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Death Of The Zine Scene As Red Issue Ceases Production
Wednesday, 14th Jan 2015 10:22

In the mid 80's the fanzine boom saw football clubs the length and breadth of the land sprout up over night and at every club, sadly it now looks like the end of an era almost 30 years later.

The Ugly Inside made its first appearance back in April 1988, Issue 1 was a little crude but within six months or so we had got our act into gear and were instantly recognisable because of our striped cover, often imitated never bettered.

We werent the first Saints fanzine, the short lived "Junk Mail" beat us to that, but we would become the longest lasting as we changed from a paper based fanzine into the web site you are reading this on now, the paper issues were produced from that 1988 beginning up until 2000 when the web site was launched in August of that year, again we werent the first Saints web site, but we have become the longest lasting.

Sadly now the fanzine boom is dying especially in the Premier league where clubs see a change in the type of fan attending with supporters who would buy fanzines being replaced by those of a more affluent and family nature who want nothing other than official club product.

On Saturday against Saints, Manchester United fanzine Red Issue hit the streets for the last time, it had been going for 26 years and this was the 295th issue, they are not citing declining sales as many Fanzines still going are, but simply because it can't stand the stench of football any longer, the statement in the final issue perhaps said it all for thousands of supporters of Premier League and indeedbeyond teams who no longer attend matches

“The game we’ve been clinging onto is gone. Football now is happy-clappy families, half-and-half scarves, tourists and selfie sticks; there’s no point trying to fight that.”

Liverpool fanzine Red All over The Land are not lovers of United as you can well imagine however they feel a sense of camaraderie with their counterparts from along the M62.

‘RED ISSUE’ didn’t give Liverpool, Liverpool players or Liverpool supporters an easy time; just the opposite but even so, ‘RED ISSUE’ stood against the tidal wave of modernism in football especially amongst their own. They didn’t care who they upset and a lot of the time they said what many of us were thinking when it came to modern football. I never really took offence at what they said or did because they said what they wanted to say. They were a Fanzine."

"If we’ve had anything in common it’s the contempt we feel for the modern game but whereas they apparently still sold enough copies to make the effort of producing a Fanzine a viable venture I’m afraid that’s not really the case for other Fanzines".

Red All Over The Land themselves are feeling the pinch and they could well be another casualty before too long.

"Over the last season or two we’ve seen growing numbers of overseas visitors to Anfield and I’ve nothing against them but they’re not going to buy something that’s obviously unofficial and printed in English.

Add to this the huge number of others that now arrive and who definitely fit into the ‘happy-clappy families, half-and-half scarves, tourists and selfie sticks’ group. They are happy to pay an extortionate amount of money for their ticket and all the trashy tack that gets sold in the club shop, pay well over the odds for food and drink inside the ground but don’t give Fanzines a second glance.

To them football is the circus. They are what the clubs want and win, lose or draw they go home happy with their bag of goodies and selfie pics. They feel that being part of the famous Anfield atmosphere is to stand up and shout, “Who R Ya” at the noisier away support."

Perhaps we at Saints arent having the same problems as at Liverpool or United, in some respects although it cannot be doubted that as much as half the crowd this season wasn't going to the games 5 years ago, most of the new age supporters are from the Southampton area we are not subjected to the amount of "Tourists" that Liverpool or United are so we maintain a sense of community although in truth our previous Chairman was looking to replicate bigger clubs and saw no benefit in community, he saw more profit in tourists.

But perhaps what is disappearing that fanzines really provided was a voice for the supporters and out of that came the Independent Supporters Associations and the Supporters Trusts, back in 1988 fans did not have a voice, the Ugly Inside provided it and the ability to rant against the club when you felt it.

Clubs listened and conditions improved as club boards realised that you couldn't just keep treating the fans like cattle, you had to listen to them or at least appear to listen to them or you could face rebellion, of course it also helped that at the same time a lot more areas of entertainment was opening out and even the most deeply rooted club chairmen realised times had changed and that fans would no longer turn up week in week out anymore.

Back in the fanzine heyday the pre internet early 90's some issues of the Ugly would sell 3,000 copies, if you consider that was around 20% of our average home gate at the time that was an incredible figure, compare that to most clubs and that was incredible, Red All Over The Land confess that in their heyday they would get to around 3% of the Anfield crowd or approximately 1,200. Now they are struggling to sell 250 copies.

