Founded in 1986 when football was an outcast sport whose followers were demonised by the government and media, When Saturday Comes has covered a period of huge change in the national game from an alternative angle – and still does to this day.
WSC has been there through the Hillsborough disaster, the introduction of all-seat stadiums, the foundation of the Premier League, the influx of multi-billionaire owners, mass commercialisation and rising ticket prices, to provide an alternative voice for intelligent supporters in both a serious and humorous way. The fully searchable archive over every issue is a perfect resource to track how football – and wider British culture – has evolved over the last 30, turbulent years.
When Saturday Comes is Britain's leading independent football magazine. Launched in 1986, it aims to provide a voice for intelligent football supporters, offering both a serious and humorous view of the sport. WSC has always sought to include contributions from readers as well as a number of football journalists and award-winning authors. In each issue we aim to cover most of the major topics that fans are likely to talk about.
Within two years of its launch, WSC had developed from a bi-monthly, photocopied, hand-stapled production into a monthly magazine with national distribution. WSC also helped to publicise the hundreds of club fanzines that sprang up around this time. It is estimated that such publications were selling a total of more than a million copies each year by 1989.
Our public profile increased off the back of regular media publicity, such as that generated by a trip organised by the magazine to Senegal for the 1992 African Nations Cup, subsequent Nations Cups in Tunisia and South Africa, and the South American championship in Ecuador in 1993. The magazine increased in size to 48 pages and went full colour in early 1995.
During the mid-1990s boom in football publishing, When Saturday Comes established a niche in the then crowded magazine market. WSC has become recognised as a source of informed comment on all aspects of British football, featuring on major current affairs programming and in newspapers in this country and on radio and television around Europe.
WSC has provided an outlet for many journalists and award-winning writers, notably Nick Hornby, Simon Kuper, Harry Pearson, Simon Inglis, Barney Ronay and David Conn. It also seeks to include contributions from readers as well as many academics from institutions such as the University of Manchester Law School, the University of Brighton, the University of Coventry, the University of Leicester and the University of Liverpool.
Notable past articles include:
The opening manifesto: “Some people are in football because it's what they do best and what they enjoy doing, others are in it to squeeze every last drop of prestige, power and money out of it – and at the moment The Squeezers are having a fine old time of it.” (Issue 1, p1)
Hillsborough Disaster editorial: “There is very little common sense applied to football. In no other area of life is the victim treated with as much disrespect as the perpetrator, nor the majority held to be guilty of the crimes perpetrated by a minority. But, ultimately, what happens to us doesn't matter. It is our own fault for being football fans. That is why MPs always ignored pleas from supporters' organisations seeking to prevent the sort of disaster that has become a reality. Whatever they may say, few politicians gave any indication that they cared about football fans before Hillsborough happened. Suddenly everyone knows the answer. A fortnight ago, they didn't even hear the question.” (Issue 28, p2-3)
Taylor Parkes’ review of Tim Lovejoy’s book: “Chopped into “chapters” that barely fill a page, in a font size usually associated with books for the partially sighted, Lovejoy on Football is part autobiography, part witless musing, and one more triumph for the crass stupidity rapidly replacing culture in this country. Hopelessly banal and nauseatingly self-assured, smirkingly unfunny, it’s a £300 T-shirt, a piss-you-off ringtone, a YouTube clip of someone drinking their mate’s vomit. Its smugness is a corollary of its vacuity. I hope it makes you sick.” (Issue 250, p30-31)
“Where WSC has been most prominent is in its ambient influence. Before its rise to prominence the wider media – outside of the thriving club fanzine network – simply didn't write about sport the way it does now. The fanzine culture that WSC popularised was a template for the new vocabulary of puckish humour, critical scrutiny of football's hierarchies and the promiscuous eliding of football with other parts of the popular culture.”
Barney Ronay for the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2011/apr/27/when-saturday-comes-25-years
“WSC remains a kind of conscionable voice at the fringes, a hospitable place, selling you only a magazine, some jokes, and a sympathetic voice for everyone from ad hoc contributors to the terrifyingly well-informed pedants of the letters page. Let it always be there!”
Barney Ronay for the Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2016/mar/11/when-saturday-comes-shooting-football-fringes
“When Saturday Comes, the fanzine that celebrates its 30th birthday this month, arrived like an interloper into the hard-faced, deeply parochial culture of domestic football in the mid-1980s. I saw it described recently as an “alternative voice for intelligent supporters”. And while WSC was certainly a clumsily photocopied stand against stupidity, that slightly sententious description doesn’t quite capture the blend of pomposity-pricking humour and uncomplicated love for the game — together with a fierce, well-placed mistrust of the people running it — which established a template that would spawn hundreds of imitators.”
Jonathan Derbyshire for the Financial Times:
“When Saturday Comes is the UK’s leading independent football magazine. Since 1986 it has given voice to intelligent discussion and informed comment on the game and its wider culture.”
From Creative Review:
“WSC's content is quite unlike that of any magazine. The media blah about the latest Rooney outrage, John Terry controversy or "big club in crisis" story is coolly dispatched in an editorial or a review of the month's press. The magazines casts an eye over football globally, yielding sometimes inspirational, sometimes bizarre stories of the way the game is conducted and administered in other parts of the world, as well as examining in sympathetic detail the struggles of lower league clubs.”
David Stubbs for the Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/when-saturday-comes-philosophy-football-2275034.html
“Thirty years ago, the football media was a very different landscape. Television coverage rarely exceeded 10 hours a week; the game was never used as an advertising vehicle; and print interest was limited to a couple of magazines and the back pages of a national press that focused, as now, mainly on match reports, transfers and interviews, but in less depth. The voice of the common fan went unheard, except when calling for a manager’s sacking or, in the case of a vocal minority, abusing black players. Football itself, beset by hooliganism and decrepit facilities, was abhorred and marginalised by Government and polite society. Mike Ticher and Andy Lyons launched WSC into this abyss as the voice of the ordinary supporter, one who enjoyed football as part of a wider life; did not engage in violence, but still cared about it passionately.”
Glenn Moore in the final print issue of the Independent: