Welcome to issue 175 of The Saint. As ever, the paper as a whole, not just this little corner that will forever be sport, is full to the brim of the finest and most incisive student journalism St Andrews has to offer.
Standing outside the library hawking The Saint to those who eagerly gobble it up or to be politely declined by those gripping a copy in their hand already is a reasonably reaffirming experience; it shows that people are giving your efforts at least a modicum of interest and due deference.
Yet when you have been standing in the chill Fife air with the rain peppering down on you as the droves are striding past, your faith in mankind and indeed why you do this begins to waver. Yet, as Margaret Thatcher once said to an American president, this is “no time to go wobbly.”
In a great book on football photography called A Casual Look there is a picture of a teen, equipped with bad haircut, Rudolf-esque nose and anorak, selling a fanzine outside a ground somewhere. For those of you not aware, in the 1980s football underwent something of a revolution with fans beginning to articulate their beliefs in a more coherent fashion than previously experienced, mainly in the form of print fanzines. Challenging chairmen, the football authorities, dodgy left backs and the somewhat questionable quality of pies on offer, they were available outside most grounds across Britain. Some were indifferent, some were bad and some were fantastically witty and insightful publications that campaigned to change their clubs for the better – but each and every single one of them was put together with a great amount of dedication, care and emotional investment.
Sadly the internet, high printing costs and, dare I say it, real life have killed off many of these publications. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover in a newsagents in Manchester this week that it stocked several Manchester United and Manchester City fanzines (including the incredibly well put together and oft controversial Red Issue). I bought a copy of each one and I must say they were still an engaging, funny and thoughtful read. In an era of the tablet and internet they might be the last of the dinosaurs but they are very welcome dinosaurs.
Nothing feels better than sitting down with a paper and absorbing something that has had so much effort poured into it.
The population of St Andrews seem to recognise that and I applaud them. Enjoy the issue and I look forward to seeing you all picking up a copy outside the library come rain, hail or shine.