By Neil W. Blackmon, writing from Atlanta—Loyal and disenchanted readers, who at this point must be one and the same. This is a newly minted Editor-In-Chief asking for another chance. For four weeks, we’ve failed the soccer community, our fellow writers, colleagues and friends, and most of all you in covering the game we love so dearly. Rather than list off a set of excuses as to why this happened, let us assure you that it stops on Friday, January 28, 2011. The Yanks Are Coming, our little blog born in a coffee shop after Michael Orozco had a bad day at the Olympics turned national mainstay more thanks to you all reading than what we were writing, is back and we are set on being stronger, more comprehensive, more reader interactive and more dynamic than at any point in the previous two years.
Two critical things have occurred that should be disclosed in the interest of transparency. First, I failed as the new Editor-In-Chief to delegate properly or keep my writers informed as to why it was difficult for me to post at the onset of 2011. This is the primary reason for the lengthy delay between Puck’s piece New Year’s Eve and what I am writing today. That won’t happen again, either. I am as committed to the folks who have made writing for this blog a joy as they are, I believe, committed to continuing to be careful, attentive writers who genuinely hope to improve for your and each other’s sake. I believe the content in the future will reflect this commitment.
Second, we have had internal dissent over the site layout. As you all know, we changed in late November to the current site format. Gone are the banner, the Yanks drawing (which we were asked politely to remove by the US Soccer Federation), and the script at the top of the page. The color scheme is no longer red, white and blue and there are a host of widgets, notably the USMNT twitter feed, that have been removed. The idea was to make the site cleaner, more modern looking, and to ensure the pieces were easier to read. To some extent, this is precisely what occurred. In other ways, the change did not sit well with at least a handful of our readers and the majority of our writing staff. It is my belief that problematic combined with my delegation failure created a disincentive to write on the part of the writers. As Editor, my personal opinion as to the merits of that disincentive or the failures of the new site layout must remain just that—personal opinions. My job is to respond to my fellow writers and to the extent reasonable, find a medium and layout they find more agreeable. In the next couple of weeks, we believe we will find such a formula, although it likely will not be greatly altered from the one that we are currently using. I felt this was a necessary disclosure to you, the reader, in the interest of transparency and because, of course, your input is highly valuable.
I wrote above about commitment to each other, the site, and the readers. That primarily begins and ends with content. It is not, at the end of the day, about site layout, site format, or how your graphics look. Our content will continue to be the best we are able to provide with a tacit acknowledgement that we can do better, and will make every effort to be better and heed reader suggestion. That said, a secondary issue is the visual nature of the site, and we are committed to that improvement as well.
Thank you for your time invested in reading this apology. We hope you will accept it and continue to rely on The Yanks Are Coming, which continues to the be the only USMNT-centered blog option in a soccer blogging community that is growing and offering an increasingly high number of quality reading options. We are committed to ensuring we remain one of your high-quality mainstays.
Yours Very Sincerely,
Neil W. Blackmon,
Editor-In-Chief, Co-Founder, The Yanks Are Coming