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Our first milestone approaches: The Technical Area, July 2023
This month at SCOUTED, we made new beginnings and revived old classics.
Let’s just say, July was an amazing month. Tom ran through our subscriber count in early July and we were pretty chuffed that we had already hit 268 paid subscribers. Fast forward a little under a month, and there’s now over 400 of you — incredible.
This is great news for many reasons. Firstly, our guest writers are doing an amazing job, and as we signalled when we launched, we are committed to increasing their freelance rate as our Substack grows. We currently pay £100, and we are rapidly advancing towards the 500 paid subscriber mark upon which we can up rates to £150.
Our long-term goal of 1,000 paid subscribers will see us improve our rates to £250 — a price we believe is competitive with established media organisations (I wrote this piece in The Guardian, which also featured in print, for £150 in 2018) and beats almost every other independent publication in football (as far as we know).
This commitment is a major point of pride for us. Our guest writers are writing some brilliant and unique articles that we feel are worth paying for, and our July numbers suggest you all feel that way too.
Alongside strong growth in paid subscribers, we also added around 800 free subscribers, bringing our total e-mail list to a tick over 7,400, and our conversion of free to paid subs to around 5.5%. General Substack guides suggest that somewhere between 8-10% is a pretty normal conversion rate, though ours will be deflated slightly by bringing an already established e-mail list of 5,500 to the platform from the jump.
Nonetheless, we would love to improve this number! If you’re a free subscriber and have enjoyed the selection of pieces we’ve unlocked from the paywall, please consider joining us — your contributions go straight to writers and editors, not New York Times executives and shareholders.
Substack’s leaderboard currently has us placed 47th in their leaderboard for paid sports publications, up from 67th last month. The more this improves, the greater our discoverability is within Substack’s platform — success breeds success.
Next month on Notebook
Journalism and publishing are fickle beasts. Plans change, deadlines extend, something insane happens and diverts our attention.
So though we’d like to give you some idea of what to expect next month, we must aggressively point at the ‘SUBJECT TO CHANGE’ sign we’ve hung up over there. See it? Acknowledged it? Great.
Inside Royale Union Saint-Gilloise - Scouted Senior Journalist Joe Donnohue travelled to Brussels to chat to the leaders of RUSG, one of Belgium’s most historic clubs yet very recent up-and-comers under the ownership of Brighton’s Tony Bloom, to understand how the club has so quickly gone from underachieving obscurity to serious title challenger.
The [American] Right to Dream - We caught up with Ghanaian Academy Right to Dream to chat about their brand new MLS franchise, currently known only as San Diego FC, and how they’re planning to lead a youth revolution in the US — plus the explosive dual-rise of graduates Mohamed Kudus and Kamaldeen Sulemana.
Pathways: Ethan Nwaneri and Miles Lewis-Skelly’s route to Arsenal’s first team - Alex Collings walks us through London Colney’s precocious midfield talents, and how they could reach Mikel Arteta’s chosen eleven.
A Theo Walcott retrospective: Mohamed ‘MoeSquare’ Mohamed, author of the excellent Golden Boys of Yesteryear retrospective series, tells the story of an England winger who rose to fame - and ran in a straight line - more quickly than most.
Plus a ton more stuff. Stay subscribed! It’ll be great.
Things we wrote (and said) this month
July was a month of new beginnings and old classics.
Breakout stars: 12 young players to watch at the Women’s World Cup - we finally made our first foray into the women’s game by commissioning this preview from Yash Thakur. We’ve wanted to write on women’s football for a long time, but as an extremely cash-and-resource-strapped indie platform, we’ve never felt like we had the juice to do it justice. Because of the support of the people reading this, this summer we could finally pay a real expert a real commission to write something really good. We felt it fitting to make our debut doing what we do best: introducing you to the young players who’ll define the game’s future.
Talking Transfers: Arsenal / Manchester United / Liverpool / Chelsea - we brought back our Talking Transfers podcasts from last season, which are always a lot of fun for me to record. Imo they are a great, succinct, one-hour rundown of a club’s predicament, so hopefully they come across that way for you as well. They’re also the first audio-only content we’ve brought to Notebook, a development we’re keen to continue.
Antony v Gakpo v Madueke - the Eredivisie tax, examined - Our favourite Devil (Kees van Hemmen) got stuck into the Details of Antony’s performances in the Premier League. His analysis comes to really original conclusions that will shape how we watch the three aforementioned players next season.
Striking gold: Why every team needs a 'Project Nine' - I outlined my arguments for ‘Project Nines’, and why they can help clubs circumnavigate the outrageous inflation of the striker market. (It’s really good - Tom)
Brighton’s hidden aces - We’ve been recently infatuated with Billy Carpenter’s excellent publication Edu’s BBQ and were delighted to welcome to man himself to Scouted for the first time this month. Mr Carpenter did not disappoint: his original analysis of Brighton’s youth revolution is an addicting and revealing read.
The usual (unparalleled) tournament coverage: we continue our efforts to become the number one destination for youth tournament coverage on the internet. While bigger outlets are diverting writers from other beats to jot stuff down on the U-19 and U-21 EUROs, our dedicated team watched every minute. Here’s our standouts from the former and team of the tournament for the latter. Never half-ass two things; whole-ass one.
Once again, thank you for signing up and reading our work.
Our first three months of doing this has been the most fun we’ve had since writing the Handbooks and we have plans for it to get even bigger and better from here.