The Blizzard

The Blizzard

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The Blizzard is a quarterly football publication put together by a cooperative of journalists and authors. These podcasts feature some of the best articles from our back catalogue, and recordings of live Q&A events we hold with our writers around the UK. Our main aim is to provide a platform for top-class writers from across the globe to enjoy the space and the freedom to write what they like about the football stories that matter to them. For more details - www.theblizzard.co.uk

Episodes

Bye Bye Bebe  

“I am going to be a brilliant player,” Bebé said. He wasn’t. To our surprise, given his mediocre showing for the reserves, he made his United debut six days later in a Carling Cup win at Scunthorpe (Ferguson, scouting Champions League opponents Valencia, didn’t see Bebé play then either). It was the first of seven senior appearances. Two even brought goals, albeit in fortunate fashion; a shot that looped up off the Wolves defender George Elokobi and over the goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and a Champions League goal against Bursaspor, courtesy of a deflection off Ali Tandoğan." Episode Eighty Nine of the Blizzard Podcast looks back on 'Bye-bye Bebé' by Richard Jolly, originally published in Issue Fourteen in September 2014. In it he explores one of the most mystifying transfers of recent years - that of the unknown Portuguese forward Bebé to Manchester United. Read the full article here: https://www.theblizzard.co.uk/article/bye-bye-bebe "Yet his shortcomings were apparent and his United career came to an abrupt halt after the 2011 FA Cup win over Crawley. Ferguson’s team were dreadful and Bebé and Obertan, the two wingers, were the worst of a poor bunch. Their non-league counterparts looked more accomplished players." Issue Fourteen, like all issues of the Blizzard, is available for £12 plus postage on www.theblizzard.co.uk. Since we’ve relaunched the website, all our articles, including this one, are available to read for free. Non-subscribers get 3 free articles a month, while subscribers have unlimited advert-free browsing, as well as access to digital downloads of all our issues in eBook formats. Those who want to buy one-off eBooks can still do so – from the Kindle and Google Play stores.

The Unmarked Grave  

"Watson, described by the Scottish Football Association Annual of 1880-81 as “one of the very best backs we have”, represented two of the 19th century’s most prestigious clubs in Queen’s Park and Corinthians, forging a successful career on both sides of the border as he won multiple domestic trophies and attracted widespread admiration for his robust but proficient style of play. Yet until only recently, Watson’s story had been allowed to fade into history’s murky depths, obscured by supposition and inaccuracy." Episode Eighty Eight of the Blizzard Podcast revisits 'The Unmarked Grave' by Tom Adams, originally published in Issue Ten in September 2013. It looks back on the unknown story of one of football's pioneers - the first black international, Andrew Watson Read the full article here: https://www.theblizzard.co.uk/article/unmarked-grave "A revered three-time Scottish Cup winner and international captain, Watson had carved out his place in football’s history; having done so as a man of mixed race, he has a strong claim to being one of the most important figures in the early decades of the game. Yet even in his own time, his legend faded. "Following the conclusion of his playing career, Watson moved to Surrey and died there of pneumonia and cardiac arrest at his home in Kew on 8 March 1921 at the age of 64, his occupation simply stated as marine engineer. Watson’s humble grave is even less voluble about the life and career of this remarkable footballer. He surely deserves a richer eulogy." Issue Ten, like all issues of the Blizzard, is available for £12 plus postage on www.theblizzard.co.uk. Since we’ve relaunched the website, all our articles, including this one, are available to read for free. Non-subscribers get 3 free articles a month, while subscribers have unlimited advert-free browsing, as well as access to digital downloads of all our issues in eBook formats. Those who want to buy one-off eBooks can still do so – from the Kindle and Google Play stores.

