BY MARK GODFREY – EDITOR
Dave Marples, book reviewer and contributor to The Football Pink. has teamed up with a few select Nottingham Forest supporting writers to produce another new quarterly fanzine to the seemingly growing band of new print publications now on offer.
Bandy and Shinty – the name is inspired by Forest’s original status as a club playing those two obscure games – is already going great guns in its first issue, selling out its initial print run and forcing the lads to call the printers for more.
Taking further inspiration from The Blizzard’s ethos and production values, Bandy and Shinty is a well-produced and put together piece of work; and that’s without even opening the covers to read what’s inside.
Being the first edition, they have dedicated the articles on offer to ‘firsts’; from first Forest jersey they owned to the first Forest game they went to, spinning each story with just enough sentimentality but with the right amount of humour, sadness, charm and personality to make them engrossing reads.
As you might expect, any Nottingham Forest fanzine (like the club itself) cannot wriggle its way from under the colossal shadow of Mr. Clough – well, not yet anyway, but in time they will surely grow and move on so as not to need that inevitable crutch to support themselves with. This is no criticism of the guys for the magazine being a tad Clough-heavy; indeed, they have skilfully engineered this first issue of Bandy and Shinty to ensure it is not dripping in syrupy nostalgia for the great man. In many instances it’s quite the opposite with plenty of reference made to his many mistakes and his sad alcohol-fuelled decline in latter years – a subject I find is often glossed over by those who knew Clough, or at least knew of his issues, whether they be ex-professionals or those in the media who seem determined not to tarnish his legend.
The undoubted star of the show for me is actor Arsher Ali’s (The Missing, Four Lions, Line of Duty) break-up letter to Forest; the football equivalent of a Dear John, if you will. It’s scathing, deep-seated emotion is something that we’ve all experienced at one time or another – barring the fans of Manchester United and a select few others perhaps – promising ourselves we were jacking it all in and that we’d been betrayed once too often. Yet, we go back. We always do.
Other highlights is the piece on the Forest shirt of 1985 (remember that Johnny Metgod thunderbolt?), Laura Jones’ (also of this parish) view on Forest from an outsider’s perspective, and the article on Jimmy Gordon, former trainer during the golden years under Brian Clough.
The whole thing is a cracking first effort. Nothing feels like filler and every article is written with the key ingredient needed for any club-specific fanzine – a love for the club. It’s certainly evident in the quality of the writing and will appeal to even those not of a Forest persuasion as an insight into the psyche of that club and those supporters.
Bandy and Shinty Issue 1 is available from the shop on their website http://www.bandyandshinty.com/shop.html while their second issue will be available from late November/early December onwards. You can follow them on Twitter @BandyandShinty