This summer, I took the decision to start a new Everton fanzine: The Black Watch.

In 2012, long-running Everton fanzine Speke from the Harbour printed its final issue. A year later, the first and original Everton fanzine When Skies Are Grey produced its last regular issue in print and reverted to a digital-only model (though it still does the occasional issue in print). Around the same time, George Orr’s historical publication Blue Blood also closed its doors, leaving the efforts of the good people at NSNO – who distribute a fanzine at a few home games a season – as the only fan-led printed publication in circulation on matchdays. Some might think this shift from print to digital is inevitable, but the demise of the printed fanzine at Everton is at odds with developments elsewhere. Longstanding mags are still running at clubs like Man Utd and Newcastle, while supporters of clubs ranging from Leeds to Motherwell, and Stoke to North Ferriby, have established thriving printed fanzines in recent years.

This is part of the inspiration behind The Black Watch. Quite simply, I miss having something physical to read on a matchday. Five years ago, I would have bought WSAG on a matchday, flicked through it while waiting for my mate in the pub, read a bit more at half-time, and finished the rest off to liven up my commute to and from work. In addition, the likes of WSAG and SFTH have played an important role in chronicling the history of our club. Printed fanzines, as with websites such as ToffeeWeb, offer the chance for fans to put forward their views, reflect on developments at the club, and to write about what its like to support Everton. Now, more than ever, this is important, as our club embarks on a period of rapid change.

After a summer of planning and writing, the fanzine has gone on sale. It’s not been an easy task. While commissioning and producing articles was easy enough, a front cover had to be produced, a reasonably-priced printing company identified, paper quality to be selected, and thought given to promotion and distribution. The good man behind the @EFCKitDesigns account kindly produced our front cover free of charge. The design, a take on one of the earliest Everton kits (and the inspiration behind the fanzine’s name), has been well received. After weeks of grappling with formatting issues and page designs, the mag was sent to the printers in mid-August and pre-orders began online.

The initial response was excellent, largely thanks to the support of various Everton Twitter accounts. However, printing was not without its issues, and problems on the supply-side meant that the fanzine was delayed by nearly two weeks.

Luckily, this hasn’t affected most of the content. The first issue includes a still-relevant review of the summer, including all the bizarre transfer rumours and ticketing chaos that enveloped the club. There’s stuff on Rooney, a historically-inspired piece on our first game at Bramley-Moore (should it happen!), a travel report from watching us in Tanzania in pre-season, and an article about the good and the bad of watching MLS in New York.

Issue 2 is already well underway and aims to be released in October. There is an open invitation for people to contribute to the fanzine: we would love to hear from people who want to write articles (long or short, serious or not, contemporary or historical), people who have artistic/design talent, and people who can illustrate, who can help us make the fanzine look even better. If you’d like to get involved, contact theblackwatchfanzine@gmail.com.

Issue 1 is available to buy online, and you can follow the fanzine on Twitter for regular updates.


Reader Comments (12)

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Michael Williams
1 Posted 07/09/2017 at 07:27:57
Tom I think it a great idea and I will link for you on www.westcountryblues.org.uk when I next update that on Sunday
Martin Nicholls
2 Posted 07/09/2017 at 08:11:50
Where is the printed version on sale?
Oliver Molloy
3 Posted 07/09/2017 at 08:36:34
"The Black Watch" ,
Isn't that a regiment in Scotland ?
Steve Ferns
4 Posted 07/09/2017 at 08:48:27
It's a nickname for an early incarnation of the blues, from a time before we'd ever played in blue . and if you know your history!

The problem with fanzines is that they are immediately out of date. They are usually once a fortnight. ToffeeWeb is bang up to the second and fans can constantly add articles and comments and take the discussion anywhere they want. So, fanzines are a thing of the past for me, as much as I loved reading WSAG as a kid.

Alan McGuffog
5 Posted 07/09/2017 at 09:14:31
Tom, five years or so ago I would buy WSAG in order to have something to read during the first half. And the second.
Oliver Molloy
6 Posted 07/09/2017 at 09:53:29
Steve.

Thanks for history update. I'm so glad they got rid of the nickname – awful in my opinion!

Mike Galley
7 Posted 07/09/2017 at 10:00:20
Am I the only Blue who bought WSAG so I had something to read whilst the game was on???

On a serious note, I've received my copy of the new magazine and am looking forward to reading it. Best of luck Tom, for the future with this fanzine. Hopefully, it'll succeed in replacing previous printed mags.

Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer a hard copy of reading material as opposed to any digital alternative, so again, best of luck.

David Ellis
8 Posted 07/09/2017 at 10:10:51
I think the printed form of fanzine has a role. It's possible to be a bit more considered. And you can read it in the bath. And keep it and show your kids later in life (and give future historians something to find - all of ToffeeWeb will be lost to history I hope – surely destroy any future I would otherwise have in public life) .

I have ordered a copy of Black Watch – but you don't deliver overseas! Please sort that out.

Tom Moore
9 Posted 07/09/2017 at 11:30:33
Mike (#1) - many thanks, much appreciated. I think we may have met in the fanzine in Split through Dave R from Plymouth - glad you made it home safely!

Martin (#2) - the mag is now on sale online here: http://theblackwatchfanzine.bigcartel.com. I will also be selling it on Goodison Road somewhere near the Church on Saturday (but probably only until around 2pm). All fanzines are posted immediately and by first class delivery. If anyone orders it today then it will be posted this afternoon and hopefully arrive tomorrow or Saturday morning.

Steve (#5) - I take your point about the potential for them to date quickly. I must admit we have learnt a lesson with the first issue, as while most of the articles won't date, 1-2 focused on things such as Rooney's return and one of the early Europa qualifiers, and an unforeseen printing delay means that they may seem slightly out of date. But, generally speaking, the fanzine aims to be a bit more considered and not so much focused on immediate reaction to matches and transfers. And, as David Ellis says, I think fanzines can act as a historical resource. I personally love reading some of the old WSAG stuff from the early 90s, that captures in print fans feelings and what was happening at the club at that time.

Mike (#7) and David (#8) - thanks to you both for purchasing the mag. It's really appreciated and I hope you enjoy it. David, we do deliver overseas and have shipped a few to the US already. We just haven't added all the countries to the shipping options yet. Email me on theblackwatchfanzine@gmail.com if there's a country you'd like adding to the shipping options and I will sort it immediately.

Martin Nicholls
10 Posted 08/09/2017 at 07:49:21
Tom (#9) – thanks for the sales info and good luck with the mag.
Bill Watson
11 Posted 08/09/2017 at 22:00:36
I believe the Black Watch knickname came about because, as the St Domingo/Everton club became more successful, the club attracted players from other clubs.
To solve the problem of players wearing different kits the simply dyed them all black...with a red, diagonal, sash!
Good luck with the mag!
Bill Watson
12 Posted 08/09/2017 at 22:00:36
I believe the Black Watch knickname came about because, as the St Domingo/Everton club became more successful, the club attracted players from other clubs.
To solve the problem of players wearing different kits the simply dyed them all black...with a red, diagonal, sash!
Good luck with the mag!

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