At the end of the 2004/05 season Albion's sole surviving fanzine the Grorty Dick folded, meaning that for the first time in over 20 years West Bromwich Albion would no longer have a fanzine devoted to them.
Below we take a look at each of the
main fanzines to have appeared in that time.
If anyone can add any information to what is listed below, or has any corrections, then please contact us.
Scroll down or click on each title for more details.
Last Train To Rolfe Street
The Albion Chronicle
Almost a Chant
Starting off as the in-house magazine of the Halesowen Branch
Supporters Club, not only was Fingerpost the original West Bromwich Albion
fanzine, it was also one of the very first regular fanzine-style publications in
the Country. Branch member Simon Wright was the man in editorial charge during
the fledgling years of the fanzine's existence.
The first issue published was an A4, 15-sided, photocopied effort that appeared
in September 1983 with a cover-price of 20 pence. The A4 format was kept until
issue 21 when the switch to a more compact A5 size was made although the A4 size
did make a one-off return for the fanzine's 50th issue in December 1987.
Issue 46 saw Fingerpost
professionally printed for the first time and also the first real use of
adverts. The glossy 32 page issue sold for 40 pence.
Regular features in the fanzine
included first team and reserve team reports, provided in the early days by Mike
Thomas. There was naturally a lot of space dedicated to supporters club news
whilst the supporters club football team the Strollers were also heavily
featured. Away travel had it's own dedicated page, Dave Farr the man initially
before current Baggies Travel supremo Dave 'Mammoth' Holloway took over. There
was a regular look at fanzines around the country in the Alternative Football
Network section as well as a 'Blackmail Corner' in which embarrassing photos of
players were published. The Magical Mystery Tour took a look at forthcoming away
games whilst topical cartoons were also a regular inclusion, Glynis Harrison -
later to marry editor Simon Wright providing many of them.
The fanzine also did it's part
for good causes, helping to organise a benefit game for Everton fan Rob McMurray
after he was blinded during an incident with Albion fans in 1989, whilst profits
from issue 66 were donated towards the Hillsborough disaster fund. The fanzine
was also heavily involved in fighting Margaret Thatcher's I.D card scheme.
Amongst the regular contributors
to the fanzine were; 'Baggie Bert', Helen Bolton, Steve Carr, radio presenter
and former Hawthorns matchday announcer Malcolm Boyden, Stan Foggo and Adrian
Goldberg, now a TV and radio personality.
The fanzine retained close links
with the supporters club until 1989 and Issue 67 when an article by Adrian
Goldberg criticised the football club's attitude towards the ordinary fans as
well as the large increase in ticket prices for the 1989/90 season. The article
led to a fall out between the club, the supporters club and the fanzine editors
and as a result the fanzine was removed from the club shop and sellers banned
from selling inside the stadium. There were just two more issues produced by the
original editors before another fall out with the supporters club over articles
in the proposed issue 70 (which was due to be the last ever issue) led to the
editorial team leaving to set up Grorty Dick. Glenn Willmore, who would later be
the mastermind behind The Baggies newspaper took over the editorial reins for a
spell before the trio of Roger Burns, Neil Edmunds and Ian Edmunds took charge.
Fingerpost continued under the
stewardship of the supporters club committee for just over another two years
before the final split between the supporters club and the fanzine occurred. In
January 1992, and apparently feeling that the fanzine was making the supporters
club look bad in the eyes of the parent football club, the decision was made to
end all connections. Issue 87 saw the end of the famous fanzine.
Date: 1983 -
Known Editors: Simon
Wright, Steve Vine, Glenn Willmore, Roger Burns, Neil Edmunds and Ian Edmunds
Grorty Dick, started life in November 1989 due to
a fall out between the editorial team of Fingerpost fanzine and the supporters
club committee (see Fingerpost above).
The very first issue, containing most of the material meant for issue 70 of
Fingerpost, went on sale on November 25, 1989, priced 50p. Just 1000 copies of
the 28 page publication were printed and nowadays, like most early issues of the
fanzine, it is fairly difficult to obtain. The editorial team for that
initial issue consisted of Andy Beaglehole, Glynis Harrison, Simon Wright and
Steve Carr, the latter two would still be there 16 years later for the fanzine's
Containing many of the features and contributors from the already
well-established Fingerpost, and free from any interference from either the
supporters club or the parent club, Grorty Dick quickly became the number one
West Bromwich Albion fanzine. Issue 50 appeared in January 1996 whilst issue 100
hit the streets in March 2000.
Over the years the GD team campaigned for many causes. They were strongly
against the I.D card scheme which was proposed for football fans in the late
1980's, they helped with the Len Millard appeal - a fund-raising effort to
provide Albion's former captain with a motorised wheelchair, proceeds from issue
17 went to a mutiple sclerosis charity, funds were raised for Albion's youth
team and the GD team were also behind the fundraising for the Jeff Astle Memorial Gates. The fanzine's last fundraising effort was for the Dovedale
Day Centre, an effort that raised over £700.
May 2005 saw the last ever Grorty Dick published - issue number 151. The advent
of internet message boards and so somewhere else for fans to express their
opinions perhaps playing a part in it's demise. A sad end for what was one of
the very best fanzines around.
The name Grorty Dick was taken from a centuries old Black Country culinary dish!
Known Editors: Andy
Beaglehole, Simon Wright, Steve Carr, Glynis Harrison, Dawn Clennett, Terry
Wills and Martin Lewis
LAST TRAIN TO ROLFE STREET
In March 1992 the former editorial team of Fingerpost started a new
fanzine - Last Train To
Rolfe Street. They
had originally hoped to keep the Fingerpost name alive but were prevented from
doing so by the supporters club committee. Other names said to have been
considered for the fanzine's title were: The Road To Wednesbury, Blue and White
Peter, The Liquidator and Throstle Droppings!
Basically the Fingerpost in everything but name, the first issue of the "LTTRS"
appeared in March 1992, it was an A5, 36 page issue with a cover-price of 60
pence. The fanzine stayed A5 size until issue 14 when a switch to A4 was made.
The last issue, believed to be number 16, was published in early 1995.
Known Editors: Roger
Burns, Neil Edmunds and Ian Edmunds
THE ALBION CHRONICLE
The Albion Chronicle was a short lived fanzine lasting just the six issues under the editorship of James Holland. Issue 1 hit the streets in
October 1992, a 32 page A5 effort costing 50p. Originally, the issue published in
the summer of 1993 was due to be the last, but in March 1994 a 'Crisis Special'
was published focusing on the team's problems on and off the pitch.
Issues: 6 known
Known Editors: James
ALMOST A CHANT
Almost A Chant was a rarely seen and fairly short-lived fanzine
with ties to the West Bromwich Albion London Supporters Club. It emanated from
an address in Middlesex and the last issue known to this writer was number three
in 1992, although it is believed the fanzine was still being published the
Issues: 3 known
Known Editors: Paul
Mason, Nigel Pritchard, Steve Watts