube superstars, we want to know more about the people behind the @ – the ones running the accounts that so many fans appreciate on a daily basis worldwide. In this edition, we spoke to City Watch, one of the most well-known Manchester City fan accounts on Twitter.

City Watch was created by a lifelong Manchester City fan in July 2011, and became the most followed independent City account on Twitter. Currently at the tail end of a hiatus, City Watch is in the process of expanding to the web and other forms of media, including a recently launched podcast.

RealSport: What made you decide to become a presence within City’s online community?

City Watch: It was summer 2011, and City had very little in the way of a presence on Twitter outside of the official account. I was ill and bored at the time so decided to start a City account. I had no plans or vision for the account and genuinely didn’t expect to keep it going for long.

RS: When did you realise you had a large online influence?

CW: It’s hard to pinpoint an exact date or time, but the number of followers shot up much quicker than I expected. I suppose reaching 10,000 followers was a landmark that showed @City_Watch was an account with a pretty big presence on Twitter.

RS: What was your first ever tweet? 


RS: There are loads of fan accounts, but what separates your account from the rest?

CW: I don’t like to judge or review others so can only speak for my own account. I think what attracts people to @City_Watch is its professionalism, reliability and honesty. There is very little bullshit on the timeline and people can log on every morning or night and find what they want. I’m very picky about what I tweet along with the composition of tweets, and try and keep things professional and engaging.

Less of the banter and insulting other teams, more of a focus on our own team. Basically, I want every tweet to mean something and in some way engage the followers. People probably don’t want to know what I think of United’s latest drab performance or Messi’s latest wondergoal, they want City information.

Do you get a lot of attention from professionals or athletes within the industry?

CW: Plenty read it, that’s for sure. Current players, former players, youth players, club staff, journalists. City’s own CEO even follows the account. Quite a few City supporting celebrities also follow @City_Watch, such as Ricky Hatton and Mike Joyce.

RS: Who are some of your Twitter rivals/ accounts you frequently clash with, if any at all? And are there other accounts you particularly get on with?

CW: I don’t have rivals and it’s one of my policies not to get into any drawn out mudslinging contests on Twitter. There have been a few incidents where I may have become a bit emotional, calling out a wind-up merchant like Stan Collymore, but it’s not really my nature to be confrontational and get involved in Twitter wars. I get along with most City fans I know on Twitter and speak to lots of them on my personal account. Of course, there are trolls from our own fanbase and others who like to have a go or make insulting remarks, but thankfully Twitter has a great feature called ‘block’!

RS: Tell us about a time where your tweet did something you didn’t expect (e.g. reached someone famous, evoked a crazy response etc)

CW: Right around the City appointed Pellegrini, Neil Custis from The Sun replied to a tweet of mine and it came back to haunt him a year later when Pellegrini lifted two trophies.

RS: If you could have any three people follow you, who would they be, and why?

CW: Honestly, I’m not in it for fame or attention so a long list of celebrity followers isn’t really on my wish-list. But I guess it would be quite nice if our modern day club hero Sergio Aguero ever decided to follow!

RS: Where do you think the future of your account lies? Strictly on Twitter? Or do you want to pursue other avenues, e.g. punditry, journalism, introducing your own product range?

CW: @City_Watch went on an indefinite hiatus in September and I was ready to give it up. Four years of fan service had taken its toll and a non-profit fan service is very hard to keep up at that standard. After refusing some cash offers for the account and receiving advice from some friends, I decided to bring it back and try to make something more of it with help from some brilliant people. It isn’t back yet, other than our new podcast (https://soundcloud.com/city-watch), but I’m working on a website and when that is closer to completion will bring back the Twitter account as it was before.

There are also plans for a mobile app, though that could come later. So my vision for City Watch goes beyond Twitter now. How far beyond depends entirely on how much people like the new things associated with it. I set no limits, it all depends on what is possible and realistic. As I said, I have very high standards and think the excellent podcast is a great example of that and how anything with the City Watch name attached to it will be of a certain standard. No matter what direction it takes, whether there are ads or promos or whatever to pay the bills, City Watch has to remain genuine and authentic because that is something I value above everything else.

You can follow @City_Watch here and listen to their podcast here.

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Behind The @: we speak to City Watch

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