As another season finishes, and finished with an Everton win, I’ve been looking back at what made this season special, because even in the worst seasons there is always something good going on somewhere!
NSNO has now been running for twelve seasons watching and reporting on Everton, but my own personal highlight was publishing our first fanzine.
Back in July I was preparing to get married, and as those who have been a groom will understand, I had plenty of time on my hands. So I set about putting a long-time ambition into reality.
I’d always enjoyed reading the various fanzines that have surrounded Goodison Park on a matchday, and when I first started NSNO I saw it as a bit like an online version of a fanzine. But deep down, I wanted to create a paper version too.
Up until last year, though, there were a number of fanzines still available that were long-established and doing a great job, so it was put to the back of my mind. But then in July, the idea of giving a fanzine away came back into my head and, with the help of a Crowdfunding drive, NSNO was finally able to make it onto paper.
After a few chats with the other lads who run the site, we decided to publish our first issue for the Chelsea game back in September. Now, Jose Mourinho was still trying to buy John Stones at this point, but we had been told that the club had no intentions of selling him, so, with the transfer window still open, we went to press with our front page – a picture of Stones with the terrace-chant of “Money Can’t Buy You Stones” as the headline. It could have backfired quite spectacularly, and ended up with us having 10,000 copies of a fanzine whose cover was very badly wrong! But it didn’t.
We kept Stones, and our fledgling fanzine arrived in our hands. Well, it arrived at my house – all 10,000 copies – in the back of a Vauxhall Corsa which may or may not now need new suspension….
We’d interviewed Derek Mountfield, a hero of mine and now someone I can call a friend too, and had also pinned former Liverpool player Stephen Warnock down by his ears and made him answer some questions for “The Opposition View” – both interviews were top class.
So, we set about giving them out at Goodison Park. Four of us. We went through about 9,000 copies in less than 90 minutes.
I’d been nervous about how they would be received. Would we end up surfing into the ground on discarded copies that littered the streets? No chance!
The front page grabbed us headlines on worldwide TV coverage and in the national press – the Daily Mail captioned it as the matchday programme, which means they either think Everton are willing to rub Chelsea’s nose in it themselves, or that our print values are exceptional. Or that they just don’t pay attention.
Fans loved it, and we received pictures of young fans holding it up when Everton scored as well as tweets saying how much people liked it.
We’d done it. We’d made a fanzine. Holding a copy up to John Obi Mikel as he took his seat on the Chelsea team bus to go home after being drubbed by Everton earned me the scorn of some Chelsea fans – with Welsh accents oddly enough – but it was well worth it!
That first issue led on to two more, and endorsements from some pretty high places. Each issue has been available to read in the first team canteen at Finch Farm, and both Gerard Deulofeu and Romelu Lukaku have been interviewed in our pages, with Lukaku telling us he enjoyed being on the cover of the second issue!
Everything about our fanzine has made this season much more palatable for me personally, from writing it, putting together the excellent contributions from our other writers, handing it out to Evertonians (and a few opposition fans to wind them up!) and reading the feedback it gets.
We’ll be back next season with more free fanzines and more interviews with Everton players past and present. I hope you’re looking forward to it as much as I am.
I have to say a huge thank you to everyone who has read the fanzine, commented on it, written for it, provided graphics for us, and helped with the financial side of things, in particular Dr David France, Rent A Space, James Corbett, Paul Cronin, Dave from the Winslow, and all those who pledged to help get the first issue into print. Our Everton family.