In my continuing collaborative series with @1888Letter, I will ask the experiences of Mr. David Stuart of Scotland. The facebook and twitter page of Mr. Stuart (Scotland Epistles Football Magazine) is a tribute to Scottish Football.
Name: Scotland Epistles Football Magazine
Personal Description: former fanzine writer and co-founder of the Scotland Epistles football magazine. Co-author of two books on the Scotland national side along with Robert Marshall.
Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: At what age did you become a Football fan and how long after did you start reading Football Magazines?
Response: I've always been a football since an early age and although my main interest in the early 70's from about the age of six / seven was football cards I would also read or perhaps more in the early years look at football magazines
Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: What was the first Soccer (Football) magazine that you read as a new young fan of the game?
Response: The first one I really remember is Shoot! in particular the early one with George Best on the front. I wouldn't always buy it as it all depended what my local shop would sell and if I had any pocket money. Around the same time though I would also read the Tiger comic which was more Sports orientated.
Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Were there other local magazines that you also read?
Response: Locally in Scotland there was the Football Scot magazine in the early 70's and I would try to get a hold of that too as it would often have Partick Thistle players in posters, a much treasured Item.
Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Describe the general format of these particular magazines? What was your favorite section(s) of these said magazines?
Response: I imagine the Shoot! has been discussed by other interviewees. One big difference is that Football Scot started out newspaper size making it a bit unwieldy and hard to store in many ways ‘Football Scot’ had a similar format with articles on players, teams etc. interspersed with posters. However, it was quite unique in also have weekly articles on the then Scottish Second Division, Junior (Non-League football), Schools football with a school team photo published too weekly too. It and the magazines that it more or less merged into Scottish Football Monthly and then Scottish Football Weekly also had articles on Women's football too.
Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Was the coverage of Football mainly local British or was International Football news covered as well in a meaningful way?
Response: As stated above it's coverage was on Scottish football but would also have articles on players playing in England but most of the pin ups were from Scottish clubs.
Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: In general on a typical newsstand, how many choices were available for reading Football?
Response: I came from Milton in Glasgow and rarely in my younger days would visit the city centre so really you were at the mercy of the lcoal newsagents and choice was not readily available. To be honest though if it was football card season I would have bought them before magazines.
Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Do you remember foreign Football publications at your newsstands as well? If so did you read any?
Response: Foreign magazines were not available at this time in Sunny Milton.
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: I did not have a lot of money available to myself so I could go weeks without buying a magazine but then the likes of the League Ladders might be issued and catch the eye so would then be bought. Sometimes it was the front cover that caught the eye with a Thistle player on the front or a poster inside. One of my early memories is of the Shoot! printing a Thistle team photo in the late 60's or early 70's in the middle pages, unfortunately it was shared with an Ipswich team too.
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: As a youngster it would be the photos but as I grew older some of the articles. Despite being the co-producer of a Scotland magazine and the co-author of two Scotland books I still have the terrible habit of skimming through articles at times. PS the answer to the last question should have read "I didn't have a lot of money".
Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: How has the quality of your favorite magazines changed (for better or worse over the years)?
Response: My favourite magazine and those that followed are of course long defunct from about the mid 70's/ There have of course been other attempts at Scottish Football magazines including Scottish Football Today, The Punter, Fitba', Pride that all went by the wayside.
Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Looking back what was the best era for your favorite magazines?
Response: Naturally it would be the 70's for me. Football magazines, cards, collectables were all at their height back then with the exception of perhaps Panini stickers of course.
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: I don't really read newspaper coverage mainly as I live in Glasgow so the majority of coverage is all about the Old Firm although I do think their overall coverage of other teams is perhaps better than ever before it is all about Rangers and Celtic!!
Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Has your taste in magazines changed over the years or do you still read your favorite magazines?
Response: To be honest i don't really read them that often. The Shoot is gone but the monopoly of coverage for the English Premier League galls me to my core along with that of International teams. The kids magazines are extremely dumbed down too as are the cards. Occasionally I will buy Backpass magazine and did enjoy the fanzine type such as Stand and Football Pink, otherwise I glance at very few.
Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Looking back, do you feel these magazines kept you sufficiently informed about the events of the game as a whole?
Response: The input in the magazines was good and did keep you informed and from time to time I also enjoyed World Soccer in the late 70's and liked the depth of it's coverage.
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: My interest in football waned at certain points as Music took over in my life. Now if you want me to go on about Sounds, NME, the Melody Maker, Kerrang!, Smash Hits, Q, Mojo I could do also.
Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Are there publications that have since been defunct that you miss?
Response: As I said I do miss a Scottish Football Weekly / Monthly based one but don't think we'll see a printed one return with the advent of blogs, twitter, Podcasts although Nutmeg Periodical is avaialble now ever few months.
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: As I say buying a magazine is an irregular thing for me these days so there no anticipation and perhaps it's more a nostalgic magazine that will catch my eye rather than one covering today's football and footballers.
Soccernostalgia/@1888Letter Question: Once again thank you for taking the time in participating in this project.