Friday, 5 August 2016

Bandy & Shinty: Something to be proud of

Us Brits are a little bit shy about saying what we're proud about aren't we? Yet, if you'll forgive me for a moment, I'm going to break ranks.

Tomorrow isn't just the start of the new season, it's also the launch of the first issue of Bandy & Shinty, a new quality quarterly of writing about our beloved Nottingham Forest. To my pride, joy and surprise I was asked to join this Blizzard-inspired party.

I'm really rather chuffed with how it has turned out and have to take my hat off to the superb work of the 'Fab Four' Phil Juggins, David Marples, Steve Wright and Sean Hockett. I hope Forest fans snap copies up and enjoy the fruits of their hard work. They deserve it.

So, what's in it? There's 18 articles including pieces from the four above, the Guardian's Nick Miller, Football 365's Daniel Storey, actor Arsher Ali, ex-Reds Paul McGregor and Gregor Robertson and a host of people whose work you'll have seen and enjoyed in a variety of places in print and online. It's humbling to be in such good company.

The theme is 'firsts', which acts as a neat but not constricting way of threading the whole thing together. I particularly enjoyed Phil Juggins and Nick Miller's pieces about the 91 FA Cup Final and Clough relegation respectively . Both were strangely cathartic, a kind of long needed group therapy for the sad way Old Big 'Ead's reign came to a close. I also nodded along heartily in agreement with Daniel Storey on the 1992 Zenith Data Systems Cup Final, my first visit to Wembley too. Actually these were far from the only times I nodded in agreement, I must've looked like a Churchill dog on someone's parcel shelf (does anyone still have those?).

My two penneth is about Wes Morgan and the way we feel in general about players who leave and go on to better things.

I should take time to praise the artwork too. It looks and feels like a class act. The front cover alone (see above) is a joy.

It'll be on sale before and after the match tomorrow at the Trent Navigation for £4 or (soon) online if you can't make it.

I really hope it goes down well. It's born out of the desire to celebrate and reflect on why we all take leave of our senses and dedicate so much of our lives to this bizarre football club of ours. I'm biased, of course, but I think it achieves that with flying colours.

I hope we're at the start of something special. Here's to a successful launch and many more editions to come.

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