by Mauro Cappiello
STE...fans, the only real tribute to Stefan Edberg on the web, turns 12 years old
Our website gets one more year older and, even though it’s still young, it has already come a long way. The Stefan Edberg project we have started from a blank page 12 years ago has reached a popularity and an authoritativeness that can’t be ignored.
I was thinking this morning that maybe there’s not been one single day since July 2001 that has ended without a little update, a little brick to make the website more complete or more graphically attractive. And I was also thinking: how many amateur sites, with no real sponsors and no organization behind, in a place like the Internet (where even heavily sponsored projects start and die every day) can proudly say to have such a long history behind and such a bright future ahead?
I would like to start thanking all the people who have been supporting STE…fans in many ways. Contributing exclusive content, just like the live video from the Hall of Fame induction we have shared a few days ago. Or making Paypal donations that have all been invested in purchasing new (old) stuff from eBay to make the site richer.
Since our landing on the social networks, a little more than three years ago (we started a Facebook page on June 15th, 2010) the interactivity with the fans has grown a lot. Further contribution to the new dimension of our project has been given by the site’s new version launched just two years ago, on the day of its tenth anniversary.
These two factors have allowed more and more people to discover our website, enlarging the small community of a few friends that was the basis of our followers as it all started, but also for many years.
I want to personally thank Federico Ferrero, an Italian commentator for Eurosport, who mentioned our website during the broadcast of a women’s first round from the French Open and I also want to thank Tim Boeseler, chief editor of German Tennismagazin, who tweeted his appreciation for our recent English translation of an interview with Stefan Edberg appeared on Tennismagazin itself. These are just two pieces of evidence of how STE…fans has been noticed by international tennis experts.
More and more notorious members of the world of tennis are becoming our followers, even though they know (or, at least, they should) that it’s not the real Stefan Edberg who tweets, but they are “just” adding a fan page. After Pat Cash and Henri Leconte, IMG, Tennis Stockholm, Adidas Tennis, Open 13 (Marseille Atp tournament), WTA Linz, Fila Canada and many many others.
So our Twitter account is approaching the 500 followers, a mark that our recently redisigned Youtube channel has already overcome, also thanks to the creation of the new section dedicated to the hot shots that has had a huge success. Always talking about numbers, it was amazing how we went beyond the 16.000 Facebook fans right during Wimbledon, when Stefan’s appearance on the Centre Court and our exclusive HD video caused a boom of 501 visitors, a record in the website’s history.
We are doing our best to keep all the new things running, even if it’s not easy to keep up with all the sections the site has got now. We would love to create new quizzes more often, or at least to update the rankings with a higher frequency, and we would also love to have the time to make our Site Staff section more complete, giving visibility to each and every fan who has contributed to make STE…fans a better place. That’s why I’m inviting all of those who haven’t done it so far to send me your profiles and a tennis related photo, so you can be added to the section.
Some ideas we are particularly proud of have been born in the last twelve months. Not only the HOT SHOTS!!! video gallery we’ve already talked about, but also the “Tecnique” section, made up of articles analyzing Stefan’s style of play. We will update this section every now and then and, at the end, we will create a unique pdf file collecting all the clippings and the translations, a must have document for every Edberg fan.
Talking about clippings, let me remind you that the reconstruction of Stefan’s career and life through old and new newspaper and magazine scraps is one of the main goals for our website. There are already 77, from 1982 to two days ago, but, as you can see from the image below, it’s just a very very small part of my Stefan Edberg archive. And of course you can participate in this huge operation, sending in your scans!
We’ve also started a redisign of the Photo gallery, to make it more usable and lighter for our server. I don’t know how long it will take to end it, though. The home page needs to be redisigned, as well.
The big project for the month of August, though, is the English subtitling of a 25 minute special from the Swedish tv, made in 2012 before the Kings of Tennis that I recently managed to have translated, thanks to my friend Ulf Bohman. And also, again on the social network side, I’ve started thinking about Google +, that has become more and more used, especially in the US…
A birthday surprise
All of this takes time and passion. During these twelve years, a lot of persons, looking at the website, wondered why should one spend hours of spare time to update a page dedicated to a player who hasn’t been active since the last century. Then you visit the official page of the Västervik Tennis Club, where Stefan Edberg started playing tennis some forty years ago, and you find that, in the section dedicated to him, there’s a video from Youtube named “Stefan Edberg, simply the best”. That video was the first one I edited in early 2005, when Youtube didn’t even exist. So, you suddenly have the answer…
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