Halb Vier: Interview ⋆ An Old International

Halb Vier: Interview

Below you’ll find a brief Q&A section with the editor of Halb Vier, an English language magazine focusing on German football,

‘be it the the stadiums, the fans, the beer or the even the action on the pitch’

Feargal, editor of Halb Vier

The interview was conducted by email.

1.What was the moment you have decided to publish a football magazine?
In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of printed football journals/magazines in the UK. As other genres of journalism seem to be moving from print to digital (ie: music writing) football bucked the trend. I found myself reading quality football writing in magazines such as These Football Times, Nutmeg and The Blizzard. The cycling magazine, Rouleur, was also a source of inspiration. I am not saying Halb Vier measures up to any of these magazines in terms of quality/content/design but these were the inspiration. I was also involved in a League of Ireland fanzine many years ago that only lasted 3-4 issues so I was determined that Halb Vier would at least last longer!

2. Why German football?
I always had an interest in German football having been to my first Bundesliga games back in 1985. German football gets little coverage in the UK and only then it’s largely restricted to Bayern Munich/Borussia Dortmund and whatever German opposition there may be for an English team in Europe. A large number of people travel over to watch football in Germany on a weekly basis (or at least they did pre-Covid) so I always thought there would be some interest in a printed magazine on the subject. What I wasn’t aware of at the time was that there is interest outside the UK (particularly in Norway and surprisingly Germany) for a magazine on German football in English.

3. What attracts you to German football?
I am a massive Everton fan and go to all the home games and a significant portion of the away matches. As enjoyable as the match day experience, it’s very sanitised. A lot of the grounds look the same, match times are set with little regard for spectators, all seater stadiums impact upon the atmosphere and it’s nigh on impossible financially to bring your family to the games, that’s if you can get a ticket. I’m not saying German football has all the answers, however tickets are easier to acquire and in most instances are cheaper. It’s still possible to get standing tickets at most grounds and the fact that you can drink alcohol while watching the game makes the experience more enjoyable. There are problems with German football but they haven’t yet reached the crisis level of English football.

4. Are you aware that the title “Halb Vier“ evokes memories of the past when matches kicked off at 3:30pm on a Saturday afternoon and by 5:15 all results would be in? Are you consciously feeding some nostalgia here or was it just the slogan that applied to you?
No it was a conscious decision on our part. So much has changed in football in the past 25 years and German football fans have rallied against a lot of these changes particularly the way match times are often chosen without regard for the fans, particularly away supporters. This was a statement on our part to show that the fanzine was more about the culture and tradition of football as it once was. It was only after the first issue was published that I became aware that Arminia’s Bielefeld match day programme shared the same name!

5. How often is Halb Vier published a year?
The 4th issue of Halb Vier was published 3 weeks ago, Issue 1 came out in March 2020 so that’s four issues in the first year. Ideally from here on in we would like to publish 4 times a year (March, June, September and December). The first issue was 56 pages and the most recent issue comes out at 82 pages which is probably the maximum content for the next few issues.Covid has restricted trips to Germany and the amount of content, particularly photos, which I would like to include a lot more of. Hopefully travel restrictions will ease sometime in 2021.

The magazine comes in the handy A5-Format and fits into almost every bag. It is available from their shop. Issue four concludes the first year of the magazine and subscriptions for issues five to seven are possible. You can find them on twitter and a follow is highly recommended!

The magazine has been reviewed and you can read the review here.

Good writing does not come by chance, so consider this:

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