It’s official! Although the news was leaked at the start of the year, we can now confirm that Kirsten Schlewitz is returning to 7500 to Holte as editor-in-chief.
Over a decade ago, Kirsten co-founded 7500 with another fresh-faced new Aston Villa fan, Aaron Campeau. The two were so new at this whole “England” thing that they believed the country used kilometers, and as such measured the distance from Seattle to Birmingham that way, leading to the blog’s name. Even after figuring out their mistake, the two simply shrugged. This was the type of Aston Villa site they wanted to be: imperfect, irreverent, even sometimes esoteric.
Since leaving 7500 in the imminently capable hands of Robert Lintott and then James Rushton, Kirsten has gone on to do many things, including writing and editing for other SBN sites, freelancing for NBC Sports and FusionTV’s SoccerGods, earning a completely useless law degree (though never come at her on Twitter crying “freedom of speech” or attempting to define sexual assault, because suddenly that degree will become useful indeed), defending an alleged war criminal (completely true story), founding the Adem Ljajić fan club, moving to Balklandia, seeing Luka Jović first, learning she can use statistics to illustrate team and player performance, and—most importantly—co-founding Unusual Efforts, a website and community dedicated to amplifying the voices of women and nonbinary persons in soccer media.
Oh, but she does call it football. Mostly.
When asked why, when she podcasts about Serie A side Napoli and crows about the joy of the Bundesliga as compared to the Premier League, she decided to return to 7500, Kirsten replied:
7500 is still my baby. It’s what launched me into the world of soccer media. It created friendships that have stood the test of time and distance. But, most importantly, even through all those times I’ve bitched about English football, I’ve never lost my love for Aston Villa. I wanted to put myself into a position where it was once again my job to know everything about this club—and I’m excited for the 7500 team to impart their knowledge to ensure this happens.
Kirsten realizes that since leaving 7500 to Holte, a great number of changes have been made. She’s not here to turn the site on its head: you’ll still find information about how to watch matches, recaps of games, man of the match posts, player ratings, and the Holtecast. However, she does hope to make a few changes around the place:
When we first started 7500 to Holte, we prided ourselves in being a different sort of blog, a place where you could go for more than just straight news—because there are plenty of websites for that. Hell, there’s Twitter for that. We wanted to inject some fun into Villa fans’ lives, because let’s face it, sometimes it’s rather difficult to find the fun buried in all the negativity that can surround this team. So we had regular columns like “Andy Marshall Brings the News,” in which the reserve goalkeeper would present the best stories of the day, or “Player in My Pocket,” which I started but allowed a number of writers, even fans of other teams, to talk about their PiMP of the week. We showed that we didn’t need to play it straight with match recaps. We also had one-offs like Robert applying to be part of the Aston Villa Fan Squad, or Andrew turning transfer “news” into a post about how we are all just way too twitchy during transfer season, or Aaron poking fun at how Villa’s “rebuilding” process would go.
That being said, I don’t want to get stuck in the past, as much as I loved the team that I had gathered around me before, and the amazing photoshops they created. I can’t wait to get to know my new team better, finding out their specific talents and applying them to make this site even better. I love to push writers to their limits, but I also love to encourage their imaginations to soar, and am happy to post anything from the whimsical to the deep dive.
Will James be missed? Tremendously. He lifted this site up and helped it soar. The team he grew around him is excellent, and it will remain in place. But look forward to some changes around here, as Kirsten gives the place a little shake, and hopes that writers take the initiative, or come together to hash out ideas, to find unique angles and look deeper into certain stories. Kirsten is also willing (and is passionate about) to work with new writers, so if you’re interested in becoming part of the 7500 team, or just submitting a one-off piece, please get in touch!
Welcome back, Kirsten! Your signing in this transfer window is second only to that of Pepe Reina (thus far).