Football On TV  

"On 14 April 1937, the BBC studios at Alexandra Palace played host to the first television demonstration of snooker, an exhibition of play by Horace Lindrum and Willie Smith. The programme lasted 10 minutes, whereupon it made way for Daffodils (“a display of various types of daffodils from the Daffodil Show” — Radio Times). Another couple of months down the line, and the BBC were off to Wimbledon for the first time. And then, on Thursday 16 September, it was the turn of football, and the world’s first live televised match. "The game had admittedly limited appeal — George Allison’s Arsenal were taking on Arsenal reserves at Highbury — but then only a few hundred houses close to Ally Pally in north London could receive BBC pictures anyway. Arsenal were the natural choice for the BBC’s experiment anyway: Highbury was the closest ground to Ally Pally and had a bespoke gantry for telly cameras in its fancy new East Stand." Episode Eighty Seven of the Blizzard Podcast looks back at 'Football on TV' by Scott Murray, our Eight Bells feature from Issue Eight, originally published in June 2013. It looks back on 8 key moments in the history of televised football, from the first broadcasts in the 1930s to bigger nationwide changes in later decades, via pay-tv and a little bit of controversy along the way. Read the full article here: www.theblizzard.co.uk/article/football-tv Issue Eight, like all issues of the Blizzard, is available for £12 plus postage on www.theblizzard.co.uk. Since we’ve relaunched the website, all our articles, including this one, are available to read for free. Non-subscribers get 3 free articles a month, while subscribers have unlimited advert-free browsing, as well as access to digital downloads of all our issues in eBook formats. Those who want to buy one-off eBooks can still do so – from the Kindle and Google Play stores.

The Race Card  

"At some point we probably need to grow up and agree what we will and will not allow in our football grounds. Right now, anything goes, except for racist, anti-Semitic and — but seemingly only if Rangers or Celtic are playing — sectarian abuse. And, at some point, we need to ask ourselves why we ban certain speech in football grounds. Is it to make some sort of social statement? Is it simply a commercial decision, to make our stadiums more inviting and pleasant? Is it to make ourselves feel better? "Increasingly, much of the anti-racist stuff in the mainstream media is motivated primarily by the latter two. Nothing wrong with that, of course, unless it lulls us into a false sense of achievement, a sort of "pat-on-the-back" self-congratulatory attitude which leads us to ignore the reality that racial prejudice — if not outright racism — is real and all around us." Episode Eighty Six of the Blizzard Podcast revisits Gabriele Marcotti's 'The Race Card' from Issue Three, originally published in December 2011, which tackles the tricky subject of abuse in our stadiums, and the double standards that sometimes surround it. This article contains some language that may not be appropriate to all listeners, so discretion is advised. Read the full article here: https://www.theblizzard.co.uk/article/race-card Issue Three, like all issues of the Blizzard, is available for £12 plus postage on www.theblizzard.co.uk. Since we’ve relaunched the website, all our articles, including this one, are available to read for free. Non-subscribers get 3 free articles a month, while subscribers have unlimited advert-free browsing, as well as access to digital downloads of all our issues in eBook formats. Those who want to buy one-off eBooks can still do so – from the Kindle and Google Play stores.

A Game Of Three Halves  

"It was at that point that the original referee arrived. According to the Derby Daily Telegraph, Kirkham claimed to have been “misdirected by a ticket collector at Halifax”, resulting in the missed connection. He’d set off from his home in good time, but arrived at Newcastle Road three hours late. As the teams loitered around the clubhouse at what seemed to be half-time, many in the crowd suspected there had been a hitch – and rumours began to spread that the match wasn’t a league game after all. " Episode Eighty Five of the Blizzard Podcast looks at 'A Game of Three Halves' by David Moonie, the story of why the 1894 meeting of Sunderland and Derby Country stretched to 135 minutes, first published in Issue Twenty Five in June 2017. Issue Twenty Five, like all issues of the Blizzard, is available for £12 plus postage on www.theblizzard.co.uk. Since we’ve relaunched the website, all our articles, including this one, are available to read for free. Non-subscribers get 3 free articles a month, while subscribers have unlimited advert-free browsing, as well as access to digital downloads of all our issues in eBook formats. Those who want to buy one-off eBooks can still do so – from the Kindle and Google Play stores.

Setting Sun  

“Leyton Orient Football Club is not my life, but it has been the only constant in it. I realise that every major event, every stage, every shifting moment, is connected in some way to this daft, infuriating football team. “It defined my childhood, inspired my education, gave me my sense of humour, united my family. It has brought some joy, but mostly pain. Yet it has always been a wonderful, happy distraction from life’s trials and tribulations. I did not have to support Orient, I could have chosen any team in London, but where my dad trod, my brother and I held his hand and followed.” Episode Eighty Four of the Blizzard Podcast features Setting Sun, Luke Edwards’ emotional article on what Leyton Orient means to him, and how it charts alongside the ups and downs of his own life, first published in Issue Twenty Five in June 2017. As a post-script to the article, since publication the club’s divisive owner Francesco Becchetti has sold up to a consortium led by lifelong Orient fans, so things are thankfully looking up for the club. Issue Twenty Five, like all issues of the Blizzard, is available for £12 plus postage on www.theblizzard.co.uk. Since we’ve relaunched the website, all our articles, including this one, are available to read for free. Non-subscribers get 3 free articles a month, while subscribers have unlimited advert-free browsing, as well as access to digital downloads of all our issues in eBook formats. Those who want to buy one-off eBooks can still do so – from the Kindle and Google Play stores.

