The Blizzard

The Blizzard

Sweden

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

Decline And Fall  

"Created in the early 1960s by the then Private Eye editor Richard Ingrams and the cartoonist Barry Fantoni and cheered on by Peter Cook (who funded the satirical magazine in its early days and wrote editorials as elusive proprietor Lord Gnome), Knee exemplified the Eye’s eccentric, idiosyncratic view of British sport. " In Episode Sixty Two we feature 'Decline and Fall' by Paul Simpson, which charts the sad demise of one of Britain's premier non-existent managers - Neasden Town/Private Eye's Ron Knee. A device with which to lampoon the ludicrous goings-on on the nation's back pages, Knee and his cast of supporting characters (Doris Bonkers, Baldy Pevsner et al) took on a life of their own as the plucky underdogs crashed from one dispiriting defeat to the next. If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Twenty 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 a print versions are available from £6 + postage. You can also find us on the Kindle and Google Play stores.

Drowning In A Sea Of Irrelevance  

"There was a time when loudmouth megalomaniacs of questionable political beliefs were football managers and quietly eloquent, slightly bland men who avoided giving offence were politicians. With Gareth Southgate, at the time of writing, seemingly about to be appointed England manager and Donald Trump president-elect of the USA, it's hard not to think that at some point we got that a the wrong way round." Episode Sixty One of the Blizzard podcast features Jonathan Wilson’s editorial from the soon to be released Issue Twenty Three (available to subscribers from 5th December and on general pay-what-you-like download sale from 12th December). In it, he discusses the poppy farrago, the subverting of the usual world order and the death of the liberal consensus. We also take this opportunity to remind you that in order to support the podcast you can recommend us to a friend, leave us a rating on iTunes, or perhaps add us to your letter to Santa. Gift subscriptions and individual print editions make wonderful Christmas presents, so get hinting to your loved ones that you’d like a particular kind of white Christmas this year… If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Twenty 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 a print versions are available from £6 + postage. You can also find us on the Kindle and Google Play stores.

Before The Shopping Centre  

“Out of seeming nothing; Out of shadow and gloom; Out of a hollowed vacuum Came something to keep us in tune. Something to interest and please us; Something we call our own; Something we almost worship; Loving beyond control. Boys by practice and training; Diligently keeping fit; Men by planning and scheming Built it bit by bit. Loyally working together; Faithful to their scheme; Out of little or nothing Came the champion Celtic team.” In Episode Sixty of the Blizzard Podcast we revisit ‘Before the Shopping Centre’ by Conor Heffernan from Issue Seventeen, first published in June 2015. Founded in 1891, at a time of political upheaval in both the North and South of Ireland, Belfast Celtic, the ‘Grand Old Team’, were far more than a football club for the people of the Falls Road. Ultimately, though, the sectarianism that they tried to combat by bringing together both Protestants and Catholics was their ultimate undoing. If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Seventeen, 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 Waiting Game  

“In the place of the regular pressure to perform is the more diffuse but arguably more terrifying prospect of having to come on, at a moment’s notice, with the certain knowledge that your teammates, your manager and your fans are all thinking, “Oh, no.”" In Episode Fifty Nine of the Blizzard Podcast we look back on 'The Waiting Game' by Andi Thomas from Issue Eleven, first published back in December 2013. Goalkeepers have always been taken to be a funny breed, yet the dedicated back-up (your Mike Pollitts, your Pegguy Arphexads, your Stuart Taylors) are something else entirely. What motivates a footballer to spend so much of their footballing career not actually being a footballer? If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Eleven, 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.

Accidental Hero  

“It was a relief to see the team sheet and to find out that Beardsley was not there,” said Lenny Lawrence, the Charlton manager, “Instead they started with somebody we didn’t know. The relief turned very quickly into sheer horror. They set Ronnie on us and he tormented us that day.” In Episode Fifty Eight of the Blizzard Podcast we revisit 'Accidental Hero' by Shaul Adar from Issue Eighteen, first published back in September 2015. In it, he looks at one of the unsung heroes from Liverpool's last title winning side of 1989-90: supersub Ronnie Rosenthal. Signed on loan until the end of the season to provide a spark to a Liverpool side who were flagging under the weight of the number of games they were playing, as well as the psychological trauma of dealing with the Hillsborough tragedy, the Israeli provided a much needed injection of pace and aggression up front, and contributed with some key goals and assists to help Liverpool lift their 18th and most recent league title. If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Eighteen, 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.

