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Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
I'm a director of Maidenhead United Football Club. For ten seasons one of my roles at the club was to produce the match programme. The aim of this blog was to write football related articles for publication in the match programme. In particular I like to write about the representation of football in popular culture, specifically music, film/TV and literature. I also write about matches I attend which generally feature Maidenhead United.

Sunday, 7 September 2008


The summer of 2008 marked the passing of Shoot! Magazine, a title that was a weekly must buy for the pocket money of any football obsessed youth of the 1970s.
This was an ironic end as when it first appeared on the newsstands in 1969 it as the fresh faced rival to Goal, the weekly project of the long established Charles Buchan Football Monthly. By the late 70s, Goal had disappeared and Shoot! stood alone in the marketplace.
It was at this time that I started to get the magazine and it was a vital passport to the world of soccer at a time when you were lucky to see the highlights of more than four games at the weekend, and newspapers were printed in black and white.
Colour was Shoot's big advantage, whether in the form of the standard pen picture pose or in the action picture. The photography stands up to this day as you will doubtless agree if you dig out your old Christmas annuals from the attic.
The journalism on the other hand was strictly from the typewriter of Colin Cliché, with players always sick as a parrot or over the moon. This was most apparent in the ghosted exclusive columns of the stars of the day such as Kevin Keegan and Bryan Robson.
However that is a minor gripe as there were plenty of features to entertain, inform and educate the young fan, with the "You are the ref!" cartoon quiz of Paul Trevillion being the best example.
Each issue contained a couple of team pictures, and with players less mobile then, over a season you could build up your own library of mug shots for the entire football league. That was really the limit to the scope of the magazine, apart of course from coverage of the international fortunes of the home nations, and the odd feature from Scotland.
"Focus On" provided a weekly window into the mind of a top player with a comprehensive series of questions. Notts County player David McVay stereotyped the responses as "Steak Diana Ross" in the title of his 70s diaries but this at least provided players with scope for humour. For example: "Most Difficult Opponent" would often be "The Missus" whilst "Who would you most like to meet" might be "the person who dented my car". Still from memory there were an awful lot of players eating pizza and listening to George Benson in 1979!
One other essential feature for the statto that lurks in all of us was the Line Ups/Results pages which provided comprehensive details for the professional game in Britain. Looking back now with everything you need at a click of a mouse it is hard to remember how difficult it was to find this information outside of the Rothmans' Annual.
It was this feature though that proved to be Shoot's weak spot, as regular print strikes meant it was often several weeks out of date. When Match came along in 1980 with stats only a week behind, Shoot suddenly found itself playing catch up. At least it still had the league ladders to win your custom at the start of each season!
Throughout the 1980s competition slowly grew with more grown up publications such as 90 minutes and Four-Four-Two appearing, not to mention the fanzines, a phenomenon which Shoot responded to by including a tongue in cheek feature "Ray of the Rangers". It was ironic then that the magazine merged with Roy of The Rovers in the mid 90s, but even a change to a monthly issue could not stem the slide in circulation which ultimately led to its demise in the summer with sales at 33,000 well down for its 250,000 70s heyday.

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