RAHEEM STERLING IS A NATIONAL TREASURE

Words by Neil Boardman

I am not a Manchester City fan. To be quite honest, I am not a huge fan of the English national side, either. Therefore, many would say, I have no reason to actually like Raheem Sterling. However, every time I watch Raheem Sterling play he reminds me why, as he should everyone, football is so great. I am a Raheem Sterling fan.

The way Sterling carries himself throughout every game is a thing that the majority of us, can only dream of. The 24 year old can pick out the impossible pass, Dribble through a non-existent gap and come up with a goal from absolutely nowhere. He should be the thing of dreams to the English press and fans all around the world. But he isn’t.

This article does not aim to try and explain why Sterling is a regular victim of abuse from fans and headline writers, mainly because I don’t have the answer to that question. I can not even begin to try and explain some of the abuse that Raheem Sterling receives, on the daily. To me, it makes no sense whatsoever and I hope that everyone reading this agrees with that statement.

Raheem Sterling helps remind me of the things I love about football, however, the abuse he received in England’s friendly against Montenegro reminds me of the things I dislike about the beautiful game. We all know what happened and I am sure that some people, out there, are brushing it off – claiming it happens all the time; and they’re right. But it shouldn’t be the case. Gareth Southgate insisted that the FA will putting in a report of the incident, which is good, for this incident, but it shouldn’t need to be the case at any point. Football is one of the only things in the world that helps bring people together, yet the sport is stopping itself being a better means of peace, from the inside.

In my opinion, Raheem Sterling handles it all very well. He lets the football do the talking, and what a chat he puts on. However, the point is he shouldn’t have to ‘handle’ it, at all. Whether Sterling is a victim of racist abuse or not, he will still be one of the best footballers in the world. But, the point is, this is going on around one of the best players in the world, I do not care to imagine what it is like for some minority players, who aren’t on Sterling’s level. It is time the governing bodies of the sport make a stand. It is 2019, for god’s sake.

Not only, is it time to kick racism out of stadiums but out of the press to. Every other week, we see a new headline from one of Britain’s right wing press outlets condemning Sterling for something that tends to be nothing. If you are of the opinion that Sterling is subject to the same abuse that any footballer is then you’re wrong, I’m afraid.

I will take you back to the ‘tattoo’ saga that was a massive talking point amongst the press, pre-Russia 2018. Sterling was criticised, day after day, in the press for his choice to get a new tattoo on his leg. HIS LEG. Sterling came out and gave reasoning for his choice to get the tattoo, a matter close to his heart, yet was still ridiculed for his choice. Should this have been England golden boys Kane, Maguire or Dier, I am 99% positive the right wing media would not have given the story the same kind of attention. Wonder why?

Fast forward a few months and Sterling was yet against subject to vile abuse, this time from so-called ‘fans’ at Chelsea. The lasting image from the incident wasn’t the abhorrent insults being hurled towards Sterling, or the inexplicable hatred on the faces of the culprits. It was Sterling’s defiance, laughing in the face of his abusers. Something he continues to do so, time and time again. It was Sterling who got the last laugh again, a few months down the line, smashing home the winning penalty in the Carabao Cup final. Who was it against? Chelsea.

Montenegro is just the latest example of Sterling using his immense skill to laugh in the face of his critics. His perfectly-timed run, confident touch and ice-cold finish into the bottom corner was a big-middle finger to every idiot in that stadium guilty of abusing England’s players that night. His celebration, cupping his hands to ears as if to say ‘Is that all you’ve got?’ was typical of the man. Taking abuse in his stride and using it to up his game. Admirable.

I can’t give any kind of explanation for why Sterling is treated the way he is. To me, he is almost a perfect footballer, a joy to watch on the pitch and role model off it. Sterling is a national treasure. It is about time he is treated like one.

Keep smiling and dancing Raheem. The people that matter are on your side.

We intend to create a more in depth article on this subject matter for ourJOURNAL. But after the events of the England vs Montenegro game, we feel like it was important to kick start the investigation now.

TOP 5 KITS: WOMEN’S WORLD CUP 2019

Words by Panenka Magazine

The Women’s world Cup is just around the corner and we are very much looking forward to it. With the popularity of Women’s football on the rise, this tournament has the early credentials to be something special.

