Jane Stuart – Writer

Writer on beer, football culture and Blackpool FC.

Football Magazine Review #2: View

This week I have been reading View, a football magazine that had been recommended to me by the brilliant blogger Mitch Cook’s Left Foot. I wasn’t sure what to expect, although was aware there was a pie review in there, so I was looking forward to getting stuck in!

My first impressions on receiving the magazine were of slight confusion, caused by the subheading: Football /// Culture /// Music. Was this a football magazine? Or some sort of hybrid? There was no cover photo to provide a clue. I turned to the back cover.

No clues forthcoming – but what a lovely touch, offering thanks at the end. I opened the magazine with a positive mindset.

A cursory flick through the pages revealed a handful of adverts – but not too many as to detract from the content. There was a good balance of text and images throughout the magazine, which was in full colour in A5 size. As with Escapismo, the presentation of this bound little book gave it a professional feel and meant it would be more likely to remain on my bookshelf than be consigned to the recycling after reading.

I searched in vain for an editorial, which might help explain what this magazine was all about…but there wasn’t one. Well, there’s only one thing for it…get stuck in and get reading!

I remained unsettled for a little while – especially when I realised there weren’t any page numbers in the magazine, something I discovered when I went to reference something in my notes. I flicked back to the contents. Nope – no page numbers listed there either, just a list of articles. Also, the titles of the articles were not at the top of each page, but vertical in the left hand margin.

But when I got to reading the articles I began wondering: was all of this deliberate? Was this a magazine that INTENDS to unsettle the reader?

This is definitely not your average football magazine. It’s alternative. It’s intellectual. It’s challenging. It’s genre-busting. It is evocative. It is provocative. It’s hipster. And I like it a lot.

The content in View blew me away. These were my kind of people. Reading one of the articles (the pie one, obvs), I found myself thinking: ‘Yeah, I’d like to go for a pint with this guy.’ There was an interview with a non-league footballer. There are some angry articles but in the main it is thought-provoking. It is a thinking (wo)man’s football magazine. It made me realise things about myself that I didn’t even know. This was me during lockdown:

I had a lot of spare capacity in my head now I had no reason to think about football… It was quite a sobering experience, realising just how much time I usually spent thinking, imagining, planning, fantasising, attending, and writing about football.

Racist Friends by Ian Cusack, View, Issue 3

(Look, I can do in-text citations, but I have no page numbers to include in them grr…)

The team of writers is strong and impressive. Each article has a different author – and all are equally strong. Kudos to editor Darren Norton for bringing together such a strong team.

Television became the noose that hoisted the game up for us all to see, only for us all to ultimately have to watch it die, jiggling, jolting and eventually soiling itself live on Sky Sports.

Sweet F.A. by Jamie Osbourne, View, Issue 3

The article I liked best was about four Austria Vienna players and the effect the war had on their respective fortunes. The article grabs you in the opening paragraph:

By the end of that decade two of those men would be dead, one under mysterious circumstances that still provokes discussions to this day, and the other two? One would have to flee the newly arrived forces of Nazi Germany and escape the country with his Jewish wife, partly as a result of the actions of the man standing next to him; a committed fascist who helped overthrow the management of Austria Vienna.

Wonder, Death & Rebirth by Gerard Farrell, View, Issue 3

Diving straight into this magazine at Issue 3, I am not sure whether such historical pieces are a regular feature, but I would very much like them to be. This was such an interesting football story that I never even knew I wanted to know. There must be so many interesting football stories from the war era. I love war films and museums, so why not football stories from that time?

There are also some great images in View, one of my favourites being this photograph from the 1938 World Cup, which accompanied the above article.

The pie article was great and I now know what a bridie is! This article also helped me understand why food and beer are such an important part of my matchday experience.

…we must take our pleasure where we can find it and often the simple things are the best.

Cakes, Pies And Sausage Rolls by Peter Fleming, View, Issue 3

View is certainly not afraid to pull punches, tackling racism and the state of football in general.

So how did English football get it so wrong? So we all have to sit quietly on our hands, crammed onto a birdshit stained, crap plastic seat on a Monday night, eating a limp microwaved burger, paying dearly for the privilege of stepping through the turnstile, while some chinless pricks line their own pockets?

Germany. Football’s Utopia by Kevin Ross, View, Issue 3

There is some slagging of fan TV channels, which irked me slightly, as a YouTuber myself these days, but it’s an opinion!

In short, this is a football magazine, with the odd music/arty bit thrown in, but always linked back to football. I wasn’t overly taken with the non-football content but, that said, I did enjoy meeting Roy, the storyteller, and reading his story. Perhaps I need to open my mind a little more in terms of accepting the content for what it is and not wanting it to squeeze it into a genre.

View is a magazine to be proud of – and definitely one to keep an eye on. You can follow them on Twitter here. Subscriptions sadly aren’t available yet (I’ll be signing up as soon as I can) but make sure you look out for Issue 4 in early 2021.

NEXT UP: Pirates, Punks & Politics by Nick Davidson

Please do keep your football book/magazine recommendations coming! Also, if you’ve written a book (or edit a magazine) you would like me to review, please do get in touch.

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