Anticipating an influx of new interest upon reaching the FA Cup final, Manchester City's official website published an unfortunate article called "The bluffer's guide to MCFC" on Wednesday. At first glance, it appeared to just be a bunch of basic info about the club for anyone who could barely spell "football" and didn't have access to Google. But as it goes on, the more it lives up to its title and reads like instructions for pretending to be a fan. For example:
If you are asked who your favourite players are from down the years — your credibility is at stake here — don't say Francis Bell, Colin Summerbee and Yaya Dzeko though these names exists, they are combinations �— have a good scan over the club website and check out who the current favourites are and who the club legends are and take notes!
Why is this turning into homework? I don't know. But a number of actual Man City fans weren't happy with what they felt was crass invitation to bandwagon jumpin' gloryhunters (you know, the kind every big club needs to be sustainable, but never blatantly acknowledge on their official website). So, after 24 hours of Twitter harassment, the club's "head of digital" posted an explanation/apology.
The tone was intentionally light-hearted, a bit tongue-in-cheek, open and welcoming. It was relying on the Mancunian sense-of-humour …but clearly some people didn't take it that way.
"Cringeworthy" seems to be the main complaint on twitter and I apologise to the hardcore fans for the misunderstanding. [...]
I suppose the word 'Bluffer's' might be the problem. We could have called it 'a briefing' perhaps, but I think most people would agree that it's short-hand for giving a quick explanation of the topic. It was hardly a genuine attempt to help people pretend to be fans - more an explainer to help those who might wonder what on earth the Poznan was if they see it on global coverage of the FA Cup.
If it really was presented as an "explainer" or just a collection of basic info, I don't think anyone would have found it so cringeworthy. But the fact that three straight paragraphs begin with "if you're asked" make it seem like it really is targeting bluffers. You know, like the title says.
These kinds of growing pains are going to happen for any club on the fast track to the big time, though. So don't be surprised when the club shop has a "You don't have to like us, just give us your money!" sale.