Tuesday, January 9, 2007

What to Read and a Friendly Little Threat to David Beckham

Continuing in my goal of helping Americans better appreciate and enjoy the most beautiful game, I thought this week I would write about some of the magazines and periodicals that are fairly easily acquired in the United States that cover the sport of football. This is, obviously, not an exhaustive list of football magazines; it is simply a summary of magazines that are easily available here in the states. Most of the items listed below can be found in major American bookstores like Barnes & Noble and Borders. Some, however, are more easily found than others, and all tend to be available much later here in the States than they are in England or wherever they were originally created. So generally you tend to read fairly old news.

One final note, although this is obvious: you can subscribe to these magazines, and pretty much any other magazine you want here in the States, but subscriptions from Europe can be expensive, as is buying the magazines one at a time. Sometimes it might make more sense to pick and choose than to subscribe.


For my money the best football magazine in the business. Covers the game on a world-wide scale, (with an admitted focus on England and Europe) with the best writers and the best photography. Some of their features (like the monthly feature story “More than a Game”) are consistently excellent. Always has strong interviews with players and personalities from the game. If I could only get one football magazine, FourFourTwo would be it. It’s in most major bookstores in the US, but very expensive. It’s also worth it.

World Soccer

Probably the best magazine in America that truly covers the world game. Plenty of good info here that is sparsely covered in other magazines, including coverage of leagues in Asia, Africa and South America. Excellent coverage as well of national tournaments like the World Cup. It’s a less expensive magazine and readily available here in the states.


For the follower of the English Premier League. Glossy, “Tiger Beat”-esqe magazine that’s low on real content but high on pretty pictures and fluff interviews with English stars. On one hand, Shoot gets interviews with anyone they want; on the other, it is because they ask questions like “What music are you listening to right now?” and “What brand cell phone do you use?” If you truly want to know if Steven Gerrard is as good as his reputation, or perhaps a little overrated, this is not the magazine for you. However, if you want to know which female television celebrities Steven Gerrard thinks are cute, than this is your magazine. Inexpensive and easily accessible in the states.

When Saturday Comes

Oftentimes great magazine that mostly covers the English game. Very strong writing, and the magazine as a whole has a very strong and unified voice. Often focuses on lower leagues and teams, providing information that we otherwise couldn’t get here in the states. The magazine’s anti-capitalist, anti-commercialization stance is often appreciated, at least by me, but sometimes gets frustrating. English soccer is not going back to 1860, to the days of amateur players and no advertising. Sometimes I wish they could just let it go and focus on what they do really well, which is writing about the game. Inexpensive and often tough to find here in the States.

Calcio Italia

Bills itself as “The magazine for English-speaking fans of Italian football.” Fun magazine that focuses on a country that is not well covered here in the states. Good photography and the writing is okay, although they often throw in a bit of fluff. Still the best place to get information on Italy. I wish they published something like this for La Liga. Calcio Italia is inexpensive and easily found (it seems even more so since Italy won the World cup) but often dreadfully late. Not the place to get up-to-date information.

Organizational Magazines

Organizations like FIFA and UEFA both publish glossy magazines that can be found here in the states. Although they contain some exclusive interviews, they are basically house magazines that are promoting a product. They are often, in my mind, expensive and not worth the money.

Club Magazines

Some of the giant clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea publish their own glossy club magazines which can be had here in the states. Similar to above, only they promote a single club. Again, it is a good place to get exclusive interviews, but certainly not vital unless you are a huge supporter of that particular team. That being said, if Real Madrid or Fiorentina produced something like these in English, I would probably buy it.


There are other magazines that you can get in the states (including Match) but these are harder to find. If you feel I’ve missed something obvious and would like me to cover it, drop me a line and I’ll check it out.

One more quick thing for today: Apparently Real Madrid has “warned” David Beckham (according to ESPN Soccernet) that they want the contract thing settled by next week. Obviously I like Beckham and like Real Madrid, so I would like to see him sign. However, “warning” your employees does not seem like a skillful negotiating tactic; this may be the surest sign yet that Becks is on the way out. We will have to wait and see, although there is a good chance this will still not be resolved by next week.

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