Monday, August 10, 2009

Today's blog is going to be very self indulgent and for that I'm not going to apologise but please bear with it!

August 10th 2009 you see is a special day for all connected with Away From The Numbers, for today AFTN is 20 years old.

For me, it's hard to believe that something that started off in my bedroom in Fife two decades ago has developed from a printed paper fanzine into what it is today, with a much used website and forum, a blog, a You Tube channel, a Twitter account, the presence on the various social networking sites and a soon to be launched sister site in Canada.

Issue 1 of AFTN (or "The Bayview Bulletin" as it was called for the first five issues of it's existance) was printed on Thursday 10th August 1989. Weird that it was a Thursday I know, but there you go.

Never totally happy with the name, the fanzine was revamped and rechristened in time for Issue 6 in April 1990. Away From The Numbers was the new name, with "The Bayview Bulletin" becoming a stats pull out section within it. But it was all one and the same monster and it soon just became known as AFTN.

The whole pull out section was part of the value for money aspect I wanted for the zine. There was also another free pullout later - a music fanzine we produced, dedicated to local bands, called "Ultracore". We always strove to pack in as much as we could and 40-60 pages were the norm and all for just fifty pence initially and then a quid!

As a paper entity, AFTN ran for 38 issues, with the last one to date coming out in April 2001. We're not saying the final ever printed issue as we still harbour this desire to do some more at some point in time, should the need ever arise.

With technology changing, the move online for AFTN was inevitable and after several months in development, Away From The Numbers hit the web in December 2003.

Hopefully AFTN will continue to grow from strength to strength. Without your support we wouldn't be what we are today, so we thank you one and all for all your contributions to the website itself and of course, our ever active forum. A special thanks as well to all of you who contributed to the paper zine over the years. Without you in particular we wouldn't be celebrating our 20th birthday today.

There's been a few highlights over the years. We had issues of the zine on sale in sports and book shops throughout the UK, with many stockists regularly selling out, including the influential London based sports bookshop Sportspages.

A number of newspapers, magazines and TV shows jumped on the football fanzine bandwagon and this led to a number of great reviews by high profile people. Our pinnacle could be described as being given 30/30 and the accolade of "the best fanzine we've seen so far" by the "Daily Sport" newspaper - we know our audience!

There was the red card campaign to oust manager Gavin Murray, which took a lot longer than we anticipated but was our first major rallying of the fans behind a cause.

When the Derrick Brown situation arose at the Club in 2005/2006, the bond of supporters then was even better and we are as equally proud to have been able to provide the mouthpiece and organisational tool for the fans behind the "Down With Brown" campaign on that occasion as well.

Hopefully we will not need to be there for anything like that again.

One of our main regular cartoon features in the zine, the Insane In The Brain funnies, were described as "surreal comic brilliance" by another publication and I hope to resurrect and freshen this up for this electronic version sometime soon.

AFTN reached the height of it's notoriety with our Cowden Family comic strip and appearance to around 14 million people on the BBC's "They Think It's All Over" TV programme in a Christmas special. An appearance that generated a lot of media interest in Scotland on what must have been a very slow news day! You can see footage of it HERE.

This wasn't to be our only TV appearance though, with our particular highlight being the opportunity to produce two 'Fancams' for a pre Tim and Helen Soccer AM for Sky - highlighting East Fife fans travels to first Berwick and then Stranraer.

From a website point of view our proudest achievement so far is in our East Fife All Time Greats vote, which the East Fife Supporters Trust turned into a fantastic dinner and awards showcase last year. That night is felt by many as being one of the best they've had as an East Fife fan and we're proud to have kicked the whole thing off.

The launch earlier this year of our East Fife online museum section, The Bayview Bible, is AFTN's other crowning glory I feel. And one day it might even be finished!

But enough of our own trumpet blowing, at least for another ten years anyway!

Again, thanks to everyone that's helped AFTN be what it is today. We look forward to entertaining you for the next 20 years, whatever that might have in store.

Thanks for supporting and being with AFTN. In all seriousness, it really means a lot to me.

2 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday!!!
    Flor (floreshayes@gmail.com)
    hkpanda.freetzi.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you! I love your bags!

    ReplyDelete

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