Hearts And Minds  

"In the past, the football of results tended to refer to a physical or cynical style but the recent success of Spain awoke a new realisation: technically excellent football could be dull. In decades to come, as the specifics of their triumphs fade into the yellowed pages of history, how will Spain’s era of tiki-taka dominance be remembered?" In Episode Fifty Seven we bring you 'Hearts and Minds' by Greg Johnson, first published in Issue Thirteen ahead of the 2014 World Cup. Drawing parallels between Spain's somewhat sterile dominance of major tournaments around the turn of the first decade of the 21st century with Lennox Lewis's spell at the top of heavyweight boxing's tree, he asks whether Vicente del Bosque's all-conquering side, like Lewis, the last undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, run the risk of going down in history as unloved champions. If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Thirteen, 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.

Serie A V The Football League  

"Hysen, Careca, Southall, Van Basten, Lentini... Even football’s most diligent historians might find it difficult to fathom how these 13 seconds of action were possible. How were these players on the same pitch at the same time? "This was no charity match, nor a friendly played for dubious benefits in a country with a questionable human rights record." In Episode Fifty Six we revisit 'Serie A v The Football League' by Tom Collomosse, originally published in Issue Twenty in March 2016. He looks back to the days when leagues would field genuinely competitive sides against each other in representative fixtures, and asks whether the process ought not be reinstated to settle the tedious 'Premier League v La Liga' arguments. 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.

What's A Vote Worth?  

"São Tomé eventually lost their Fifa vote and were dropped from the rankings... signs of international activity remain an apparition as Brazilian journalist Rafael Maranhão found on visiting São Tomé. Few journalists make the lengthy trip. Surprised at this interloper, the new FSF board told Maranhão that a friendly with Equatorial Guinea was scheduled for July 2011. That was a surprise to the Equatorial Guinea Football Federation, who knew nothing about a fixture that never took place." In Episode Fifty Five we look back to the halycon days of Fifa corruption in the early part of the decade, with Steve Menary's 'What's a Vote Worth?' from Issue Three, first published in December 2011. While Mohammed bin Hamman was eventually banned from Fifa for attempting to bribe the Caribbean Football Union with $40,000 for his vote to oust Sepp Blatter, the article focuses on the minor nations who have benefitted from Fifa's Goal and Financial Assistance Programmes. Even at the bottom of the rankings, these funds are the source of much debate, with many nations simply pocketing the cheques and doing the bare minimum in terms of competition to retain their place within Fifa. 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 a print versions are available from £6 + postage. You can also find us on the Kindle and Google Play stores.

My Name Is Ally MacLeod And I Am A Winner  

"Had Scotland contrived to bring home the World Cup, then perhaps the nationalist cause would have gathered even greater momentum. As it was, enthusiasm melted away like snow in the summer sunshine. When the government held a referendum on Scottish devolution the following March, only one in three people voted for it." In Episode Fifty Four we look back at "My Name is Ally MacLeod and I am a Winner" by Dominic Sandbrook, first published in Issue Five in June 2012. It looks back on the summer of 1978, the feverish anticipation of the Scottish squad as genuine contenders at the Argentina World Cup, and the ensuing debacle on the pitch, through the hubris of the Caledonian Clough, Ally MacLeod. Did the result help derail the course of Scottish nationalism? Could a different result on the pitch have changed the course of the referendum the following year? 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.

Do You Know The Way?  

"Towards the end of the game I began to wonder how many of the devoted fans we had met would be able to name the Earthquake’s starting XI. At times the Ultras reminded me of Orsino from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, more in love with the idea of being in love than with the object of his desire." In Episode Fifty Three we look at "Do You Know The Way?" by Sam Wetherell, published in the newly-released Issue Twenty Two in September 2016. In the article he witnesses first hand the behaviours of arguably the most passionate set of MLS fans in North American - the San Jose Ultras - while also musing on the differences in supporter culture between the US and UK/Europe, and the growth of ultra culture in American soccer. 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.

The Blizzard Live At The National Football Museum (2nd Half)  

The second half of the Blizzard's live Q&A event held at the National Football Museum as part of the Manchester Football Writing Festival on Thursday 1st September. Featuring a panel of Jonathan Wilson, Jack Pitt-Brooke and Philippe Auclair, hosted by Rory Smith. The panel took questions from the audience and Twitter on a range of subjects across two halves of chat including thoughts on the transfer window, doping in football, the homogeneity of goalnets and massive journalistic clangers that they'd dropped. Apologies for the poor sound quality - we were unable to take a direct feed from the microphones and so had to bodge a compromise, and would rather bring you some audio than none at all. Part two is better - honest. Don’t forget that Issue Twenty Two of the Blizzard – something of a Euros special – is available now to subscribers, and will be released on a general pay-what-you-like download basis on 12th September. If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. All issues of The Blizzard are 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.

