Recent Reads #3 & 4 – The Green Soccer Journal & The ‘End’ Book

Despite being actually busy for a change in the last few weeks I’ve managed to find a bit of time to pick up, sit down and read through a few recent “zine” and book pickups so without further ado…

RR#3 – The Green Soccer Journal – Issue 3

I was first introduced to The Green Soccer Journal last year after they released Issue One. After skimming through a friends copy of the first issue I instantly took a liking to the magazine, unfortunately by the time I discovered it the first issue was long sold out so I knew I could not miss out on issue Two and I was glad I managed to grab it. For those who have never read TGSJ it is accurately described as a “Independent style journal, exploring the world of football.” Released quaterly, it is a brilliantly put together and well presented magazine blending the world of men’s fashion, mainly that seen worn by the average fashion conscious “chap on the terrace”, combined with fantastically clever and very articulate articles about the world of football. It covers everything from interviews with ex/current professionals of the game, supporters groups, professional pundits and even grass routes football.

One thing that makes the magazine just a tad bit extra special is that there is a particular running theme throughout each issue of the magazine. For example, in issue 2, despite the interview with Sky Sports, rather “tasty”, pundit Hayley McQueen, a superbly written “tug on heartstrings” article about Ronaldo (the Brazilian one) and an article on Bosnian “Ultras” the general running theme of the issue was that of French football covering interviews with the likes of Patrick Viera, a look at France’s new away strip and around French Football Federations Clairfontaine training facilities.

Issue Three was released recently and the theme for the newest issue is one that plays close to my heart, The Goalkeepers Issue. As a former goalkeeper myself I’ve always related to the poor sod that has to stand between the sticks for 90 minutes in the freezing cold weather and having to pick the ball out the net on a bad day (or that just might have been me). Needless to say it didn’t let me down. Several brilliant interviews with Everton’s first choice American keeper Tim Howard, American Samoa international keeper Nicky Salapu (aka the man who has conceded more goals in one professional game, 31 vs Australia, than any other), former Arsenal legend and Tv pundit Bob Wilson OBE, Italian goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon, as well as a photo set recreating some of the greatest saves in Premier League history using solely the goalkeeper kit used on the day, to mention just a few. However, this issue was a little bit, how do I put it? X-rated? Yeh that would probably be the best way to put it. I was kind of taken back upon reading an article about former NY Cosmos keeper Shep Messing. A goalkeeper more famous for his partying life style and his once pornographic exploits in a woman’s erotic magazine in 1974 than his goalkeeping talents. Needless to say the pictures featured in said magazine, well they also feature in this. So as you can imagine I was kind of taken back sat in the pub reading this only to stumble across pictures of Shep’s bits and bobs just freely dangling out, however all was forgiven when a superb photoset featuring a female streaker graced the centrefold pages, kind of in the same fashion of a retro issue of Playboy.

So another fully enjoyable read from the lads at TGSJ, one that I would definitely reccomend. I know locally it can be picked up in Weavers Door in Liverpool but for those of you not local it can still be picked up from their website HERE. It may not be the cheapest of magazines (£8) however, at least in my eyes, it’s money well spent for a brilliant magazine. You can also follow the magazine via the usual medium of TWITTER

RR#4 – The End Book

I feel daft that I’m only just getting round to doing a write up on this. The truth is I only managed to get hold of a copy last week, I was hoping to pick this up back at Christmas just gone but as that was to no avail I’m just getting round to it now and my word it has been worth the wait. I don’t think I really need to discuss the in’s and out’s (no pun intended) of The End to anyone, as most people who are reading this are fully aware of how important it’s precense was in Liverpool during the 80’s. Personally, I only became aware of the world of The End about 3 years ago as, and I’ll be honest here, I wasn’t around to experience it at it’s peak and it’s been one of Liverpool’s best kept secrets for a while. I was only exposed to it via a kind chap who I used to speak to on a forum a few years back. At the time I was trying to get my hand on some old back copies of the Everton fanzine “When Skies are Grey” when the chap in question kindly scanned a few old copies of the Everton zine along with a few original copies of The End and sent them through to me via PDF format, instantly I was hooked and started researching.

Over the last few years there has been talk of the legendary Scouse mag making a return or the possibility of a repress of the old copies, however it was only last year that, finally, the lads behind the mag along with the folks over at Sabotage Times finally got together and made the talk a reality via this very smart, well presented book that contains all 20 issues of the brilliant mag that made it’s way around the terraces of most of the 80’s football grounds. The book certainly does not disappoint whatsoever, chocked full of Scouse humour, articles on the love of beer, trabs, music and football (the very stuff of life itself), the famous In’s & Out’s lists, humorous poetry and letters from some of the countries less savoury football supporters, interviews with some celeb types of the time like Billy Bragg, Alan Bleasdale, Billy Butler and the late John Peel as well countless cartoons depicting the Liverpool life under the gun of Thatcher and her gang of cronies.

It goes without saying that the brainchild of Peter Hooton (who went on to sing in Liverpool band The Farm), Phil Jones and Mick Potter (as well as the countless lads that contributed) is something of legend in the city of Liverpool. A magazine aimed originally for selling to the average young “scally” on the terraces of Goodison and Anfield, it went onto create a storm throughout the rest of the terraces in England and helped set a trend for hundreds of “zines” that spawned from the ashes of it, so much so that even now a lot of newer zines have certainly been influenced by the once great The End.  It would be also fair to say that The End has become a piece of Liverpool history as last year several original copies were given to the newly opened Museum of Liverpool in the Pier Head and can be found in the football section next to other great pieces of Everton and Liverpool memorabilia.

Anyone trying to get hold of original copies of the mag will have a job doing so even if this gem does manage to make it onto Ebay you will find yourself paying an arm and a leg for it, so I would recommend saving yourself a few bob and getting the book for a measly £20. However, I must say that if you are planning to grab a copy get it done soon, as when I went to pick it up in Waterstones in Liverpool last week there were very few copies left. As far as I’m aware, and I may be wrong here, the two Waterstones in Liverpool are the only place to get hold of it in a shop, however there may still be copies left on Sabotage Times website, so go and have a look and grab it now, ya mingebag.

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