ANALYSIS: FOOTBALL FANZINES: The Beautiful Writing Game ; Fanzines Have Been at the Heart of Football Culture since the 1980s. Russell Hotten Picks His First XI
Hotten, Russell, The Independent (London, England)
A Love Supreme
Sells up to 12,000 per issue, which makes ALS Britain's most popular footie fanzine. A polished and professional glossy booklet, it is far removed from the DIY production style of many other fanzines. Strong on layout and design, there is a good mix of bite- size snippets and longer pieces. There is often a 'Crap Joke' page devoted to poking fun at Sunderland's rivals, Newcastle. But ALS does not go in for ranting, and it is broadly supportive of Sunderland. There is, for instance, an article sympathetic to the club's hike in season ticket prices.
Britain's longest running football fanzine, Gunflash started life in 1949 and has just produced its 500th issue. It is the official magazine of the Arsenal Supporters' Club, so some might think that it does not qualify as an independent fanzine. But the important thing is that it is a voice of the fans, even if that voice is less opinionated than other fanzines. The lay-out is conservative, and many Arsenal fans think rival magazine The Gooner is sharper with better writing. But Gunflash must be doing something right to have survived this long.
Show Me The Way To Go Home
The club is struggling, but Show Me is a great vehicle. There are some strong words and strong language, but there is also a genuine dialogue between the fans and the club's owner. Reading match reports where attendances of 248 are considered good and where the only source of food at a ground is a burger van, is a salutary reminder about the state of football in the minor leagues. But 40- page fanzines like this also remind you that clubs in those leagues have supporters every bit as passionate as fans of Premiership teams.
Fly Me To The Moon
Emap's 2005 fanzine of the year, awarded because of the quality and passion of the writing, and the good humour. First published in 1988, unlike many fanzines it comes out for every home game. Has a circulation of about 3,000 per issue. Remains true to the fanzine ethic of low-tech production. The content is very much by the fans, for the fans, and the emphasis is on entertainment. There is a strong letters page, and good columnists (check out the surreal Unpleasant Feelings in the Bath if you get a chance).
Those Were The Days
Innovative front covers give TWTD an underground feel. The fanzine, which sells about 2,000 per issue, is appearing in a folk art exhibition at the Barbican centre, London, created by this year's Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller. Articles are written by a diverse band of dedicated fans, which avoids giving it a cliquey feel. There are plenty of items updating readers about club news, but also several dull space fillers. No area of the club is safe from criticism. A long article savages Ipswich ball boys for their lacklustre performance.
United We Stand
The front cover looks like a football programme, but the inside pages contain a simple layout and a lot of grainy pictures. It contains some of the best football-fanzine writing, and is strong on United's illustrious history. UWS features regular interviews with players and management " a credit to the fanzine's influence among fans. But it is not slavishly pro-club. It will be interesting to see how UWS covers the Glazer regime. Along with the rival fanzines Red News and the more fiery Red Issue it is leading …
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Publication information: Article title: ANALYSIS: FOOTBALL FANZINES: The Beautiful Writing Game ; Fanzines Have Been at the Heart of Football Culture since the 1980s. Russell Hotten Picks His First XI. Contributors: Hotten, Russell - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: August 8, 2005. Page number: 11. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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