... the end
We want to thank all the people who have wished us good luck for
the rest of our lives, and also the who are trying to find
solutions to keep us open.
We are studying their propositions with great care and
consideration, taking in account that we are also still under
the shock of having close what was probably our greatest
That decision to close wasn't taken lightly, it took an awful
lot of pain and aggravation for us to come to that conclusion.
So, before thinking about reopening and starting all over again,
we need to be sure that we will do it for the right reasons, in
the right conditions and with the right people.
We will keep you informed of the future of this space, so, keep
on logging, people...
... the end
As of the end of the World
Championships in Manchester, all updates on this site ceased.
It was certainly a good place to finish, the biggest event of all in
your own backyard, but also the event that tipped us over the edge.
For a while now we've been struggling to find a way to keep it
going, and the conclusion is that it just isn't financially viable -
never was - so we have no choice but to close and go back to our
HAD ENOUGH ...
It's been a bit of a rollercoaster for the last five years, working
on SquashSite - after a few years on SquashPlayer before that.
But it's over, and here's why.
This is a little note more particularly aimed at the players I’ve
had the chance to come to know and learn to appreciate over the past
A NORMAL DAY
It's ended up taking over my life completely. I'm pretty much
trapped in my little room behind the garage all day most days when
I'm home. Getting up early to check for results from up to nine or
ten simultaneous tournaments, chasing the ones that are missing,
incomplete or wrong and reformatting them, downloading photos,
editing any reports, putting them up on the site … then do it all
again, often several times a day.
And when I'm out working on my
normal job (software training) I always need to have my laptop
THE JOYS OF TRAVELLING
Then when we go on tournaments it's often unpaid, it's always long
hours, and if all you want to do is to see a hotel, a bus and a
squash venue it's great, really….
We're lucky that we're both
self-employed, so can go away for periods. But we're effectively
taking unpaid holiday when we do, and even worse, we're turning down
more and more work offers that can only make the prospect of getting
more offers harder.
People seem amazed when I tell them that Squashsite isn't my
full-time job. It is a fulltime job, of course, but not one you can
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY…
As a business model Squashsite really doesn't work - like much of
squash itself I guess. But then we never really saw it as a
business, it was just a good thing to do for the sport we both love.
Over five years we've managed to build income to just over £20,000
from advertising, shop, sponsorship and official site fees - we made
big losses in the early years - but the costs of running it are just
under £20,000. And just to be clear, every penny of that has come
from tournament promoters or advertisers, not a penny from WSF, PSA
Example – Remember the Petrosport Open in Cairo, back in July? It
cost us £900 to cover, flights, internet (yes we had to pay for
that), phone, travels. We were going to do it 'low-key' but were
told it was important for future prospects to cover it properly. For
whose prospects? Certainly not ours.
Example - Internationaux de France. We covered that for no fee, just
travel expenses, but we were treated very well, everything we wanted
was done for us and everyone was friendly and helpful - that's not
always the case.
In those five years Framboise and I have taken out of the pot around
£3,000 each - yes, for the whole five years - and there's very
little in the pot now. That's around £25 a month …
WHAT TO COVER
We always had a problem with how to cover some events – we wanted to
do them all, but had to differentiate between those who paid or
supported us and those who didn’t, and to some extent, we used the
funds from those who paid to help us cover some of those who
didn't!!! Not fair on anybody really.
We often ended up starting off a tournament with the intention of
doing a ‘minimal’ coverage, and gradually doing more and more on it
- often because people were sending us stuff which we just couldn't
not use - and sometimes we had to pay those people, so it ended up
costing us to cover a tournament we were trying to ignore!
In the end, I think the ‘why should we pay them’ (or ‘why should we
pay them much’) became prevalent, because everyone knew we’d
probably do it anyway…
THE LAST STRAW
Personally I wasn't initially hopeful of striking a deal with the
PSA (see Fram's note for more detail) but it was all looking very
positive, and we were left in little doubt that an offer was
forthcoming, whether we took it or not.
For Fram, after months of trying to find a solution, talking to all
the people she could think of, making clear that this was the last
chance, the closure of this deal this week was the last straw. She'd
had enough, left the World Open, and wants out of squash completely.
This left me with a decision. To carry on, hoping something would
happen, or just carry on anyway because I couldn't think of what
else to do.
I'm a fairly shy and retiring person - I like to keep in the
background, and I like to think that if you do a good job it will be
noticed, appreciated and valued. The first two are undoubtedly true,
but evidently not the third. When I see us doing official sites and
spending a week onsite, all for less than the cost of the flowers
decorating the court, it doesn't help.
So, should I sign up for another five years of slaving away for
nothing, destroying the rest of my life … or do something else. I
can't just cut back, that just doesn't work for me, so it's all or
nothing, and you know what … I'm choosing nothing.
