30 Years of When Saturday Comes!

Copa90 Collective

30 Years of When Saturday Comes!

Author

Copa90
Copa90
Article by
When Saturday Comes
Copa90 Collective member
When Saturday Comes

When Saturday Comes is a monthly magazine that was first published in London in 1986. They provide a voice for intelligent football supporters, covering all the topics that fans care about, offering both a serious and humorous view of the sport.

Copa90 Collective

The Collective is a curated community that brings together the people defining the future of football fan culture; a handpicked group of publishers, artists and organisations who are our belief that football is more than a game and has the power to unite people like nothing else does.

About
When Saturday comes has just celebrated 30 years. For the occasion they decided to release a digital archive of all their work over the last 3 decades. We sat down the the magazine’s founder and editor, Andy Lyons to get his take on the past, present, and future of this staple of British football culture…
What was the initial idea behind WSC?
What was the initial idea behind WSC?
Our aim was always to provide an opportunity for people to express their opinions about football. When we started out, we felt that football had not received the recognition it should have had for being an important part of popular culture since the 19th century. Whereas, today it does have a more elevated position but often in the ‘wrong’ way – in that it has become a commodity, as part of global corporate culture. Also when we started out, football fans, post-Heysel, had a poor public image so we aimed to show that they were ‘normal’ people and not crazy hooligans as they often tended to be portrayed in the media at the time.
How has the magazine changed of these 30 years?
It’s more professionally produced (we started to take advertising in the late 80s, then went full-colour in the late 90s) but we feel that, as in the 1980s, we are still on the margins – existing alongside the mainstream but not entirely part of it. Also, our readership has got older as we have, so the average age of the reader now is somewhere in the 40s. We do try to reach younger people, by making sure that we write about topical subjects and not too much about “our” era eg the 1970s and 80s) and we still seem to pick up a steady flow of new readers in their teens and early 20s. Whilst the idea of working with fans to tell football stories may seem normal in today’s social media environment, surely this was quite a novel approach when you started. Tell us how WSC has nurtured that relationship with fans before it was common for fans to sacrifice their time and to share their perspectives. We developed alongside a club zine subculture – around the early 90s there were 300 or so other zines, almost all of them covering individual clubs (most have since moved on to the internet in various forms or stopped altogether). So that was a source of contacts when we needed to find someone to write about a particular club. There was also a parallel development in fan activism, through the supporters’ movement called the Football Supporters Association (which has now evolved into the FSF) and early independent fan groups, which also provided potential contributors. So over the decades we have built up a network of people who can write about specific subjects – including some professional journalists too.
How have you evolved over 30 years?
I’d hope that we’ve maintained a certain standard of writing. Design-wise the mag has developed without becoming too slick, I think. Essentially, we’ve only ever trusted our own judgment. A bit like the ethos of the old BBC, in that rather than finding out what our audience might be interested in, we tell them what we think is interesting. Benign authoritarianism.
What can we expect from WSC going forward?
The entire print archive of WSC is now available online to subscribers so we’re hoping people will find that interesting. We’re trying to follow technological developments in the way that people can consume the magazine – subscriptions are now available on an app via tablets and smartphones etc – and we publish a certain amount of new content online. We’d like to get back into publishing books – we used to do more of that a decade or so ago – and are now looking at things like ‘print on demand’ and considering whether we can use crowdfunding to develop some projects.
What else should our readers know about WSC?
We feel that we are still addressing an informed readership who take an interest in football as a whole – the lower leagues as well as the top level and political/cultural stuff as well as the game itself – and who still go to games as well as watching on TV.

All articles loaded