Times always have to change and evolve, the paper fanzine was of an era as was the rattle or rosette, but it is sad when the newer supporter cares little for tradition only the today, whereas 25 years ago we refused to be treated as "customers" we demanded to be part of the club as we "were the club", todays average fan is happy to be treated as a consumer and when that happens you are on dodgy ground as a football club because you are entirely dependent on good times happening and show me a business who listens to consumers, the few who do are successful, most don't which is why every week you read of another big company struggling and rebranding.

On line supporter sites as indeed this one is plugged a gap in the early 00's as many fanzines gave up the goat, but whilst they provided a voice for the fans, unlike the camaraderie of the paper fanzine, it wasn't a collective voice, it was easy to get your opinion across on a message board but instead of a single voice backed by thousands, it was a thousand voices and the likes of Rupert Lowe and Nicola Cortese were delighted, the fans were doing the divide and conquering for them.

At Saints now we have no paper fanzines and apart from the odd social supporters club, London Saints being the biggest and longest standing(and a fine job they do to) they are all small fish and do not provide a voice for the majority.

Perhaps times have changed, perhaps supporters dont want a voice anymore, these sort of things were said over a decade ago when after a cup final appearancce it all looked rosy, yet within two years we were relegated and on a downward spiral that looks almost unbelievable when you look back on it.

But it is sad that yet another part of fan culture is disappearing, for well over a century that culture has thrived right from Victorian times, be it scarves, rattles, terracing, chanting, right through the true terrace culture of the 60's/70's/80's ,some of it needed to go, most of it only through evolution.

So what fan culture will be left once the fanzines have gone ? at the moment little that is memorable !

Photo: Action Images

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GeordieSaint added 13:59 - Jan 14
Video killed the radio star.

dirk_doone added 15:41 - Jan 14
It's mostly just photos, but the Global Saints Facebook Community is worth taking a look at.



ericofarabia added 16:07 - Jan 14
Good point raised about The "Tourist" supporters who somehow get tickets each week. On Sun we bumped into 2 Dutch guys from Rotterdam on the tram after the game. Very nice chaps indeed, but they weren't supporters of either team, but had organised tickets for this game in particular, (not sure how, and also had entry to The Red Cafe as well), due to their interest in Dutch football. With both managers,plus Van Persie and Blind for Man u, and Elia plus Pelle and Tadic involve in the Dutch League they had a good time not worrying about who would win!! So you won't be surprised to hear that they each had a 50/50 scarf on!! In this one case you could nearly justify the existence of them!!! Fortunately they were not laden down with any huge bags full of Man U PLC merchandise unlike nuerous others.

BoondockSaint added 17:22 - Jan 14
Typical Scouse entitlement attitude. No one can watch our team except me and my friend. That's it, no one else! Oh, we want tons of money to buy players and win trophies, but that has to come from the owner, who we pretend doesn't own it. He has to do what we tell him with his own money. If not, we'll whinge and take our toys and go home!

You don't own Time-Warner just because you have a subscription to Batman.

Nick, you can't have it both ways. If Saints are to grow, as you have said, they need new revenue streams which is more fans to fill the (expanded seating) seats and selling gear overseas.

You slag ManU for fans for coming from all over, but isn't that what we want too? Look at the new fans Saints have picked up this year. Lots on this site-we should welcome them rather than look down our noses. What? You can only support the team you were born near? I know people from different parts or the world, and they support different Premier teams. Am I supposed to tell them they can't because they weren't born within the shadow of the teams stadium?

Yikes! We don't want to devolve into the stuff that goes on in music with everyone competing to outdo each other in their devotion. Like the song says: "I played Dungeons & Dragons in Ronny James Dio's basement-so I'm more metal than you!"

I say, come one, come all! Support Saints (just watch out, because it can be an emotional rollercoaster!)

luffy22 added 23:38 - Jan 14
I used to look forward to the ugly inside being sold outside the ground, and I would always buy at the archers end. Things have changed a lot, Lots of the articles used to make me laugh out loud, last week in the itchen stand I was surrounded by the people who were happy to be at match, win lose or draw it didn't matter to them. But I suppose Im getting there too, no longer does the cat get kicked and the wife ignored when the saints lose.

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