Football Fanzines – Website and Text
Just a quick Bank Holiday shout out to a new website archiving Scottish football fanzines. The author contacted me about using text from my degree dissertation I wrote back in 1999, and kindly agreed to republish it under a Creative Commons ShareAlike license. Given its age and its focus on the English game, he has customised the text to make it more appropriate to the site, though you can read my original text here. I enjoyed writing this, and remember the hundreds of club fanzines that I used in my research scattered about my flat.
I located the football fanzine within the self-publishing movement, noting its historical affinity with the punk DIY style and ethos, and its relationship with the official matchday programme and a mainstream press and media increasingly infatuated with the elite of the Premiere League. I surveyed the role of the fanzine in a professional sport that had, within the decade, undergone a radical reorganisation at the top level, fuelled by satellite TV money, and seen an ‘embourgeoisement’ of the supporter community, characterised by a ‘new laddism’ fandom culture. The fanzines at the time responded by adopting a semi-ironic role in fetishising the working class terrace culture of the 70’s and 80’s whilst attempting to give a voice to an increasingly marginalised traditional support base.
Even at the time of writing, it seemed a ‘golden age’ of football fanzines had already passed, and whilst some traditional printed fanzines continue today, much of what they represented has transferred online, and onto blogs and supporters’ forums. That said, I think fanzines have played an important role in recording the shifting social and cultural identity of football in the UK, and the web can provide an important archival platform.