true faith has been going since 1999. We sold Issue 1 outside SJP for the Wimbledon game (3-3) and the second for a match when Paul Robinson was preferred to Alan Shearer. The first issue was designed by yours truly and it was 32-pages and 2-colour. Later Glenn Ashcroft would take over the design duties and provide some of the best fanzine lay-out in the country. Over the subsequent number of years we carved a niche for the fanzine amongst those who valued supporter expression. For years leading up to the final printed issue it was 64-pages and full colour. We were able to do that because of you going into shops and buying it. No other explanation. We survived and thrived because you wanted us to. We published 111 hard-copy issues and were frequently nominated as being one of the best fanzines in the UK. We came close but never got the top prize. How Newcastle United is that?
Over the years we added a website to join that internet thing and we then started offering the option of the fanzine via digital format which has been a massive success. In recent years we’ve added the Podcasts, The Special Newsletter and our audience has just went mental. We’ve also managed to develop a model where we’re able to offer everything completely free without pimping ourselves out to betting sites and the like.
Sadly, offering a hard-copy version of the fanzine just became unsustainable so we left that behind and although it was sad, truth is the printed media is dying. You lot have voted with your feet. Personally, I think it’s better now. We’ve followed the trends and what is available via technology.
I’ve loved editing true faith. It’s been hugely enjoyable. The fanzine has brought me into contact with people who are now my firm friends. There have been one or two arseholes along the way but they’ve been minor blots on the landscape. I’m indebted to those who have supported TF – readers, writers – the whole lot of everyone. But now it’s time to bow out.
true faith needs a new strategy, energy and direction. I’ve always felt as though I’ve known where the next steps were for true faith and I’m conceited enough to believe we’ve made the right moves at the right times. But now? I think it’s time to pass the reigns over to someone new.
That is going to be Alex Hurst. Alex has written for a good few years for TF and he’s developed the Podcast to being one of the most prominent in the country. It’s certainly by a mile the most listened to on the Newcastle United scene. Alex loves Newcastle United so that’s a great start. For older readers, Alex and his mates are a bit old school – in that they travel all over the country going to see United play and they are the right people to produce an authentic football fanzine rather than the frauds who don’t bother home or away out to make a buck. I happen to know that not everyone supposedly producing supporter content is as genuine as Alex.
Alex has the energy, drive, resilience and intelligence to take true faith forward. I’m excited by some of the ideas he has and how he intends to develop true faith over the next few years. The best days of true faith are definitely ahead of it.
That’s not to say I’m dropping off completely. I’ll be doing my bit in other ways – mainly by dedicating more time to the thing I really enjoy doing which is writing about Newcastle United and football more generally. Of course that will be for Newcastle United’s number one fanzine.
Alex is keen to retain all of the brilliant writers who have gravitated towards true faith over many years and we’ll keep our team together as Alex plots a new course.
In a separate blog, doubtless Alex will set out some of his thoughts about the development of true faith and how things will roll out.
Once again, thank you to everyone who has supported true faith and me personally as editor. It’s been an honour to have been indulged by you all. I’m fond of repeating the line that true faith isn’t for everyone but there have been enough like-minded souls to make it count. My advice to Alex is to do what you think is best, don’t try and be an everyman publication. The people who tell you not to do this or that don’t know. Have confidence. It really isn’t about riding the latest trend or popular opinion.
I hope Alex gets as much support in directing true faith in the future as I have had overwhelmingly since 1999.
Keep On, Keepin’ On …