A new magazine enlightens our football horizon: Soccerama, a magazine for football culture. It entered the scene with aplomb, selling out the first print run in just 3 weeks.
The market for football magazines seems to have exploded in recent years; not just for football magazines but also magazines covering all sorts of areas and catering for many tastes and pastimes. Soccerama is no exception from this. The subtitle reads ‘The Culture of Football’ and its
raison d’être is to publish timeless, in-depth features about the culture, the politics, the people and places of football, with a mixture of historical research, travelogue, and interviews with figures of the modern game. There are also significant obituary and book-review sections.
Readers get a plethora of this! There are no less than 320 pages of football culture context to be read and digested! That is a lot!
Writing an article can be a pleasant experience. From the moment the gem of an idea is sown until the moment the piece is finished. The same can be said for an academic piece. The pleasure of finishing my Phd thesis in December last year was tremendous. Now imagine this: the first issue of Soccerama is 130000 words long and intends to be published quarterly. That is at least its claim. These figures are even more astonishing when considering that the editor Hyder Jawad has done most of the work by himself within a space of 3 (THREE!!!) months. This puts my thesis thoroughly into the shadow: it took me 7 years to research and write it.
Considering these factors, it is even more laudible what Hyder Jawad has achieved with Soccerama. The magazine or rather bookzine – it is 300 pages and more! – is well written, comes in a pleasant shape that is easy to handle. There were just over 500 copies in the first print run which has sold out in the first three weeks after publication. Another print run of 200 is currently under way.
The focus is on text and there is a lot of it. There is a long interview with the doyen of football writing, Brian Glanville. Instead of writing a eulogy, Jawad examines the football writing and the novels of Glanville. As a football writer Glanville is the bad conscience of English football as he stated:
“Natural talent has been abused, improvisation has largely disappeared, ball control and positional play have declined to such a degree that a player really well endowed in both has become a rarity.”
This may sound familiar to many contemporary football writers but it was detected by Glanville as early as the 1950s.
One piece researches the history of the Prieto family of Chile which saw two footballers for Chile at the 1950 and 1966 World Cups respectively, two presidents of the country and one Olympic athlete from 1896. This is a huge achievement for one family and Jawad traces the history thoroughly and narrates this story in a way that won’t let you put down the magazine.
From an Anglo-German point of view of particular interest is an excerpt of Colin Grainger’s biography, written in collaboration with Hyder Jawad. Grainger, who played for England against West Germany in Berlin in May 1956, recounts his childhood in Havercroft during a period of hardship as the Depression held the community firmly in its grip in the early 1930s. The village and the circumstances certainly formed Grainger and make this chapter one of the most interesting to read. Moreover, there is no over-glorification of his background taking place. Rather he states that he was one of many who discovered football as a veritable career option instead of going down to work in the pits as his father did.
The market for magazines of the likes of The Blizzard, The Football Pink, Pickles and Soccerama seems infinite. Moreover, these magazines borrow heavily from football’s rich history. All these magazines refer to the past, either as sporting papers (The Blizzard, The Football Pink) or cultural items directly related to soccer (Soccerama – it was a board game in the 1960s) or the World Cup 1966 (Pickles).
The next issue is planned for February/March 2016 and will equally be as rich a reading experience as Jawad has assured.
The magazine is available through various channels: ebay and amazon or can be bought directly via pay pal if you send a payment of £10 to Hyder Jawad directly. Likewise you can follow Soccerama on twitter @soccerama1 or find it on facebook.