(Index and links at bottom of page)
Football fanzines really came on the scene in a big way in the late 80’s and their popularity exploded in the 1990’s with literally hundreds of different titles being created covering just about every team in the country. The majority of the early issues were nothing more than hand written articles scribbled out in sometimes not very readable scrawl, photocopied and stapled together and sold (or even given away) for a few pence.
Most of the early attempts were put together by individuals who would put their own money into producing the fanzines and sell them themselves on match day. These were real football fans who werent driven by making money (although it was nice to cover your costs and earn enough for a beer) but by being able to have their say.
Irrespective of the quality a lot of people put considerable effort in and the fanzine gradually became a way for the the average football fan to get their voice heard and of course a way to keep up with the goings on at their club.
The titles of some of them were very imaginative as well with many references to club nicknames, star players, club colours, ground names etc being incorporated, some examples include;
“A Load Of Bull” – Wolves fanzine (Steve Bull was/is a legend there)
“Court Offside” – Bournemouth fanzine (They played at Dean Court)
“Cod Almighty” – Grimsby fanzine (a reference to their fishing industry)
“City Gent” - Bradford City fanzine (a reference to their nickname)
“The Oatcake” – Stoke City fanzine (a reference to a delicacy around Stoke)
“Super Dario Land” – Crewe (a reference to their managers name) etc etc.
It didn’t have to be a direct reference to the club either, for example a famous Coventry fanzine was named Gary Mabbuts Knee, why you might ask, he never played for them or managed them did he?
No, but Coventrys winning goal in the 1987 FA Cup Final went in off Mabbutts knee !!
So as you can see the titles of the fanzines themselves were almost as entertaining as some of the content and in fact many still live on as fan sites to this day on the internet.
Fanzines quite often clashed with the clubs themselves, after all a lot of the stuff said in them was sometimes pretty derogatory about either the team or individuals, usually the chairman. This led to numerous instances of sellers being banned from selling them near the ground and known editors/contributors even being banned from the ground altogether !!
Still they thrived and although they are now not as common there are still some VERY professional fanzines in existence. As an example of this Newcastle Utd have had as many as 15 decent fanzines to their name with some fairly interesting titles including Black And White, Boardbuster, Half Mag Half Biscuit, Jim's Bald Heed, Mighty Quinn, Once Upon A Tyne, Talk Of The Toon, Talk Of The Tyne, The Flying Magpie, The Giant Awakes, The Number Nine, Toon Army News, Who Wants To Be In Division 1 Anyway, The Mag and True Faith .... of those only The Mag and True Faith survive and both are very professional fanzines that some Newcastle fans actually prefer to the official programme !!
Of course this was an early concern from the clubs that the sales of these new “fanzines” would hurt their programme sales, what a lot of them failed to grasp was that it was exactly because of the quality (or lack of) of the official programme that fans sought to create these fanzines. In fact its been suggested that maybe the increase in quality of the offical programme over the last 10 - 20 years has perhaps been a direct result of the fanzines influence, who knows?
Anyway, fanzines grew and grew with some even going as far as sponsoring a game, for example, legend has it that the Millwall fanzine No One Likes Us was the first fanzine to do this when they sponsored a 2nd Division game against Plymouth in 1991.
So as you can see the whole world of fanzines moved out of the back bedroom of one or two diehards into a more organised arena and although still getting over the message they were able to do so in a more professional manner.
In the end they became an accepted part of the football culture and the clubs had to learn to accept them as well, in fact some teams now even sell the fanzine in the actual club shop !!
So as you can gather from above football fanzines offers a few different options for the football memorabilia collector, do you just stick to one team and try and get every issue (probably an impossible task I would imagine now) or do you try and get one from as many different teams as possible?
Whichever way you choose believe me you have some very interesting and infomative reading ahead of you as you look back at what was a really interesting period of change in footballs history.
We did have a site called Footyfanzines where we had thousands of fanzines groupled alphabetically, unfortunately though due to some low life hackers that site has had to be binned so we will over the next few months be adding the lists here, its a massive job though so please bear with us.
FANZINE Index - teams beginning with;
(Only the bold are live at the moment, the rest will be up shortly)