I've had enough, I need a break, seeya.
As you know, boys and girls,
Steve and I have been working flat out
to serve you and the squash community for the past five years. We
built the site from nothing, and within a few months we had become
the leading site, mostly thanks to your involvement, and your trust
in the new angle we tried to give to squash reporting.
A NEW TONE
We gave a voice to you all, you, the players, all of you, and not
just the top 10 as previously. And also, your coaches, your parents,
your support groups, your sponsors, the referees, all the people
that ARE squash.
We invented a completely new approach to the
tournament coverage, highlighting the qualifiers that were too often
ignored, when they are the ones that desperately need the
spotlights, and made all involved in a tournament come to be known
by the squash fans all over the world.
The tone, often funny, sometimes sexy, always cheeky, was never
journalistic. I never went for “the story”, quite the reverse, if
there was one, I would bury it! I never took the word of a player
out of context to twist them and change their meaning, as too often
And the only aim I had from the start was to provide you
guys with a safe place, where you were protected from the sordid
attacks, and sometimes from yourself, when your words, your
adrenalin reaction, could have been damaging to the sport, or to
yourself. The only thing I knew how to do was to promote you, and
make you look good…
WHY GOD, WHY??
Why? Because I loved the sport beyond reason, but most of all, I
loved you. For the past 5 years now, you have been the children I’ve
never had the chance to have, my “babies”, as I’ve come to call you.
I’ve been protecting you to the best of my abilities, often taking
your side sometimes rather loudly when I saw you been attacked, or
in my eyes unfairly treated.
I became close to you, too close I was told, too involved, too
passionate. But because of that relationship, that closeness, you
opened up to me. You trusted me. And thanks to that trust, I’ve been
able to understand your distress, your joys, your functioning, and
I never ever betrayed that trust. Of that, I’m o so proud.
AN EXPENSIVE HOBBY…
But as you must know, Squashsite has been running for all those
years with no profit. The money we got from officiating as events'
official website and the few adverts we got generated around a
maximum of £22,000 per year. And our expenses, the flights, the
costs of travelling, you know the drill, running costs, etc, came up
to around £21,500.
Even if maths are not your thing, it doesn’t take a genius to
realise that we couldn’t go on working 16, 18 hours per day, the two
of us, day in, day out, for nothing, for much longer.
LOOKING FOR SOLUTIONS
Eighteen months ago, I knocked at all the doors I could think of, I
begged, literally begged, sponsors, promoters, associations, to help
us, as I knew we were drowning. Everywhere the answer was the same.
“You are doing a great job, but we just cannot help, the sport is
poor. Why don’t you ask so and so…”
Of course, I approached WISPA, PSA, and WSF. WISPA couldn’t help
more than they already did, they just didn’t have the resources, and
WSF didn’t feel concerned.
LA DERNIERE CHANCE…
I then started a long series of discussions with PSA. A breakthrough
seemed to happen a few weeks ago, when we were told that the new
board was actually willing to make us an offer. The idea was to work
with us to try and make a new site for the squash community, which
would have regrouped all medias, to transform the PSA site, not
active or attractive to sponsors, into “THE place to be”.
At last, we were going to be able to function with a structure
behind us, and serve the whole community. That was my dream, that’s
what I was trying to achieve since the first day I came on the
scene. Steve and I were working with a few board members on how to
make this dream come true.
But completely out of the blue, in a rather clumsy manner, we were
told on the 14th that the offer was withdrawn, and that this support
would never come. That the board did not think that we should be
part of their new plans…
And that was the cherry on the cake I guess. For so many months,
years, we’ve been taken for granted and our dedication been abused
by so many people. Under paid, treated too often like second class
citizens, we ended up having to beg, plead or shout to get the
minimum, like food, drinks, a decent seat, or the right room in the
tournament hotel. Not to mention having to pay for many flights
while others travel in luxury…
Vastly Overworking + lack of support + lack of money + plus lack of
respect = lethal combination.
So, this is it, guys. That’s it for us. Like Steve, I need to make a
living, I need to get a life, really, and like I warned everybody up
there, this failed project was my last chance to be involved in the
It’s been a privilege working with you all. All the moments I’ve
lived with you have enriched me beyond belief. I’ll be remembered by
my “so not Anglo-Saxon” outbursts of emotions, I guess. I don’t make
any excuse for those, I actually claim them, as those emotions are
what fed my writing.
For all the stunning moments you made me live, for all the smiles,
joys, tears, experiences, friendship you gave me for those past
years, I thank you. Squash is a fantastic market place for
remarkable people, for outstanding human beings, and I know I’m a
better person for knowing you.
The Frog, signing off.