Firstly, a big thanks from all of us in the true faith bunker to all of you who have said such nice things about what we’ve been doing with our little fanzine over the last fifteen years. It was very much appreciated and encouraging.
The Cardiff match gone was the last game we’ll be selling a hard-copy version of true faith outside St James’ Park. It was unquestionably the end of an era.
It is also though, the start of a new era as we get planning for the true faith SUMMER SPECIAL (TF112) and what an essential piece of reading this is warming up to be. It will be out at the end of this month.
We have been overwhelmed by the numbers of people contacting us to volunteer their services be that as a writers, designers and all manner of other skills. Its very encouraging so many of you can see what we’re trying to do and although a bit sad at the end of the hard-copy tradition (as we are too, truth be told) seem to be able to see the vast potential of taking a step into the Digital era.
So, the SUMMER SPECIAL will be an amazing 100-pages. Our hard-copy offer has been traditionally 64-pages, occasionally 72-pages, so immediately we’ve been able to substantially increase our content with DIGITAL. This will enable us to host more writers, cover more angles and will make us the largest club fanzine in the UK.
Previously, DIGITAL subscribers have had access to an exact replica of the hard-copy version of the fanzine and I’d describe our DIGITAL offer so far as basic. Its been exactly the same as the print version. But the format and lay-out of our new DIGITAL only version is going to change and much for the better. But don’t worry, when you open it up, it will be instantly recognisable as the hard-copy version you have been reading for the last 15 years.
Our subscription costs with the hard-copy version have long been something we have been unable to control such is the cost of postage which in many cases more than doubles the cost of buying the fanzine from a newsagent or directly from us.
Now we have been able to slash the costs from £70 in some cases to an annual subscription charge of just £17.99 no matter where you are in the world. If £17.99 seems a bit steep for you, you can take a rolling quarterly subscription of £5.99 to spread the cost, though an annual fee works out cheaper.
What is more, the delays our subscribers have experienced with patchy global postal services means they won’t have to wait 4, 5 or 6 weeks for their copy to be delivered – it will be available to everyone at the same time whether you are in Benwell or Bermuda.
Whilst our subscribers will experience the biggest savings in terms of costs, they won’t be the only ones. On average, we see the cost of a copy of true faith, dropping from £3 an issue to £1.79 (with the annual sub). Every true faith reader will save money with the new DIGITAL issue.
So, bigger, better, faster and cheaper.
For those readers perhaps new to true faith, taking out a DIGITAL subscription will immediately allow access to an archive of 30 back issues going back to TF81 and coming right up to date with our latest issue TF111. That is at no extra cost.
When we started true faith in 1999 it was a pretty basic 2-colour, 32-page fanzine. We didn’t have a website until a few years later but at every step of the way, enough of our readers have continually supported us and bit by bit we have improved what we have done and now have true faith established as one of the best known, widely read and respected club fanzines in the country. We see this step into the DIGITAL era as part of that continuing journey and we hope you continue to support us on what is undoubtedly new ground and our most difficult step yet.
Of course, you need a reason to support us and we know that well enough. In the era of wall-to-wall football coverage, the authentic voice of supporters can be lost amongst all the blah-blah-blah of corporate journalism and straightforward hype. There have been an explosion in Bloggers in recent years but the form is highly disposable and poorly presented in most cases. Football supporters need good fanzines and that is what we are committed to.
We are committed to giving the alternative view on what is happening at Newcastle United in particular but football in general. We would like to record as much of the lives and times of Newcastle United supporters wherever they are as much as we possibly can.
Regular readers know where we come from in terms of our take on how United has been run over many years and in the present era. That’s where the editorial line is but if anyone has a contrary view, we’ll happily publish that and let you pull our views apart.
We hope to continue to get the awkward questions out into the public domain. We will try to shine a light in the dark corners of every area of Newcastle United FC where-ever we can.
But it isn’t all about slagging the club off. Every single one of us associated with true faith is a committed supporter of the club just like you. We claim no super-fan status and nor do we have any claim to be your representatives. We desperately want Newcastle United to succeed, to make us proud and give the supporters memories to take forward and regale younger fans with as our ancestors did with us. We would love to support a happy, successful Newcastle United. No-one can say Newcastle United is currently happy or successful.
In the next few weeks we’ll be giving further details of what we’re planning for the Summer Special but no matter what we’re doing we need you lot to read it, so you could take out a Subscription now and get ready.