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A whole new ball game for ex-West Brom keeper-turned-YouTube star Ben Foster

Ben Foster says his YouTube channel has given football supporters a whole new perspective on the beautiful game, writes Jude Aston.

Ben Foster
Ben Foster

The former Albion goalkeeper, now playing for Watford, combined his two passions – cycling and football – to launch his channel during the first coronavirus lockdown last year.

When he returned to playing in June, he was able to take his camera on to the pitch and into the changing room – and his popularity on YouTube, amassing 572,000 subscribers to The Cycling GK channel.

“The closeness I brought football to the football fans is what they’ve genuinely been crying out for,” said Foster. “They really want to see that personal side of the players because you only see a watered down side of the players – they are always so scared.”

So how did the Watford players and staff react to there suddenly being a camera in the dressing room?

“At first, they were (sceptical), for sure,” said Foster. “When you are in the changing room it’s almost like a safe place.

“I started it and everyone would turn their back to it and didn’t want to know but I’m clever enough to know what I can and can’t put out – I’ve been in football long enough to know that.

“Plus, I have a really great editor who is on the same page as me.

“When they started seeing a few episodes for themselves, they knew what it was, they realised it was a very good news story so they more than happy now.”

Foster even admitted that we get to see the more humorous side to the team, especially Watford midfielder Will Hughes.

“I pull my camera out now and I know for a fact Will Hughes will be trying to jump behind me trying to swear or mess about,” said the 38-year-old.

Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland are among those who have released documentaries in recent years, revealing how clubs are run from top to bottom.

Football vlogging has also become extremely popular – and Foster believes there is a whole new world to be tapped into.

“They (clubs) need to embrace it,” he said. “The YouTube world is so big, so vast and has such an appealing audience.”

“I genuinely didn’t understand what I was getting into when I started, the YouTube world is bigger than anything I’ve ever been on in my life.

“The market is out there, they don’t want to see polished interviews anymore, they want to see it a bit more raw and real life.”

After joining in September 2020, Foster recently surpassed half a million subscribers on YouTube – and says this is one of the highlights of his blogging journey.

“For me personally, hitting 500,000 subscribers was absolutely incredible,” he said.

Foster, 38, creates a variety of content on his channel which keeps fans engaged in and out of the football season. The former England international vlogs the lead up to matchday – chronologically capturing behind the scenes footage from the training ground, team hotels and places his GoPro in the goal recording the team’s action throughout a game.

Foster also produced a mini series of goalkeeper drill’s so young kids could experience what being a goalkeeper entails on a daily basis, which he completed with his son Louie.

With Euro 2020 in full flow, Foster will be doing a live watch-along of England’s Group D encounter against Scotland on Friday evening.

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