In September 2005, issue 2 of Under The Boardwalk had three old footy photos on the cover with some words pasted over them…`Here’s A Move’…`Here’s Another’…`Here’s A Third’…`NOW START A FOOTBALL TEAM’…It was nicked from the old punk mantra for starting a band but summed up both FC and its fanzine – punk football.
...it’s better looking, better written and better supported than most fanzines produced by proper league teams...
“It is about that…If you don’t like the status quo, get off your arse and do something about it” says Chris Boardman, one of the three Salfordian founders of the mag “When the club launched we thought `There’s room here to do something and that fits in with the punk ethic’.”
It’s about Do It Yourself and anything goes, bringing fun and irony back to footy which was missing from what they call the `Old Club’. They subvert iconic pop graphics for the covers, they have features on the players’ favourite pubs, interviews with the likes of Mark E Smith and Terry Christian, and, after trips with the `Old Club’ to Barcelona, Madrid and Roma, a guide to the delights of the villages that host non league football...and the villagers who don’t go to away matches – “I can understand no-one coming from Silsden or Colne or them kind of places…they might miss a cow being born…”
“The fanzine came about because we went to one of the pre-season friendlies and 2500 fans turned up all having a good time” Woolfie, the editor, recalls “When we came back we were buzzing with the atmosphere – you just don’t get that in a non-league friendly.”
The trio hadn’t done anything like it before but printed 100 issues for the first proper match of last season and set off to the away game at Leigh to see the response.
“We went down to Chorley St Bus Station, got on the coach and tried to sell them but I just got all these icy stares” says Woolfie “I kept wondering why until I realised it was a United coach going to Everton. I still sold ten copies, though…”
When they eventually got to Leigh the issue sold out and the fanzine has grown from then to a print run of 1000 copies, and worldwide sales via e-Bay. The mag isn’t about knocking Glazer or looking backwards to the split from Old Trafford, it’s more a celebration of what FC is about.
“You hear all these stories from blokes about the 50s when the players would get on the bus and walk to the ground, and that sort of thing is happening again” says Anthony Alton, who does the graphics “FC has got that link to the community – not just on the emotional side but there’s youth teams and things like that. They really are putting a lot back into the community.”
“If you don’t like the status quo, get off your arse and do something about it”
Under The Boardwalk has the same principles. No-one gets paid for producing the mag and any profits go to good causes, like the Chris McGuirk fund. While FC has an official programme, the ‘zine stands on the sidelines as a raucous independent voice. And, what’s more, it’s better looking, better written and better supported than most fanzines produced by proper league teams.
Under The Boardwalk costs £1 and is available from all good FC United games…