Back in the late 1980’s and early 90’s, fanzines were fairly prolific and, along with nationwide staple ‘When Saturday Comes‘, many clubs had a variety of these publications being sold outside grounds offering an alternative and independent view of the goings-on at each club. Keen to partake, my friend Ian Roper (god, rest his soul) and I thought we’d get in on the act and started up a couple of amateur fanzines based on both the local football and cricket clubs in our hometown of Market Harborough.
When I discovered these fanzines a few months ago at my parents place I was delighted as I had pretty much forgotten about them. They were very much modelled on ideas copied from long-running Leicester City fanzine ‘The Fox‘ and ‘Match‘ football weekly. We set about compiling these fanzines which were always destined to be a one-issue-only special yet amazingly the cricket one stretched for another year as there were more people to take the p*ss out of and we had features which could be expanded.
Heavily laced with irony and self-deprecation we produced a couple of rags filled with features like Skills of the Stars, Meet the Supporters, 501 Great Own Goals, The Unforgivables, Get Your Kits Out For The Lads, Inside My (Bus) Bag, Letters Page (all made up of course!), Editorial, Fake Surveys, Match Reports telling very little about what actually happened on the field of play, MAdvertisements (fake adverts), Player of the Year Awards and Merchandise.
Whilst most people of our age were probably chasing after girls we were sat in my room scribbling away (definitely no computer used back then!) to cobble together some half-baked ideas to fill all the pages (8 for ASS and a whopping 12 for TMS) of this publication in one evening! We loved writing it and putting it all together though and thought it was hilarious. It’s just a shame that very few others did!!
Writing W’s to look like bum’s and a title which could be abbreviated to ASS showed the level of sophistication of these fanzines. What could be funnier than making fun of each other and some other friends with anecdotes from yesteryear that no-one else would ever (care to) remember?!
Whilst ‘The Magic Spray‘ ran out of steam after just one issue ‘Another Safety Shot‘ somehow managed to reach a second issue with a heavily ironic ‘Wayne’s World‘ style about it. The cover was pretty much identical albeit with the same hapless hero wearing an Australian cork hat….and in colour too! (*)
For a publication that took less than ten minutes to read from cover to cover the 25 pence cover price may have been a bit steep (even back in those days!) but for me they are priceless, timeless reminders of a more innocent time before the internet, mobile phones, digital cameras and social networking had taken off.