Issue 25 And An Update  

An update on why things have been quiet on the podcast front for the last couple of weeks (aside from a live event and a collaboration with By Association). We've relaunched the website, now with everything we've ever published available online, for free. Listen in for more details, including Jonathan Wilson's editor's note from Issue Twenty Five (which is out now), or just visit www.theblizzard.co.uk to check it out. We'll be back to our regular weekly podcasts from next week.

The Silenced Crowd (in Collaboration With By Association)  

“There was no fooling the 18,000 spectators at Old Trafford. “Play up, you rotters!” they screamed. The fix was on. They knew it, as Manchester United went through the motions against Liverpool on 2 April 1915, winning 2-0 in a listless performance.” In Episode Eighty Two we revisit ‘The Silenced Crowd’ by Richard Fitzpatrick from Issue Ten, which looks at the greatest scandal in British football in the first half of the twentieth century, as a group of players from two of the country’s greatest sides colluded to fix a match. This episode was produced by James Parkinson as part of a collaboration with By Association, an award-winning narrative podcast about football, based in Australia. For a new audio documentary each month subscribe to By Association wherever you get your audio output, and learn more at the show's website - byassociation.audio If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Ten, like all issues of The Blizzard, is available on a pay-what-you-like basis from www.theblizzard.co.uk. Digital downloads cost as little as 1p each (RRP £3), while print versions are available from £6 + postage (RRP £12). You can also find us on the Kindle and Google Play stores.

Live in Edinburgh - 2017 (Part Two)  

Despite being on a podcast hiatus while we work on some exciting things behind the scenes we still found time to do a live recording of our Q&A event in Edinburgh last week. This is the second half of that discussion. Hosted by football writer Daniel Gray, the panel of Jonathan Wilson, Jonathan Northcroft and Jonathan Liew took questions from the audience, and discussed footballing matters of import.

Live in Edinburgh - 2017  

Despite being on a podcast hiatus while we work on some exciting things behind the scenes we still found time to do a live recording of our Q&A event in Edinburgh last week. This is the first half of that discussion. Hosted by football writer Daniel Gray, the panel of Jonathan Wilson, Jonathan Northcroft and Jonathan Liew took questions from the audience, and discussed footballing matters of import.

The Other Cup  

Now glance at the name “Europa League”. What information does it convey? It’s a league for… the abstract concept of Europe? For women who ride off on divine white bulls? Uefa can’t call the competition what it is, since “The Second-Tier Distribution of Teams as Apportioned by Mathematical Coefficients Cup” lacks a certain Heineken Factor." Episode Eighty of the Blizzard Podcast, and Brian Phillips's 'The Other Cup' from Issue Four, first published in March 2012. Uefa's second competition lacks a certain je ne sais quoi, and Brian's not only got the keen eye to skewer its problems, but also suggestions as to how it can be improved, from single elimination knock-out fixtures and neutral venues to add drama. We're taking a short break from the podcast for a couple of weeks, to work on Issue Twenty Five and some top secret behind-the-scenes projects at Blizzard HQ. We'll be back in early June with news of what we've been up to, but in the meantime please subscribe and give us a nice rating on iTunes, to help others find our little podcast. If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Twenty Two, like all issues of The Blizzard, is available on a pay-what-you-like basis from www.theblizzard.co.uk. Digital downloads cost as little as 1p each (RRP £3), while a print versions are available from £6 + postage. You can also find us on the Kindle and Google Play stores.