The Blizzard Live At The National Football Museum (1st Half)  

The first half of the Blizzard's live Q&A event held at the National Football Museum as part of the Manchester Football Writing Festival on Thursday 1st September. Featuring a panel of Jonathan Wilson, Jack Pitt-Brooke and Philippe Auclair, hosted by Rory Smith. The panel took questions from the audience and Twitter on a range of subjects across two halves of chat including thoughts on the transfer window, doping in football, the homogeneity of goalnets and massive journalistic clangers that they'd dropped. Apologies for the poor sound quality - we were unable to take a direct feed from the microphones and so had to bodge a compromise, and would rather bring you some audio than none at all. Part two is better - honest. Don’t forget that Issue Twenty Two of the Blizzard – something of a Euros special – is available now to subscribers, and will be released on a general pay-what-you-like download basis on 12th September. If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. All issues of The Blizzard are 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.

The Grim Result Of Modern Economics  

"Every year, it feels, [the European Super League] comes closer. If access to it starts to be determined on such criteria as “historical merit”, it becomes a de facto franchise system and the beautiful sense of organic growth and one enormous interconnected pyramid that has sustained European football for so long will be lost." In a short Episode 51 we bring you the Editor's Note from the upcoming Issue Twenty Two. Later this week we hope (technological incompetence not withstanding) to bring you a full episode of audio from our Q&A event at the Manchester Football Writing Festival, where a panel of Jonathan Wilson, Rory Smith, Philippe Auclair and Jack Pitt-Brooke will be answering your questions on a range of footballing topics. Issue Twenty Two is available to pre-order now from www.theblizzard.co.uk, and is released on 5th September (12th September on general, pay-what-you-like download sale).

The Conversion Of St Pauli  

"At St Pauli, they refrain from playing music or advertisements during this quarter of an hour so that the fans can sing their songs undisturbed. Songs such as “No one wins at the Millerntor,” meaning that even if the visiting team should happen to score more goals than the home side, FC St Pauli will never be defeated, can never be destroyed." To mark our fiftieth episode, we offered up the chance for our listeners to choose an article. One of the most requested pieces, including the lucky winner James O'Donovan on Facebook, was Uli Hesse's 'The Conversion of St Pauli?' from our pilot issue, Issue Zero. Europe's (the world's?) most noted counter-cultural club, deeply anti-racist and anti-violent, the story of St Pauli is down to much more than punk football and the skull and crossbones. They've come back from the brink of bankruptcy on at least two occasions, and Uli talks about the meaning of St Pauli, the district as well as the club, with some of the key figures from its past and present. Head to www.theblizzard.co.uk/events for news of our next Q&A - at the Manchester Football Writing Festival on 1st September. If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Zero. 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 limited edition print version is available for £12 + postage. You can also find us on the Kindle and Google Play stores.

In Memoriam  

"The stairwell where they were crushed looks horrifi cally tiny. The gates that had eventually sheered away from their concrete pillars still lay discarded on the floor 12 months on. It looked as if it had happened yesterday. I take some pictures but I’m chased out of the stadium by a security guard shouting that I am an Israeli spy." In Episode Forty Nine we look back at "In Memoriam" by James Montague, first published in Issue Eleven in December 2013. Set against the backdrop of the Egpytian revolution, 72 Al Ahly fans were murdered in the Port Said stadium disaster, causing the suspension of the league and a long campaign for justice, all the while Al Ahly tried to win the African Champions League to honour their fallen fans. Head to www.theblizzard.co.uk/events for news of our next Q&A - at the Manchester Football Writing Festival. Also note - next week's Episode Fifty is a 'listener's choice' - email, tweet or Facebook us your suggestions for an article you'd like to appear on the podcast. If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Eleven, 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.

