Sunderland football fanzine firm in line for award

Richy Duggan and Emma Crow from the Hendon Young People's Project  with Mal Robinson (centre) of the  73Fanzine magazine

Richy Duggan and Emma Crow from the Hendon Young People's Project with Mal Robinson (centre) of the 73Fanzine magazine

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SUNDERLAND fanzine publisher Media73 is up for the cup.

The firm, which publishes retro football magazines for Sunderland, Glasgow Rangers and England, has been shortlisted for its innovative approach to publishing in the National Media Pioneer Awards.

Media73 takes a unique approach with guest editors and special publications.

Editor-in-chief Mal Robinson said: “Media73 Ltd was formed in January 2011 to handle business transactions for what was, back then, a hobby of writing and producing a retro football magazine for Sunderland AFC, entitled Seventy3, the year of the club’s famous FA Cup win.

“Fast forward a little over two years and the business now has one full-time role, two directors, one investor, a writing team of 20-plus, a sales team of 30-plus, a weekly reach of 20,000 in social media circles and four magazines to its portfolio, with the promise of more expansion.”

This season alone has witnessed the company produce two world firsts. Issue 9 not only included a pull-out section dedicated to Sunderland’s previous cup win, complete with rebranding to Thirty7, it also featured a posthumous guest editor, complete with signature.

Record goalscorer Bobby Gurney had written a series of notes on his time at the club in 1990, which were edited and adapted by Mal to create a new interview.

The success of Seventy2 north of the border brought about the second of Media73’s world firsts.

“With a number of requests to produce magazines in the same formats for other clubs and other sports, we produced Twenty13: The League Cup Final Magazine in a space of two weeks with two people on the project team,” said Mal.

Twenty13, produced for the final between Bradford City and Swansea City, followed the guest editor format, with the magazine split in half with two front covers, one for each team. “It became the world’s first football fanzine produced solely for a cup final, featuring both sides of the final.”