Live in Dublin #4 (Second Half)  

The second half of our Q&A event at Dublin’s Sugar Club held on Monday 24th April. The panel of Jonathan Wilson, Philippe Auclair and Iain Macintosh, hosted by Eoin McDevitt, take in a range of topics, from Liverpool’s underperformance against bottom half teams to big Sam’s tactics, whether you’d like to be too warm or too cold, and a good amount of Jose/Pep chat. There’s some time spent wondering how historically great managers would fare in the current climate, a dissection of Brendan Rodgers, one club players and non-celebration celebrations, and Jonathan goes into detail on how to counter the 3-4-2-1 formation. Finally, there’s some of the panel’s proudest journalistic moments and stories footballing hard men (featuring Jonathan’s well rehearsed John Kay story). Some of the comments made on the night were strictly off the record, so you’ll notice a couple of dips in the sound on occasion. This is intentional. To make sure that you don’t miss out on such ‘too hot for audio’ content in future, come along to one of our events. If you’re in Scotland then you’re in luck – we’ll be heading to Edinburgh on 25th May with Jonathan Wilson, Philippe Auclair and Jonathan Northcroft. For details and tickets, head to www.theblizzard.co.uk/events

Live in Dublin #4 (First Half)  

The first half of our Q&A event at Dublin’s Sugar Club held on Monday 24th April. The panel of Jonathan Wilson, Philippe Auclair and Iain Macintosh, hosted by Eoin McDevitt, take in a range of topics including the weekend’s Clasico between Real Madrid and Barca, along with a hefty amount of Messi/Ronaldo chat. There’s talk on dynastic teams, whether football is still fun, the benefits of being out of Europe for a title challenge, goings on at Leyton Orient as well as Argentinian underperformance and footballing time travel. If you’re based in Scotland and like what you hear we’ll be having another Q&A event in a similar vein at Edinburgh’s Signet Library on 25th May. For details, head to www.theblizzard.co.uk/events

44 Days, Later  

"Why Leeds? Well, apart from a rumoured offer from Kuwait, they were the only club that came in for him. Even then, Stein wasn’t the first choice to replace Jimmy Armfield at Elland Road. He wasn’t even second choice. Cussins initially offered the job to Lawrie McMenemy and his suggestion of John Giles was over-ruled by the Leeds board." Episode Seventy Eight of the Blizzard Podcast looks back on "44 Days, Later" by Lawrence Donegan, first published in Issue One back in June 2011. In it, he compares the short-lived tenures of two of football's greatest managers at Leeds United. Don Revie lasted no longer than Brian Clough in the Leeds dugout, and from his inauspicious start it's not hard to see why. "The optimism that greeted the Stein era at Elland Road didn’t disappear — his reputation as a manager and a man saw to that — but it was tempered by a couple of losses in the league, against Manchester City and Tottenham, and two indifferent draws against West Brom in the League Cup. There was very little transfer activity, evidence perhaps that the appeal of playing for Leeds, and for one of the greatest managers of the post-war era, was not what it once was." If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue One, like all issues of The Blizzard, is available on a pay-what-you-like basis from www.theblizzard.co.uk. Digital downloads cost as little as 1p each (RRP £3), while the print edition has sadly sold out. You can also find us on the Kindle and Google Play stores.

The Dawson's Creek Principle  

"Now that I’m fully aware of this principle, I look for its application whenever I’m watching football. Whenever a player scores a tremendous goal, I now count back two or three passes in the move to find out who might have been covertly responsible. It’s an approach that I wouldn’t have taken, had it not been for watching Dawson’s Creek; and so if any of you are willing to have a similar epiphany, I advise you — when no one’s looking — to pick up the DVD." In Episode Seventy Seven of the Blizzard Podcast we look back to 'The Dawson's Creek Principle' by Musa Okwonga, first published in Issue Three back in December 2011. Could it be that a US teen drama, essentially Adrian Mole if filmed by MTV, could explain a facet of modern football? Do you find yourself drawn to a team's 'star player' while all the while thinking that another, unheralded player should be taking all the plaudits and top billing? Does your side have a Pacey Witter to its Dawson Leery? If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Three, like all issues of The Blizzard, is available on a pay-what-you-like basis from www.theblizzard.co.uk. Digital downloads cost as little as 1p each (RRP £3), while the print edition has sadly sold out. You can also find us on the Kindle and Google Play stores.

Where Now For Iceland?  

"In some ways Iceland has been lucky. Had the country’s banks collapsed a few years earlier than they did in 2008, there would not have been the same level of investment in football and none of this would have been possible. But by then the pitches were already built, the indoor complexes well established, the coaches already at work. There is even an argument that the crash may have helped the national team by forcing clubs to rely on cheap young talent instead of expensive foreign signings." In Episode Seventy Six of the Blizzard Podcast we revisit "Where Now For Iceland?" by Paul Brown, originally published in Issue Twenty Two in September 2016. The feelgood story of an otherwise somewhat stilted Euro 2016, will the small island nation be able to capitalise on their success and head to Russia 2018, and tournaments beyond? If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Twenty Two, like all issues of The Blizzard, is available on a pay-what-you-like basis from www.theblizzard.co.uk. Digital downloads cost as little as 1p each (RRP £3), while a print versions are available from £6 + postage. You can also find us on the Kindle and Google Play stores.

