PATGOD reached a bit of a landmark during the past week – its 25th anniversary. It was a raucous affair as you might expect – dwarf tossing, snorting coke off a hooker’s ass, a game of crib. We partied like it was 1989. But actually that date sends a bit of a shiver down the spine. Was it really a whole quarter century ago that the inky, photocopied parent of this sleek electronic blog first emerged blinking into the light? Where did all the years go? Not to mention our hair?
Back then, fanzines broke new ground because they gave football fans a means to express their views by taking the publication into their own hands. At the time this was quite a big step. Sports coverage was far more limited than today and there was no room for the opinions of supporters. Apart from sanitised (by necessity) bits and bobs in programmes. Within a couple of years, broadcasters cottoned on and the first great example was the creation of 6-0-6 hosted by Danny Baker. Like a radio version of a funny, intelligent argument in a pub, it was liberating. So much so that within a couple more years, the BBC had replaced him with David Mellor as if to say, that’s enough of that sort of thing thank you.
The likes of Mellor seemed to set the tone for a decade or more of token fan input – only numpties allowed on air – then the rise of social media and no-cost blogs gave supporters a new means of expression. By then the traditional printed fanzine was rather old hat. We should know, having knocked out paper editions of PATGOD covering events from 3 months earlier, whereas now you can follow a game live on t’net and even watch it (if the camera is pointing in the right direction and someone has remembered to put a shilling in the meter). And then argue about it with fellow keyboard warriors. All in their underpants.
Now, in the age of incessant comment, everyone has an opinion and it’s out there. Who hasn’t had their enjoyment of a major international enhanced by a scrolling bar saying "cum on England u can do it"? Or listened to a Liverpool supporter living in Devon who wasn’t at the game today and didn’t see it on TV but is certain it wasn’t a penalty.
Issue 1. Early desktop publishing.