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

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.

Slaggy Island  

"South Bank lies three miles east of Middlesbrough. Locally they call it Slaggy Island in honour of the ring of spoil heaps that once cut it off from the outside world. It’s not as glamorous as that nickname makes it sound. South Bank was the home of the Smith’s Dock shipyard, of Bolckow Vaughan and Dorman Long steelworks, clusters of iron foundries, warrens of brickyards. Blast furnaces, smelters, rolling mills and fabrication sheds converted ore to pig iron, iron to steel. They shaped it, cut it and shipped it out. Through most of the 20th century Slaggy Islanders lived their lives under a cloud of bitter smog. You had to catch a bus to see the sun." In episode Seventy One we revisit "Slaggy Island" by Harry Pearson, first published in Issue Nineteen in December 2015. In it he waxes lyrical on the neighbourhood of South Bank in Middlesbrough, which has produced no fewer than 100 professional players from its working class ranks. If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Nineteen, 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.

The Centre-back And The Kitchen Knife  

"I think I was looking for something to replace the adrenaline rush, the buzz you get, that feeling of really being alive. You get used to performing in front of thousands every week and when that’s gone then suddenly there’s a huge mental void which becomes almost impossible to fill. At least for me. I just sat at home or did what I wanted to do, go on holiday, whatever. It became a vicious circle for me where there was more and more alcohol and I started trying this and that, and suddenly you’re in trouble." Episode Seventy of the Blizzard Podcast looks back at Lars Sivertsen's interview with Claus Lundekvam, 'The Centre-back and the Kitchen Knife' from Issue Five, first published in June 2012. In it, the former Southampton and Norway international details his struggle with drink and drugs upon his retirement from the game. Chasing the buzz of performing in front of thousands, and with ready access to booze and cocaine, his life spiralled out of control and he was on the verge of a one way trip to Rio to end his life. At his worst, he was fighting off the police and ambulance service, and hunting in his garden for imaginary paparazzi with a large kitchen knife; unscrewing the light bulbs in his house because he thought they were cameras. In a frank conversation, he goes into detail about his experiences as a Premier League player in the 90s and early part of the twenty-first century, and how he managed to regain his life after a visit to the Sporting Chance clinic. If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Five, 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.

But You Can't Change..  

"You are among the football hacks summoned to Downing Street by Margaret Thatcher. She has the eyes of a tawny owl and clearly terrifies her ministers, who dance attendance. She goes around the table, asking each visitor what they would do to solve football hooliganism. You might as well quote Afghani poetry, because her mind is made up before anyone opens their mouth. In her world, football fans are second-class citizens who have forfeited the right to trust and respect. They deserve to be caged, treated with contempt." In Episode Sixty Nine of the Blizzard Podcast we look back at ‘But You Can’t Change…’ by Mike Calvin, first published in Issue Eight in March 2013. In it, he writes back to his teenaged self, setting out the life that would become his. From his early roots as a ballboy at Watford to meeting the Prime Minister, and ultimately committing the cardinal football fan sin of changing his allegiances, Calvin looks at a boy’s world through a man’s eyes, and passes on some of life’s lessons. If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Eight, 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.

Meanwhile Back In Sunderland  

"Back home, the locals closed up their shops and descended upon those neighbours who were fortunate enough to own colour televisions. Local boys, accompanied by a dog with a rosette pinned to its collar, had a kickabout in a side street within a few yards of Roker Park and large groups began clustering around Vision Hire on Fawcett Street for an impromptu street party. When the game kicked off at 3.00pm, the town was deserted but for a solitary policeman trudging a lonely beat. " In Episode Sixty Eight of the Blizzard Podcast we revisit 'Meanwhile Back in Sunderland' by John Spurling, first published in Issue Nine in June 2013. In the article, he examines the Tyne Tees TV documentary shot in the city on the day of the Black Cats' Wembley triumph, which serves not only as a reminder of the club's great day out but a valuable piece of history on 70s Britain. The documentary, as mentioned in the episode, is available on YouTube - http://bit.ly/2jxpwOf. If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Nine, 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.

The Dictionary Of Received Ideas  

"JOHN TERRY (Updated, 2012 edition) Refer to his “strong personality” and “bravery”. LA MASIA The incubator of Spain’s golden age. Point out that it means “the farmhouse”. LEADS 2-0 is the most dangerous. LEFT FOOT The only human extremity capable of becoming "cultured”. LITERALLY Figuratively." Thanks to Brian Phillips and Episode Sixty Seven of the Blizzard Podcast, you too can learn to speak like a pundit. In the 'Dictionary of Received Ideas', first published in Issue Seven in December 2012, he brings to life the meaning behind the words uttered by our favourite TV and radio-based talking heads. After years of study "mostly conducted from a crouching position behind the rearmost seat of Mark Lawrenson’s Nissan Qashqai", we bring you the first definitive manual on how to think like a pundit. If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Seven, 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.

Care for the Community  

"But what if football rethought its relationship with TV? What if you could come up with a plan that would, at once, revitalise local support, help smaller clubs market themselves better, boost attendances and, yes, increase the size of the pie for everyone? In Episode Sixty Six of the Blizzard Podcast, we revisit Gabriele Marcotti's thought experiment 'Care for the Community' from Issue Six, first published in September 2013. In it, he posits that for the betterment of the game throughout the UK a radical rejig of football's relationship with TV is needed. Through regionalising broadcasts, reducing the number of Premier League games on national TV and ensuring that clubs only get to appear on TV, and thus benefit from the money that comes with, by selling out their stadiums, Gab's proposal would provide a shot in the arm for clubs throughout the country. To do it, though, we have to throw out a few ideas that the game considers 'sacrosanct', and it would take a leap of imagination (as well as some negotiation). Let's see if you agree with him. If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Six, 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.

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