Friday, September 13, 2019

Nostalgia of Soccer (Football) Magazines Project-Part 12

In my continuing collaborative series with @1888Letter, I will ask the experiences of Mr. Miles McClagan. The twitter page of Mr. McClagan is a treasure trove of old Football Programmes and magazines mainly related to Scottish Football. He often shares these via flickr.

Name: Miles McClagan
Twitter: @TheSkyStrikers
Personal Description: St Mirren and Parma fan, collating as many football programmes as I can from e-bay and a big bucket, and sharing them with the world.

Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: At what age did you become a Football fan and how long after did you start reading Football Magazines?

Response:  I'd say around 6/7, my early football memories are the cup finals around 86/87 (particularly St Mirren winning in 87). I was living in Australia at the time, so magazines like Shoot! and Match were 3 months behind, but still worth getting. We kept up to date with a paper called British Soccer Weekly, so those 3 are my early childhood purchases.

Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: What was the first Soccer (Football) magazine that you read as a new young fan of the game?

Response:  It was definitely Match, when I was a kid I preferred that to Shoot! for some reason. I loved that Shoot! had the league ladders, but sometimes there would be a promised giveaway available to "UK readers only" where as that didn't happen with Match. When you are a kid, always want the freebies.

Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Were there other local magazines that you also read?

Response:  Not a lot in Australia, aside from the British Soccer Weekly newspaper. There wasn't a lot available beyond those 3 in my local newsagent. When I was in Scotland, I became absolutely obsessed with World Soccer - reading about a Colombia v Peru friendly, East German league action or whatever piqued my interest, particularly putting those teams edited into computer games. When I used to watch St Mirren, there was a newsagent in Paisley Gilmour Street that I used to stock up on - things like 90 Minutes Magazine and so on. The one thing I didn't really get into was Roy Of The Rovers, I think maybe the glory days had passed by then.

Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Describe the general format of these particular magazines? What was your favorite section(s) of these said magazines?

Response:  I think Shoot! and Match always were very kids styled - that's how I remember it anyway, they were the really colourful magazines for kids, the ones that sold themselves with big colour posters of Gary Lineker or whatever. My favourite thing about them was undoubtedly the freebies, rather than a section, collecting posters and league tabs. World Soccer, 90 Minutes and fanzines, which I moved to later, were more issues based - the world of soccer wasn't all good, some of it was crap! ID Cars! Boo! My favourite thing in World Soccer was the back section with team line ups and stats from international games. I think World Soccer was the reason I stayed a soccer fan to be honest, it helped me get into Parma, one of my favourite teams of all time.

Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Was the coverage of Football mainly local  British or was International Football news covered as well in a meaningful way?

Response:  The magazines in Australia were absolutely British focused - I know there were Greek and Italian newspapers etc, but they weren't readily available in Tasmania. Everything was focused on the First Division when I lived there - so aside from the 1 page of international news in Shoot!, there wasn't much news at all. It was only picking up World Soccer (and watching SBS when I moved back to Australia) that I got an appreciation for other countries.

Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: In general on a typical newsstand, how many choices were available for reading Football?

Response:  For choice, the best era was the early to mid 90s, once the Premier League era kicked in and you had that "football is cool" era, there was a LOT of magazine choice. Not sure how much of it holds up, but there was a lot of choices! In Australia, as I said, it was 3 magazines for a LONG time, and that only improved in the late 90s.

Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Do you remember foreign Football publications at your newsstands as well? If so did you read any?

Response:  Technically in Australia everything was foreign!
I remember going to Switzerland and coming back with an arm full of Swiss, German and French football magazines - I don't know why, I couldn't read any of them, but I had them for years, just purely for the pictures.

Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: I will ask this from everyone, one of my best memories as a young football fan was the anticipation of the day when new issues were available on newsstands. It was a weekly ritual that would stay with me for decades. In your own words, can you explain your memories of these days?

Response:  My main memory of this was unquestionably the little teaser at the back of the Magazine - and it'd just be something like "Next week! At home with Gazza!" but it'd be a great little hook until you get the next edition. I also remember just scanning the shelves for something new, and seeing that the World Soccer cover had changed from Chris Waddle to something else. I think that was my main memories, the visual change in cover, and how exciting it was to get a new copy, back in the days you had to wait for something!

Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Did you enjoy your magazines for the scores/league tables, etc or did you prefer the writing? Or was there an evolution as when you aged you started to appreciate the deep written analysis more?

