New Sheffield United fanzine to raise money for charity
Two huge Sheffield United supporters are launching a new club fanzine and donating any profits to charity.
Mark Swift and George Battersby, who became friends after meeting on a coach heading to an away game, have teamed up to create Cuttin Edge Blades.
Any profits will be split between The Children’s Hospital Charity and St Luke’s Hospice Sheffield, the latter of which is particularly close to George’s heart as it has provided vital support for his loved ones.
Mark, who is 24, lives in Beighton and works in marketing, told how it had long been an ambition of the pair to start their own supporters magazine and the club’s long-awaited return to the Premier League felt like the perfect time to start.
He said it made sense to combine his talent for graphic design with the writing skills of George, a 22-year-old primary school teacher, who grew up in Ecclesfield and recently moved to Waverley.
The first edition of the fanzine, which will be priced £3 including delivery and will run to at least 24 pages, is due to be published shortly before the Blades open their season at Bournemouth on August 10, and the duo plan to make it a monthly publication.
Speaking from Portugal, where he is following his beloved Blades, Mark said: “George in particular has always wanted to start a fanzine and we got chatting over the summer and decided now’s the time to do it.
“We had no interest in making money out of it, so we thought the best thing to do would be to donate any profits to two great local charities.
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“We’re still putting together the first edition but it will include a season preview, player ratings for last year and how we think they’ll perform this season, among other things, and there will probably be a report from Portugal too.
“The response has been great so far. We’re building a good following on social media and we’ve already had more than 50 pre-orders.”
The pair are fans of the existing Dem Blades fanzine but don’t view themselves as being in competition because theirs will be more frequent and will delve deeper into the stats and analysis, in contrast to Dem Blades’ more humorous approach.
Cuttin Edge Blades is available now to pre-order and will be delivered to fans’ homes, with everyone buying a copy being entered into a prize draw to win an original Sheffield United artwork. Mark said any remaining copies may be sold on match days.
They have also set up their own Fantasy Premier League division, which Mark said more than 100 followers have joined.
Asked what he thinks of the club’s chances in the real thing, Mark said: “With Chris Wilder in charge, nothing would surprise me, and I’d like to think we’ve got a good chance of staying up.
“Things were a bit slow to begin with this summer but we've made some decent signings now.
“Luke Freeman for less than £5 million is an absolute steal, and Phil Jagielka is a real marquee signing. If we can get a striker and a goalkeeper I’ll be pretty pleased.”
For more about Cuttin Edge Blades, and to pre-order a copy, visit the Facebook group or follow @cuttinedgeblade on Twitter.