Most people who know me are aware that i’m a Robbie Williams fan. I have been since the 90’s and his days in Take That. Aside from being from Stoke, ( I am connected to Stoke with my family and spent a huge chunk of my childhood & teens there ) I kind of ‘got’ him, slightly mental but very clever. Far more so than he credits himself for.
Today I was on BBC Radio Stoke again to talk all things superfans. I don’t consider myself a ‘superfan’ in the way that some may label, but i’m a fan non the less. The discussion surrounded the question ‘Why doesn’t Robbie Support Stoke More’. Rob hails from an area of Stoke called Burslem, otherwise known locally as The Mother Town of the 6 areas that makes up the city, and sadly just like alot of areas has been hit by decline. Stoke is famous for its pottery, and as manufacturing has left the area over the years so has a huge chunk of the city’s income. If you believed some of the newspapers and (some) locals, its Rob’s duty to support the City. HE should be doing MORE to support his fellow stokies and be giving chunks of cash straight from his pocket. Just to name a few things he has done for the city in the past –
*Invested his own money in local football club Port Vale
*Give it Sum – £6 Million of his own money to the area via his foundation
* Donating his own tour clothing, awards and more to the RWFanfest organisation where events bring tourism each year to his home town to support The Donna Louise Trust of which he is patron. Total is now at 60k for that charity alone.
*High profile & public auctions of personal belongings and legendary pop memorabilia supported by Bonhams. All money to charity.
*£30k of his own money towards Sneyd Children’s Park
There are a whole ton more that went under the radar. More than I could fit on this page. Rob doesn’t shout about his charitable & city contributions because that’s not his bag. Is that the problem? now that social media has such a great impact on peoples lives maybe that’s how the negative comments can be disproved with factual stories of his kindness and giving. Is there a journalist or reporter willing to take on the task of writing a comprehensive and informative article about everything he has done for the city? Maybe I will do it myself.
It makes me sad that a small amount of people cannot see past the negative media stories. He shouldn’t be expected to have a blank cheque ready to fix the city problems. What do these people want him to do exactly? i’ve yet to hear anyone be specific about that – you cannot throw money at something when you have no clue exactly what you’re throwing it at? Does he knock on Mrs Jones door down his old street with a huge paper faux cheque and his cheeky grin? Stoke needs more than 1 man and his back catalog of hits to regenerate it. He has a job and a family just like the average man, the difference being he is incredibly well paid for it and famous to boot, if the shoe were on the other foot would YOU be willing to fix all the problems of your home town? Stoke is a big city – over 469,000 across the borough’s – so he will never please every one of them. But I really believe he has had such a massive impact on the percentage of people that his money has touched. Employment of nurses and carers needed for children that won’t live into adulthood. Income to public houses, hotels, pubs and local business profiting from the tourism generated from local events in his name. His work goes further and beyond what you see on the surface. The press and media can do wonderful things but sometimes they choose not to, instead fueling misconceptions that don’t deserve to be so wildly thrown about.
Putting aside all the monetary aspects, he has done so much more for the people of Stoke. He has given hope to artists, musicians, performers – hope that you can come from a small town and be a big success. Imagine what would happen if all those inspired and talented people became rich and famous? they too are likely going to be proud of their city that nurtured their talent and supported them, but right now all I can see with all these negative assumptions of Rob is that it casts a real downer on creatives trying to make something of themselves – they need the belief of their people around them more than ever right now. Lemmy was a famous Burslem born son, Slash also hails from the city and they never get half the grief that Rob gets. I cannot help but wonder why this is.
Maybe you’ll want to go and research this a bit more yourself. I don’t write this as a fan trying to convert anyone to also become one, or even to justify why so many of us are willing to support what he does, I write from a respectively informed point of view and facts.
I hope that even if 1 person changes their thoughts then they will encourage others to at least look beyond the end of their noses and really look at what this man has brought to such a vibrant and welcoming city. The people of Stoke truly are the nicest you’ll ever meet, and every single one I know personally is proud of Mr Williams. I’m looking forward to sharing more of my own RW journey with everyone, maybe I’ll make them proud too!