What Is A Fanzine?

Should they be a glorified propaganda machine for the club or anti-establishment?

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Back in the day, a fanzine was something that poked fun at the players and owner of the football club. Today they are more like snuggle buddies.

What do you think of when you read the word ‘fanzine’ or the phrase ‘fan produced’?

I come from an era when things like Eagle Eye and When Saturday Comes were created to speak out for the ordinary fans and become a voicebox to critique the powers that be in a merciless way. They said what needed to be said and pulled no punches.They weren’t there to tell people how they should think or brainwash people into accepting the club’s view.

Back then we had mainstream TV programs like Spitting Image and satirical publications like Private Eye who’s purpose was to poke fun at the government and political rivals. They kept the people in positions of power, whatever their bias, on their toes and hold them to account.

It seems that today that some of the club’s main fanzines, blogs, YouTube channels and podcasts (media producers) have a different agenda. One that is more in line with the clubs hierarchy and in fact they are little more than an extension of the club’s media channels.

This could be for a number of reasons, some might be genuine but I think the reason is more basic than that. Money and access to the club.

Eagle Eye

To start with, let me say a few words about Eagle Eye. The fanzine was basically anti-establishment and was an answer to the way that the club was being run by the then chairman, Ron Noades.

It didn’t just take the piss out of Ron Noades, it took the piss out of the players too if and when they deserved it. It wasn’t pally with anyone inside the club, it didn’t depend on access to press conferences, players, interviews with the board or anything else to produce content for the fanzine. It said what the fans were thinking and didn’t wrap it up in cotton wool.

No, Eagle Eye was produced by fans, for the fans about the club we love. Ron Noades hated Eagle Eye! You can’t give a fanzine more of a compliment than that.

Thatcher and the Tories hated Spitting Image, Noades hated Eagle Eye. Why? Because both poked fun at the person at the top, asking questions, raising issues and galvanising a group of people into questioning the direction of the club/country. They held people to account, albeit in a humorous way.

I can remember being at a questions and answers session back in 1988 with Steve Coppell and Ron Noades in Crystals. Someone in the audience asked if either of them read Eagle Eye and what they thought of it. What followed was an angry tirade from Noades saying how it was detrimental to the confidence of some players that were singled out for criticism and who’d had the piss taken out of them.

That’s what you want from a fanzine, something that rattles the cage. After Noades had had his tirade someone stood up who worked on Eagle Eye and offered a counter-argument to what Noades had been saying but it fell on deaf ears.

Hidden Agenda

Every media channel or publication without fail has an editorial agenda, you just have to look for it.

The Daily Mail has a right-wing agenda, the Guardian has a liberal agenda and the Daily Mirror has a left-wing agenda. There is nothing wrong with having an editorial agenda as long as they are open and honest about it.

I don’t think publications and media outlets should call themselves a fanzine or whatever to portray an image that they don’t want to try and live up to. It’s like some of the current crop of comedians call themselves ‘alternative comedians’ when they are actually very mainstream by today’s standards. Do they really think they are alternative in the same way Ben Elton, Rik Myall, Alexi Sayle, Rowan Atkinson and the like were in 1982?

In my opinion, most of the popular fanzine or producers of media rely on the goodwill of the club to produce what they do. They get access to press conferences, interview players, interview Parish, etc. If they took the piss out of them, like Eagle Eye did in the day, they run the risk of losing that access.

How can that be called impartial? How can that be called a fan’s production? It is an extension of the club’s media arm if all they are doing is fellating them in order to produce a package. The fanzines are more like magazines because they try every so hard not to offend.

I am not saying they should be cruel but at the same time, they shouldn’t pull any punches. It’s a sad thing that today’s media are mainly left-wing snowflake libtards.

In all cases, the media producers rely on the goodwill of the club so their editorial agenda is to be soft on Parish and soft on the causes of Parish. They peddle the twaddle that we should be grateful to him because he saved the club, etc, etc. completely glossing over his part in our going into liquidation.

Again, I am not saying they should be cruel or nasty but they could be more honest and more direct in their criticism but then they run the risk of not being mates with him.

So What?

Should you give a fuck? No, not really. I don’t have a problem with any of the media producers that are around or what they do. There is a market for it and I actually like and agree with some of the people involved while respecting their opinions. That doesn’t mean I agree with them but that’s okay too because I come from a time where it was okay to disagree and say things that someone might not agree with.

I just don’t think some of the people involved with them should stop pretending to be guardians of Palace’s virtue by shovelling shit at fans for being critical of players or the hierarchy.

Everyone, without question, is entitled to their opinion. I don’t think that the players or hierarchy should be abused but they can be given fair criticism and have the piss taken out of them. I and nobody else should be told to be nice to a player because they might be hurt by my fair criticism and/or opinion.

Being on £100k a week makes them such fragile and precious creatures. Boo-fucking-hoo.

Do you think any of the media producers would get the same access to the club if they were more like The True Geordie or Arsenal Fan TV? Both of whom challenge the club they support and are quite brutal in their honesty, which accounts for their popularity!

Are We All The Same?

No, we’re not all the same. There are many impartial fans out there with blogs, podcasts and YouTube channels, including myself.

Speaking only for myself, I pay for everything out of my own pocket. I don’t run ads (that I am aware of) and I would never want my integrity questioned. I give honest criticism of players where it’s due and expect them to earn redemption over time if they have played like crap over time.

I give praise where it is due and I like to think I am fair-minded. I gave praise to players I dislike when they have played well and criticised players I like when they’ve played like crap.

I have a distance from the club so maybe it is easier for me but I don’t think I am any different to the person that got to know players back in the day. The trouble is some of the media producers perhaps don’t have the balls write or say something negative about someone and then look them in the eye a few weeks later when they bump into them.

It seems that they are trying to be people’s mate, fanboys who are living their wet dreams by meeting players and people at the top.

That’s fine, just stop talking down to long-time fans like they have no right to an opinion just because it is different to your and doesn’t conform to your snowflake agenda.

If I think a player has played like shit for weeks don’t tell me not to say so because his confidence might be knocked. Yeah, a player really gives a shit about what people like me write and say.

Maybe you should think about who your audience actually is?

Merry Christmas!

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