Review of an opinionated but no less dedicated and well organized fanzine from the North East of England.
From little known North Ferriby on the banks of the Humber originates this splendid little magazine, called View from the Allotment End whose focus is North Ferriby United, a small club plying it’s trade in the shadow of Hull City in the National League North, England’s sixth tier in the football pyramide.
The magazine comes with forty pages that are free of any advert, lest for the back page. Between the covers however football rules, though is interspersed with different topics such as food and video games. The latter are of course football video games.
In the editorial Darren Norton provides a short review of the season of the club and argues that the situation is not easy and has become a little bit more difficult as the club were relegated last season. The impact is visible in the finances and not least on the pitch. The situation on the playing field is underlined by an interview with the manager, Steve Housham. He provides a glimpse into the manager’s work at this level with a restricted budget. Most of the team left at the end of last season and new recruits came only late and more importantly, on a bargain. Housham however, does not hold it against the players as he is fully aware of the budget situation. He could not though avoid a swipe when he tells the magazine that players nowadays ‘get pampered too much’.
There is also a piece on Faustino Asprilla to be found where the author revels in memories of the Colombian enlightening Newcastle United supporters and maybe the rest of England, as well. The author argues that it was the strength of Manchester United and in particular of a certain Eric Cantona and Peter Schmeichel that gave the Red Devils the league title in 1996 and not Newcastle United where Asprilla played at the time. The short period of his presence up north is summed up best by this statement:
In just shy of two years he’d gone from being adored to ignored. It was time to go.
Conceding 32 goals in 13 matches indicates that there is an issue in defence but Nick Quantrill argues that the back four cannot be blamed alone for such a performance. He reminds us that football is a team sport where the common effort is the crucial point. Quantrill concludes that the whole of the team has to do better. We learn further that drinking and phoning your wife is a mindless thing to do, particularly if the wife is a teacher. This is what happened to John College who travelled all the way down to Woking and attended an FA Vase match between Walton and Hersham and Glebe FC.
A wonderful piece is contributed by Tim Baldwin who recalls going to hospital after injuring himself playing Subbuteo. John Uttley recalls his experiences of playing ‘walking football’. It is a weekly attempt to re-live their youth but the Cruyff turns look more like a juggernaut than a turn. What is more important is that besides playing is the social aspect of being among friends which highlights one of the many qualities associated with football but often overlooked in the business side of the game.
Football and Beer are as inseparable as Siamese Twins. Andrew Hewitt introduces local beers which underlines his mantra: local club – local beer. What’s more the names of the brews are sensational: Brass Castle Hoptical Illusion Pale Ale or Great Newsome Sleck Dust. The return of the local breweries is certainly a welcome effect of the craft beer movement in recent years. The bottom line of his is ‘drink to forget’ as the team does not perform overwhelmingly so far this season. But instead of indulging in Carling or Stella, Hewitt proves he likes to get drunk on the local brew. And who would blame him?
Another great piece is looking at how different (and difficult) it was as a football fan to go to away games in the 1970s. Mike Dixon is one of Ferriby’s longest serving fans and in this interview he reflects upon his experiences. Among the players he has seen is Dean Windass, possibly North Ferriby’s biggest contribution to English football. He went on to play for Hull City, of course and the club profited from him being sold on to Aberdeen. The money went into building a new stand.
In most cases local amateur football goes without international recognition. Not so North Ferriby United. A group of Dutch football supporters made their way to the ground on Non-League Day 2017 when none other than FC United of Manchester came to North Ferriby. There were 35 of them which almost made up 10% of the total crowd. Their photos can be seen at peenvogel.nl.
By picking these examples from the forty pages, The View from the Allotment End demonstrates that producing a football fanzine at this level provides stories that are gripping and informative. They tell us that football, regardless of the level it is played at is important and should be treasured as one of the main cultural goods that we possess and therefore must be protected and supported.