Happy Birthday to us as The Mag turns 30 today – Thirty years of hurt and counting
It is exactly 30 years ago to the day, on Saturday 3 September 1988 the very first issue of The Mag went on sale to Newcastle fans.
Three relegations and a third style of ownership later, three decades of covering Newcastle United and all the madness that goes with it.
That very first issue of the paper magazine had a photo of Paul Gascoigne on the front and the caption ‘Laughing All The Way To The Bank’!
However, the inspiration for that cover and indeed the whole introduction of The Mag, was aimed at the owners of Newcastle United.
Gazza had just been sold, the final one of three local world class talents sold on due to a total lack of ambition, Chris Waddle and Peter Beardsley having already departed in previous seasons.
Not that Paul Gascoigne (or indeed Beardsley and especially Waddle) totally escaped the anger of the Newcastle supporters for leaving…but fans knew where the real problem was.
That (1988/89) season had started with a 4-0 hammering at Everton, conceding after only 30 seconds, which really set the tone for what lay ahead.
The first home match saw Tottenham the visitors, Paul Gascoigne making a very quick return and pelted with Mars Bars (ask your dad) when he took a corner. Chris Waddle also in this Spurs team.
Newcastle raced into a two goal lead, only for Tottenham to reply with two of their own, including one from Waddle.
A few hundred unsuspecting Newcastle fans had bought a copy of The Mag outside St James Park before kick-off, setting in motion three decades and counting of independent coverage by Newcastle fans of their team.
Difficult to imagine these days but back before September 1988, if you wanted to have your say, the options were the letters pages of the Sunday Sun and The Pink, that was it.
No internet, no Twitter, no websites, no blogs, no facebook and no football magazines produced by fans. A time when trolls were characters in children’s story books, not sad anonymous characters spreading malice online.
Altogether there were 26 years and 289 issues of The Mag, the final three years with a website running alongside it.
Moving with the times and the demands of people wanting immediacy, the decision was taken in 2014 to put all of our energies into the online presence of The Mag.
Now we are 30 years old since that very first paper issue went on sale and just as 1988/89 saw the club facing crisis and what proved to be relegation under the disastrous McKeag and others’ administration, we now in 2018 see a club in crisis and facing the very real possibility of a third relegation under the even more disastrous Mike Ashley ownership.
I say ‘even more disastrous’ because Gordon McKeag and associates weren’t billionaires, probably not even millionaires, just local people lacking the money and expertise to fulfil the club’s potential.
There has never been more money flowing into St James Park than there is these days and yet we have a super rich owner who still insisted that a profit on transfers was made this summer, this at a time when clubs such as Fulham and Bournemouth are spending almost £30m on single players.
Just like back in 1988, The Mag can’t cure the problems at Newcastle United but hopefully we can still be doing our bit to try and push things in the right direction.
One thing that hasn’t changed is that despite the very different format, all Newcastle fans are given the platform to have their say and write articles (see below), no matter whether we agree with what anybody has to say or not.
Obviously the more observant amongst you will have spotted that this has been 30 years without a trophy, difficult now to look back and think that in 1988 it had ‘only’ been 19 years since the Fairs Cup win and indeed ‘only’ 33 years since the third of three FA Cup wins in five seasons.
Thanks to everybody who has contributed to this journey and of course every single person who bought a copy of The Mag, or who visits the website in this paper-free era.
Onwards and upwards, or at least we hope so with Newcastle United…
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]