Response:  I'd say when I was around 11/12, around about the time of Italia 90, I started to appreciate writing and articles more. That was probably around the time Keir Radenege was telling me things were wrong with FIFA - wait, you mean things aren't all great! I was a football nerd for a long time, so World Soccer and 90 Minutes and magazines with writing like WSC were what I was into - I had a big fanzine phase, so I liked reading about old matches and history and what was going on with the game. I did like World Soccer for the international results, and Shoot! was great when I was in Australia to find out about, say, a midweek cup tie I had overlooked, but I was an articles reader. even as a kid.

Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: How has the quality of your favorite magazines changed (for better or worse over the years)?

Response:  I think Four Four Two is probably the one that's stayed consistent - you don't get a lot of content these days outside of that and World Soccer, which I understand, because of the Internet. I stopped really buying magazines in the early-mid 2000s, just purely because you had things like Shoot! aiming entirely for kids and filling the magazine with Rooney posters. I think the fact you can see everything now takes some of the gloss off a magazine too - you can stay informed on German soccer more easily. The thrill of finding a new team in a magazine is kind of gone. Also, you'd find a much broader scope of coverage in the early days - you pick up a magazine from the early 90s and there's be an article like "Falkirk - crisis time?". Now it seems to be 15 articles on Liverpool, so that's a really significant change.

Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Looking back what was the best era for your favorite magazines?

Response:  Early-mid 90s, there was just the right balance to quality writing/free stuff/funny stuff that that was the best era. I remember Total Football giving away a Cherry Red cassette tape, which was a collection of sound clips and songs, which was AMAZING - there was little bonuses they were giving away with magazines in those days that are above and beyond. I think just that you could find a magazine or publication for whatever your tastes were was pretty amazing - my trips back to the UK in the mid 90s, I'd come home with a suitcase full of magazines. Not sure how many of them would hold up today, but at the time it felt amazing.

Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: The daily newspapers play a big part in the coverage of the game. Can you compare these daily papers to the weekly/monthly magazines?

Response:  The big paper in Scotland was the Daily Record, which was a pure tabloid focused on the Old Firm. As a St Mirren fan, lets just say we didn't get a lot of coverage! I don't remember getting a lot of value out of Scottish daily newspapers, outside of scores, to be honest.

 Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Has your taste in magazines changed over the years or do you still read your favorite magazines?

Response:  I had my own page in Four Four Two for a bit, so I got back into reading that, but that's gone now. If I was going to read a magazine now, it'd be something like Flashbak, a retro magazine. I think that'd be something worth reading. I think a magazine that focused on issues like WSC did, say covered the game outside the top divisions and delved into what was happening at Bolton or Bury, that'd be something I would buy, but I'm not a big mag purchaser anymore.

Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Looking back, do you feel these magazines kept you sufficiently informed about the events of the game as a whole?

Response:  I really do, I think the magazines kept me informed on life outside the week to week going to St Mirren games/watching the Premier League in Australia cycle. That was really the big thing I took from the magazine era, just broadening my football knowledge, and that there was a focus on life outside the big stars and top flight. I wish I'd discovered the "Look at Parma!" magazine earlier than this year mind you, that thing is gold....

Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Did your interest in reading magazines wane with the advent of Internet and 24 Hour Sports Television channels or are you as interested as ever in reading?

Response:  A little, but I think it was more getting older and the general wane of magazines. Shoot! magazine for instance went 100% chasing kids as readers in the late 90s, so I think that was the main issue. Initially Sky Football was a part of buying more magazines, because having live football made you a bigger football fan, and that tied into buying more things and more merchandise but that waned over time.

Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Are there publications that have since been defunct that you miss?

Response:  Goal Magazine, that was my favourite magazine. It's funny though, because obviously nostalgia makes things better. I remember I bought an edition of Total Football from the mid 90s, which I loved as a kid, and the editor was talking about being a "wicked lad" and they were talking about ladettes and describing the types of female fans... Lets just say it doesn't age well... So there are some magazines I love/loved, but they were mostly of their time, so I'm not sure I'd still buy them now outside of Goal Magazine.

Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Getting back to my earlier question about anticipating the release of magazines. Given that now many receive their magazines on PDF, do you feel that a level of excitement has been lost as a result?

Response:  I definitely do, I think anticipation for something in general is lost, I can't imagine anyone know waiting a week for scores in general! A PDF just isn't the same as something printed, and never will be.

Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Once again thank you for taking the time in participating in this project.

Response:  Any time, any time!

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