The market for football magazines of all sorts is huge with new titles emerging regularly, promising the best writing we’ve never heard of paired with some stunning layout and imagery. Halb Vier isn’t that new, issue four is being discussed here but it is the focus on Germany that offers a difference.
If there is something negative to say it is the lack of an editorial of this magazine. An editorial serves as an introduction for the reader to the magazine’s content and is also a product of the time of the making of the magazine – a child of its time so to say. Another point may be that almost all publications on German football have to include something about the East, something about Berlin and St. Pauli. In total there are twenty different articles filling eighty pages.
Thankfully, the contributors look at German football from many different angles and present some very interesting stories. The pros thus far outweigh the negatives! The content is well written – the basic ingredient – and well presented, too. The topics are wide ranging and fascinating. There is a story from Michael Wagg who falls in love with the town of Neustrelitz – or the history of both Essen clubs: Schwarz-Weiss and Rot-Weiss, respectively. The former have won the DFB Cup in 1959 while the latter were the first representatives of the Bundesliga in the newly established European Champion Clubs’ Cup, or the European Cup or Champions League in today’s parlance. While SW Essen have never managed to play in the Bundesliga but came close a few times, RW Essen have done so between 1966 and 1977.
The origins of soccer are highlighted by Chris Lee, also editor of Outside Write while Chris Law looks at USI Lupo Martini Wolfsburg, a club established by Italian migrants. They are not the only one but clubs like this will increasingly shape German football in years to come. The most prominent today are Türkgücü München, currently playing in the third division.
Football is nothing without fans, Jock Stein once said. During the corona pandemic this is even more obvious than most of us could imagine. One critical voice, that of the ultras, have often warned against an uber commercialisation and estrangement of football from its fan base. Thus Connor Parry asks whether the German ultras, which he admires for their bloody mindedness, will still be around in a few years’ time.
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!
If you want to know about the motivation behind the magazine, please read the interview with the editor of the magazine, Feargal, here.
NB: I have bought the copy from the magazine’s website.
Good writing does not come by chance.