Orban Planning  

"Only a month before the 8-1 defeat in Amsterdam, the government had announced its plan to host European Championship games in 2020... News of the grand seven-year plan was all over the state media for days. As in the Communist era, irreverent political jokes abounded: what’s the difference between Orbán and Platini? One’s an autocratic, ageing, overweight midfielder and the other one was European Footballer of the Year in 1984. "In truth, Orbán’s political destiny has been linked to football from the start. Some of the most powerful members of his government including the president and leader of the House — played in the same five-a-side team as the prime minister in the late 1980s." In Episode Seventy Five of the Blizzard Podcast we look back to 'Orbán Planning' by Dan Nolan, originally published in Issue Fourteen in September 2014. In the piece, he looks at the divisive Hungarian leader's relationship with football, which led to his government spending vast sums on stadium expansion while a significant proportion of his population lives in poverty. How can he explain the Ferenc Puskas Academy and its 3,500 seater stadium only 20m from his back-door in the small village of Felcsút? If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Fourteen, like all issues of The Blizzard, is available on a pay-what-you-like basis from www.theblizzard.co.uk. Digital downloads cost as little as 1p each (RRP £3), while a print versions are available from £6 + postage. You can also find us on the Kindle and Google Play stores.

Senior Citizen  

"At that point the Italian Marco Barlotta, 42, was named as the oldest player still in action. Robert had already turned 48 at that point. Determined to see his own name among the world’s tallest and shortest men, the biggest omelette and the longest beard, he requested his registration from the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF)and began the quest to gain recognition as the sport’s eldest of elder statesmen." In episode Seventy Four of the Blizzard Podcast we look back to Dan Edwards' 'Senior Citizen' from Issue Twenty, first published in March 2016, which details the remarkable life and career of a world record setting Uruguayan player. From early beginnings in Montevideo to a 12 year semi-professional career in the United States, joining his original club 40 years after making his debut to a failed rabona in front of Diego Maradona, Robert Carmona's is a career well lived. If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Twenty, like all issues of The Blizzard, is available on a pay-what-you-like basis from www.theblizzard.co.uk. Digital downloads cost as little as 1p each (RRP £3), while a print versions are available from £6 + postage. You can also find us on the Kindle and Google Play stores.

Identity Crisis  

"But while club identity clings on bravely in this fast-shifting world, rooted in local history and socio-politics as much as what’s happened on the pitch, team identity is at worst a myth; at best a luxury." In episode Seventy Three we look at "Identity Crisis" by Gary Hartley, from the upcoming Issue Twenty Four. For the fans of consistently competent teams that never win anything, perhaps aspiring to an enduring identity becomes unrealistically important. If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Twenty Four, like all issues of The Blizzard, is available on a pay-what-you-like basis from www.theblizzard.co.uk. Digital downloads cost as little as 1p each (RRP £3), while a print versions are available from £6 + postage. Issue Twenty Four will be released on Monday 13th March. You can also find us on the Kindle and Google Play stores.

A Sense Of Responsibility  

"There is a need, now more than ever, for a sense of responsibility. that’s true for readers and commenters, but it’s especially true for writers and editors. It matters less in football coverage than elsewhere, but standards are important whatever the field. Truth has never been a virtue in such need of being upheld." In episode Seventy Two of the Blizzard Podcast we look ahead to the upcoming Issue Twenty Four, and whet your appetite for it with Jonathan Wilson's editorial, 'A Sense of Responsibility'. In what he describes as the 'most political issue we've done', he looks at the role of the media in the current climate of post-truth, lying politicians and a mendacious media. "Perhaps it’s slightly ridiculous to be addressing such grand themes in a football magazine, but [this issue] is political in a direct sense in the discussions of the aftermath of the Gabonese elections, the rise of Asia and Yorkshire’s leaning towards Brexit, but also more indirectly, in David Stubbs’s ambivalent nostalgia for the calm of 1996 and a number of pieces that variously address issues of identity. That was not a conscious plan, but that it has turned out like this probably says something about the age in which we live." Issue Twenty Four is available to pre-order now from www.theblizzard.co.uk. It will be available to subscribers from 6th March, and will go on general pay-what-you-like download sale from 13th March.

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