Saturday, April 14, 2012


Remember when you bought magazines, fanzines and matchday programmes? Catching up on your club itself, or just the beautiful game in general, these were sacred pages full of the latest news and gossip. It was, at the time of going to press, up to date and correct.

You can of course, in this modern age read any amount of football related articles, both well written and factual, to complete nonsense online. We don't even need to sit at a computer any more. I could, if I chose, read a match report at five o'clock on a Saturday on my phone in the little boys room. I'd worry too much about dropping the thing down the pan to actually do it, but it is still an option open to us. Heck, a small handful of people even actually read these blog posts minutes after I've finished typing them.

There's no doubt it's great to glance at a website whilst walking around a supermarket (momentarily transporting you from the hell of the weekly food shop) to catch up on the latest scores, and there's no need anymore to struggle to hear a transistor radio on the terraces so you can start a Chinese whisper informing of your rivals current predicament.
I couldn't imagine however not having something to flick through at all though. I still buy a programme at a game, (I've boxes of them, all long since forgotten but readily available for reference if needed) and read it on the train home, beer goggles permitting of course!

There are very few feelings to match the postman dropping the latest issue of Backpass magazine through my letterbox. The newsagent shelves still have a selection of magazines to cater for the football fan, but other than When Saturday Comes, they struggle to muster up much excitement. An interview with the latest foreign superstar discussing the hamper contents of his latest Fortnum & Mason home delivery really isn't for me. I want to read about working class hero's, the local full back who missed the number 54 bus (due to next doors dog running off with his trousers or something) and arrived at the ground five minutes before kick off. Real stories for real supporters.

Backpass is full of this. Covering the 60's, 70's and 80's, this is a treasure chest of articles on players and clubs we both remember fondly and others who are now just distant memories. An example in the latest edition is Coventry City's Peter Bodak, there is even a picture of his Panini Football 82 sticker!
I didn't just assume he resided in the 'where are they now file', I'd forgotten the name and the face. Until, that is, Backpass brought him back to the forefront of my mind.

The magazine does stick to a formula, and it works. A past season is under the microscope in 'season in focus'. Here we see final tables and every fact you need to become a pub quiz legend if the category is 1967-68 or whatever.

The very talented John Devlin of True Colours has a two page spread displaying some fine artwork on a half dozen famous kits of the side in question. More of John's work at a later date though.......

There are book reviews, old team line up photos, even archives of that old mainstay of football journalism, The Football League Review.

It's full of well worded articles all enhanced by well researched photographs, images I'd never imagine were even still in existence. Where else would you find Super Mac, David McVay, and Ian Atkins work together as an ex-pro panel?
An obituary column at the back reminds us all how we're getting older. At least one per edition is a name i know, but it's wonderful to read that even lesser known footballers are considered worthy of gracing these pages. Every footballer wrote their own piece of history at the end of the day, all as important as each other.

My first Backpass magazine was the Spring 2009 edition. A large picture of the enigmatic Frank Worthington graced the cover, this alone was enough to entice me. Frank is up there with George Best and Robin Friday for seventies terrace hero's, let alone ladies men. I bought it in WH Smiths to take on honeymoon as a little pool side reading. I got through it in two days, much to the disgust of my wife of five days, and haven't missed one since.
It's tough to find on the shelves so I've subscribed and get it sent direct. It arrives in a plain brown envelope, just to protect my years from those at the sorting office I'm guessing.

If, like me, you are of a certain age and think footballers should be allowed to continue playing even when they have mud, or heaven forbid, blood on their shirts, then you really need to buy yourself a copy of the retro football magazine. You'll be hooked.


  1. You've reminded me I must get the subscription sorted for this. Football is such a far superior product these days, but in some ways its just too, er... perfect. Players back then just seemed as if they could be like you and me, yet I cannot see any of Messi, Gerrard or even Jason Roberts, in me.

  2. It'll be money well spent Pete, guarenteed!

    The closest resemblence to myself on the football pitch over the past fifteen years is probably Ali Dia!