Former club fanzine editor Charlie Ward looks back at some previous incarnations
With the apparent resurgence of the fanzine and the decision for our supporters to run one, it set me remembering my years as an editor for our club’s fanzine, back in the 1980s and 90s.
Originally called “Supporter”, it was replaced by the edgier title of “Kick, Bollock & Bite”.
I was criticised by the then, Chairman of the club, George Gross, for a rather crude title (I suspect the words Kick and Bite, were not the problem), but, as I reminded him, the title was based on the reference he used to describe our opponents that preferred the route one, ultra-physical approach.
So as I explained to him, it was in fact George himself who was to blame for the title, for some reason, that did not seem to placate him, just the opposite.
I eventually decided that a new title was needed and re-named the publication “Own Goal”.
George was much happier with that and had great joy in pointing out that some of my more critical comments about the club and/or team were just that.
In the good old days, when the magazine first started, I would receive many contributions and was happy to use them.
My criteria was simple – no abusive language – no personal, vitriolic attacks on players or committeemen – criticism was fair enough, as long as it was structured and reasoned, no foul-mouthed rants just to have a go at someone.
The magazine varied in the number of pages, but was generally around thirty or thirty-four pages.
In those days there were no computers so you could not use Word or produce a magazine through the computer.
I had an electric typewriter and used stick-on letters to form the article titles.
Once I had completed the text, I had to literally cut and paste the pages on to a blank sheet of paper and then run the pages off, on the company’s photocopier.
Then it was out with the long armed stapler to fix the pages together.
It was a long, back-breaking exercise (once again literally), but, on completion, it gave me great satisfaction to see my efforts in print.
As the years rolled on it became more difficult to get outside contributions and it ended up with almost 100% of my content.
When we merged with Walthamstow Pennant in 1995, it brought a whole new raft of fans who, for a while regular sent articles which made the editorial efforts a lot lighter and then came the additional bonus, with David Chapman volunteering to print and collate the pages, which was a substantial burden off my shoulders.
But, sadly, as the year wore on, so the supporters dwindled and that badly affected the contributions from the fans.
The death of my magazine (for want of a better phrase), was not the number of ideas I had to come up with, but, the fact that David could no longer assist with the preparation of the magazine.
I had regular articles such as match day lineups/appearances and goals statistics, for both first team and reserves.
When I say that the majority of the articles came from me, that is not entirely accurate (which is very appropriate, as my articles were not always 100% correct, in hindsight).
I was lucky to have very co-operative first team and reserve team managers who would give me their comments for their monthly articles and I was always extremely grateful to them and all the other contributors in my time running “the rag”, otherwise, I think I really would have gone stark raving mad, trying to fill those pages, on my own (some would say that has happened anyway).
I always liked to put a few “funny” items in (usually, because I could not think of anything else of note, to write.
So I had fake adverts, relating to advertising the mag, a few joke columns from “guest” contributors, mainly poking fun at the team and other bits of nonsense, all helped to pad things out and hopefully, gave the readers a bit of a chuckle into the bargain.
Did I enjoy it? Yes and no.
I hated the actual typing and “making up” the finished product, but, I absolutely enjoyed coming up with ideas and thinking of new items for the magazine.
I would say, that on the whole, there we more positives than negatives and I defy anyone to not get some satisfaction from seeing your words in print, being read by others.
The magazine did attract a regular readership and if I was every late getting the pages over to David, I was asked, Is there going to be a magazine this month? So I suppose it must have been entertaining to the supporters if nothing else.
Mind you, Andrzej has plenty of time, he does nothing else, except, follow the team, edit the website, edit the matchday programme and organise the Twitter reports from matches, piece of piss really.
My one piece of advice is – when you stop enjoying it and it becomes a chore, stop.
Good luck, you’ll need it.