The Mag(azine) 1988-2014
It is with great sadness that, almost a year to the day after first seeing my name in print, I [intlink id=”41477″ type=”post”]received the news this morning [/intlink]that ‘The Mag’ will cease to be circulating as a magazine from the next issue.
As mentioned by others, when ‘The Pink’ visited that collectors auction in the sky, the way football news is accessed by the masses these days makes it difficult for publications to stay afloat. Who needs a printed sheet of results at 5.00PM when it’s possible to access all scores live on mobile phones and a breakdown of all the stats mid-match in the bars?
To only think in terms of necessity, however, disregards the great pleasure you can get by picking up an old copy of your favourite magazine and flicking through it on the odd occasion you happen to have too much time on your hands.
Ever since my mid-teens, it was part of my routine to pick up a new Mag each issue before the match and read it cover to cover after getting home that evening. As I got older and moved out of the area, it became something I looked forward to receiving in the post as a reminder of what was happening in the north east in my absence. I vividly remember being miserable in an unhappy job as far away as Torquay, when the Mag arrived to put a huge grin on my face recounting the wild scenes of celebration as we came from behind to destroy the Mackems 4-1 on their own turf.
Over the last year, writing for The Mag has given me some opportunities I wouldn’t have ever thought possible, my article on the disabled facilities at St James’ Park led to me being invited up to Newcastle by the club for a personalised guided tour. My interview with Darren Peacock was also an amazing experience, sitting in a Lancaster café chatting away about the entertainers era. He autographed my first ever published article (Morecambe match report) and it has pride of place framed in my flat.
As an independent voice, The Mag (along with nufc.com and true faith) provides a hugely important service. I’m pleased this will continue through the website, in these times of fan unrest it is important that we have an outlet to discuss our frustrations and make a few suggestions (even if any organised action may bring us no closer to our goal of changing the way our once great club is being run).
This season, I have tried to make a conscious decision to take a step back from living my life entirely through Newcastle United. I’ve still attended 10 matches (6 away) and watched us plenty of times on TV, so it could be argued this has not been so successful, but compare that to more than 20 Lancaster city matches and there’s a clear shift in how I’m starting to spend my weekends. Losing reading the Mag on match days will be considered another nail in the coffin of routine for some. Coupled with Mike Ashley ripping away almost every enjoyable aspect of supporting the club, perhaps it’s only a matter of time before more and more fans decide enough really is enough and begin to populate the grounds of lower league teams.
The Mag, over more than 25 years, really has become an institution in its own right. As much a part of being a Toon fan as a pre-match pint and black and white stripes. As we move into a more technologically advanced age, I’m confident it will continue to give every day the fans the chance to express their opinions. The way we are heading under Ashley, it may not be too long before our opinions are the only part of the club that hasn’t been mutilated, rebranded, packaged and sold back to us with a free sports direct mug!
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