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

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.

Chaos Theory  

"We tend to trace the route of a goal back to the opening of the move – or at most, the breakdown of the previous one – when in truth its foundations stretch back to kick-off and the first decisions made by every player on the pitch. The reason Götze scored that goal was no more because of Schürrle’s trickery or Götze’s skill, as it was an Argentinian player’s decision to make a back-pass rather than a clearance in the second minute." Episode Sixty Five of the Blizzard Podcast looks back at ‘Chaos Theory’ by Alex Keble, first published in Issue Nineteen in December 2015. An article which poses many questions, not least whether there’s any point in analysing football from a journalistic or coaching perspective if chaos theory truly applies to matches, it looks at the deterministic nature of the choices we make. Touching on the illusion (or otherwise) of free will, Alex asks whether any of that matters if we simply consider the artistry and beauty of the game itself. 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.

Wenger, L'Auteur  

"Yet there is maybe another reason that Wenger’s own cinematic narrative increasingly resembles a hubristic Greek tragedy rather than a story of redemption. Just as Sonny Corleone’s death scene in The Godfather no longer shocks, the methods which gave Wenger such an edge in the mid-90s are no longer so unique. Every team now applies science to their preparation; many others possess youth systems as productive. And while it’s open to debate whether more teams play better football than Arsenal, the likes of Barcelona have complemented it with a new level of craft." In Episode Sixty Four of the Blizzard Podcast, we look back on Wenger, l’Auteur by Miguel Delaney, first published in Issue Two in September 2011 (as a listener’s choice - @ArsenalWay_ on Twitter, if you’re asking. And yes, we get the last episode number wrong at the beginning, too; it’s been a busy week at Blizzard HQ and we’re very tired.) In it, Miguel looks at what Arsene Wenger might learn from the Hollywood directors’ school of the 1970s – if he had any interests outside football, that is. Have Wenger’s initial successes at Highbury led to him becoming over-indulged at the Emirates in much the same was Michael Cimino and Francis Ford Coppola were by the studios in Hollywood after their early Oscar-winners? Has he failed to learn the lessons of adapting his original ‘Invincibles’ squad, rather than pursuing idealistic perfection? 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 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 Death Of Mystery  

"That is what has been lost: identity. Individuality, tradition, difference: all of the things that once made football such a gloriously varied menagerie. Football is a homogenous game now. Everywhere you look, it looks the same. Gone are the days when Dinamo Tbilisi might be the best side Liverpool face on the way to a European Cup final.” In Episode Sixty Three we revisit ‘The Death of Mystery’ by Rory Smith, first published in Issue Ten back in 2013. In it, he looks at the globalisation (and homogenisation) of the game, and how the excitement from the unknown is being lost. Pockets still remain, in Africa and Mexico, but by and large the game is coming together and we’re all playing the same way. 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 a print versions are available from £6 + postage. You can also find us on the Kindle and Google Play stores.

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.

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