Sheffield United: Nostalgia in digital age leads to printed '˜Dem Blades' fanzine for Unitedites

Dem Blades Quarterly is launching next yearDem Blades Quarterly is launching next year
Dem Blades Quarterly is launching next year
Like vinyl records, fanzines have long taken a downward trajectory proportionate to the upward curve of online alternatives.

There's lots of football on the internet, but there's something about about the touchfeel of fanzines - like vinyl - that edges their intangible competitors.

Writing about Sheffield United online was precisely what I had been doing. I published around 100 satirical Dem Blades Blogs, under the guise of pseudo-intellectual Sheffield United fan, Steve Mackan, until I decided that change was due. I just love the printed page.

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Blades legend Tony Agana will write an agony aunt column in Dem Blades QuarterlyBlades legend Tony Agana will write an agony aunt column in Dem Blades Quarterly
Blades legend Tony Agana will write an agony aunt column in Dem Blades Quarterly

Over the summer, myself and designer Sam Badjala-Cressey decided to commission a bunch of Unitedites to write and illustrate content for Dem Blades Annual. It was our first '˜zine, crowdfunded by Blades, written by Blades, published by Blades. I loved being a part of it.

We received cockle-warming responses from fans, particularly in reference to the look, feel and quality of the annual. And, in equal part, there was all praise and no grumble for how easy it was to buy a copy online. This latter points got us to thinking '“ a traditional Blades fanzine for the digital age. That's our aspiration.

With the proceeds of the annual we have prepared our latest publication. The first issue of Dem Blades Quarterly will be published in January and can be ordered as part of a year-long 2019 subscription right now. (I might add, it's a perfect red 'n' white stocking filler).

Publications made by fans and for fans are necessarily small in quantity and distribution - and we've remained true to the content and design that you would expect of a fanzine. What can you know of United, that only Blades fans know, eh?

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Accompanied by Blades-related goodies, designed to fit through the letterbox and posted straight to your door, the Dem Blades Quarterly features a bespoke front cover created by a different artist every issue. Inside, the pages will be full of yet more artistic magic too, as well as opinions and anecdotes, match analysis, history, satire, spoofs, and some pretty special extras.

Nowhere else will you find United legend Tony Agana writing an advice column as Dem Blades' resident '˜Agana Aunt', answering questions such as: 'Why do people leave 10 minutes before the end of games especially when they got in 10 minutes after kick off'¦ Agana Aunt, help me to understand?'

The answer to this question takes a more logical approach than you might imagine - you'll have to grab a copy to find out.

Fanzines weave a rustic but colourful thread, and it's our hope to braid a red and white mark on the tat-laden tapestry of 21st-century football. If you want to help us do that, then please subscribe for the year or get in touch to contribute your work.