La Renaissance (with Philippe Auclair)  

True to type, France’s 1978 World Cup campaign was a shambles. The tone was set before the actual tournament by a tragicomic episode which must rank among the most bizarre in the history of the competition. On the morning of May 23, driving with his wife to Bordeaux, 24 hours before his team was scheduled to leave France on a Concorde flight, Michel Hidalgo was the victim of a kidnapping attempt In Episode Forty Eight we return to ‘La Renaissance' by Philippe Auclair, first published in Issue Fourteen in September 2014. We spoke to Philippe ahead of our Q&A in Dublin's Sugar Club back in March to get a more rounded view of the article (apologies for the noisy hotel bar) as he fills us in on an extraordinary period in Les Bleus' history - from the appointment of an unheralded manager via a botched, politically motivated kidnapping on the eve of the tournament through the farce of playing Hungary in a borrowed under-19s kit. And yet it was the jumping-off point for a renaissance in French football, as the great generation of Platini, Six, Rocheteau, Tresor et al came together to discover the French style, and gain the vital tournament experience that would stand them in good stead to win the home Euros only a few years later. 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 fromwww.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 Man Who Ate His Hat  

"[The BBC's] first adventure into live football came on 16 September 1937 when the London service from Alexandra Palace, transmitting to nearly 100 viewers in the Muswell Hill area, ran the following packed schedule: 3pm Fancy That!; 3.30pm British Movietone News; 3.40pm Football at the Arsenal; 3.55pm Cartoon; 4pm Close. Obviously what everyone really wants to know is exactly what the hell sort of programme Fancy That! was. But we’ll concentrate on the football, a 15-minute live display of training at Arsenal. Hmm." In Episode Forty Seven we look back to ‘The Man Who Ate His Hat' by Scott Murray, first published in Issue Two in September 2011, which charts the first football commentary cock-up in only the second live broadcast of the game in the UK. Lieutenant Commander Tommy Woodroofe was the 1930's answer to Dimbleby and Barry Davies rolled in to one, at ease commentating on state occasions and all manner of sports. But one day's drinking ahead of a naval regatta, and an ill-advised promise during the 1938 FA Cup final offer a great insight into the character one of the most recongnisable voices in pre-war Britain. If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Two, like all issues of The Blizzard, is available on a pay-what-you-like basis fromwww.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.

Why The Away Goals Rule Must Be Abolished  

“Europe seemed much bigger in the early 1970s. Iberia was governed by fascist dictators. There were two Germanys, West and East. With no rolling news, Blackberries nor Twitter, a plausible sit-com episode could be written based on the Likely Lads avoiding knowledge of the result of an England match for half a day. Europe’s airlines were almost exclusively national carriers. Countries had unique coins and banknotes. Speedy boarding was an oxymoron, speedy disembarkation even more so; you needed visas to cross most borders.” In Episode Forty Six we look back at ‘Why the Away Goals Rule Must Be Abolished’ by Ian Hawkey, first published in our pilot edition Issue Zero in March 2011. He looks at the ‘historical anachronism’ that was originally brought in to encourage attacking play away from home, but thanks to the changes in the modern game now has the effect of encouraging defensive performances from home sides. Arsene Wenger and Jorge Valdano, among others, agree with Ian, as he explores the changes in the modern landscape (travel, the fall of the iron curtain, tactical shifts) that have seen the number of away wins in Europe’s top competition double in little over 3 decades. If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Zero, like all issues of The Blizzard, is available on a pay-what-you-like basis fromwww.theblizzard.co.uk. Digital downloads cost as little as 1p each (RRP £3), while a limited edition print version is available from £12 + postage. You can also find us on the Kindle and Google Play stores.

The Birth Of The Fan  

“We were sorry to hear the offensive shouts of one ‘Mackintoshed stranger’, which, however, were almost entirely drowned out by the universal supporters of the Druryites.” In Episode Forty Five we revisit Paul Brown’s ‘The Birth of the Fan’ from Issue Thirteen, which looks back at historical sources to review the birth of football fandom itself. While our modern proclivities have been passed down from father or grandfather, there was a time when no such familial link existed. From the early 'mob' games between local villages, through the founding of the first works’ teams and the formation of professional football, the role played by the supporter changed as rapidly as the game itself. If you have any feedback comments or suggestions email podcast@theblizzard.co.uk or find us on Twitter @blzzrd. Issue Thirteen, like all issues of The Blizzard, is available on a pay-what-you-like basis fromwww.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.

The Kennedy Conundrum  

“Well, I can say hand on heart that I went for the ball — it’s just that I caught him with my elbow. And what made it worse is that his actual tooth stuck in my elbow. I wouldn’t mind but it was a big one, like a fuckin’ horse’s tooth. I suppose that if that happened in the Premier League now, they’d have a fuckin’ field day over it — the fuckin’ cameras would be right on top of it.” In Episode Forty Four we look back at 'The Kennedy Conundrum' by Paul Doyle from Issue Three, telling the undocumented side of an unheralded international tournament win for the Republic of Ireland, and the reasons behind Mick Kennedy's sparingly short international career. 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 print versions are available from £6 + postage (RRP £12). You can also find us on the Kindle and Google Play stores.

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