We were pretty upset after our visit to Forest last season. In part due to the failure of the leading Albion side to hang on for all three points. But also because, on instructions of the head steward, our copies of the TSLR on sale at that time were confiscated until full time. Why? we asked. Ground regulations, they offered in response.
It's happened this season too - away at Sheffield Wednesday, copies of TSLR were confined to a shed, despite my drunken protests. In our first ever season, 2008-09, our decision to launch a new issue at Southampton backfired considerably when stewards informed us that we weren't able to sell the fanzine on club property (and Southampton own quite a lot of the surrounding area to St Mary's, it turns out).
We find this all a little unfair - football matches are the only real chance we have to offload issues from our over-ordered stockpiles. But then again, sometimes you have to consider the club itself. It would clearly be considered totally outrageous should someone pitch up and sell something within a ground, without a license, that is in direct competition of what merchandise and memorabilia is available through the official channels inside a football ground.
I suppose my point is, TSLR and other fanzines across the country are unique - each issue is a massive in-joke that rarely reverberate with consumers outside of that specific football club supporting demographic. And this uniqueness enables them to co-exist alongside the merchandise available as part of the modern matchday experience. This post is a plea, a plea to football clubs across the country, to reassure them that fanzines are not crack. Our fans (not customers) will still buy a pint as well as a fanzine. They will still buy a programme despite it only including four pages about the Albion as well as a fanzine.
Football clubs across the country, please, please can you let us sell fanzines?