Of course, we all know, for an international tournament to be considered ‘something special’ it’s not just about what is happening on the field. A World Cup is about atmosphere, the feel and buzz around the tournament. And, to people like us, it is pretty important that we can see some nice shirts to go along with it all. Here is our favourite five kits that have been released for the 2019 Women’s World Cup:

Germany Home Kit

That vintage German 1990 World Cup design, just can’t knock it, can you? A nice redesign of one of the greatest football shirts EVER, makes for an obvious entry onto this list.

Brazil Away Kit

Brazil and the colour yellow is something that will ALWAYS go hand in hand. However, the Canarinho’s are also familiar with the colour blue. Brazil’s love affair with the blue away kit is something that it’s hard not to be a fan of – they tend to be really bloody nice. This is no exception. Solid selection.

USA Away Kit

Wow. This is very, very nice. Nike have described this as ‘speed red’, and if that is what speed red is, we are big fans. With the addition of the mysterious ‘stars and stripes’ design across the strip – we can get behind this shirt in a big way, can it help the USWNT defend their title? Maybe it can.

France Away Kit

Very classy kit. ‘Predominantly white, with an overall graphic hexagon print’ is what Nike said and, it’s fair to say, they have done a very good job. With their male counterparts becoming world champions last year, the French women will be keen to make history in this number, and what a story that would be.

Australia Home Kit

Funky and colourful, if someone asked you to think about what an Australia kit SHOULD look like – this kit, probably, would not be too far off what you thought. With the Nigerian women recycling their 2018 shirt – this could be the 2019, Women’s world cup, ‘Nigeria’. Fantastic stuff.

This was our selection of our favourite 5 kits from the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Every Monday we will be adding a new addition to the ‘TOP 5 KITS’ series in the KITBAG.

KING OF THE FANZINES – FANZINE CULTURE IN AN INTERNET AGE

Words by Danny Brown

A soggy fanzine seller, groaning under the weight of a huge bag, latest issue clutched in hand, bellowing ‘Get your fanzine, just a quid!’. A sight as common at a football ground as long hair and short shorts were 20 years ago. But sadly (not so much in the case of the shorts), it’s also a sight that’s vanished in today’s game.

Despite this, there’s still a small army of creators spending endless hours each week writing, editing and producing their ‘zines – just to stand in the pissing rain on a matchday, hoping they can flog enough issues to cover the costs. Dave Wallace, founder of King of the Kippax is one of these creators.

A lifelong Man City fan, Wallace was a prominent member of the Football Supporters Association in the eighties and decided to start his own fanzine, in order to give a voice to fellow blues’ supporters. In pretty standard City fashion, the ‘zine was born out of a cock-up on the opening day of the 88/89 season.

“I intended to start King of the Kippax in the summer of 1987, but we were moving house at the time so instead I decided to contribute to the first City fanzine, Blueprint, instead. However, there were some editorial differences and the final straw was when the fanzine missed the start of the 1988/99 season, meaning my perfectly presented article was hacked and chopped.”

Deciding to take matters into his own hands, egged on by his mate Martin Gordon, then editor of Sheffield Wednesday’s ‘Just Another Wednesday’ fanzine, Wallace put together the first issue, printed a few hundred copies and plucked up the courage to sell it on the terraces. On 24th of September 1988, King of the Kippax was sold for the first time, away at Barnsley. City won 2-1.

“When we started the ‘zine we dedicated it to Colin Bell, the real King of the Kippax!”

The inspiration for the name of the ‘zine was Colin Bell, the shining diamond in a dominant City side that hoovered up trophies under Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison in the sixties. Crowned the ‘King of the Kippax’ by the City faithful, Bell’s nickname referenced Maine Roads famous Kippax stand, one of the largest and loudest singing sections in England at the time.

“I’d always written to the papers, won competitions in the programme and together with my wife Sue produced topical cartoons which we sent to local radio presenters and the club which were well received under the pseudonym ‘King of the Kippax’. When we started the ‘zine we dedicated it to Colin Bell, the real king!”

As anyone who followed the sport at the time will know, the eighties was a bad time to be a football fan in England. Marred by a series of tragedies, the rise of hooliganism and the persecution of football fans under the Tory government, it was through this dark period the need for a new method of fan expression was born.

“1985 was a watershed for football, marred by the Bradford Fire, Heysel and the death of a fan at Birmingham when a wall collapsed. In fact, everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Fans didn’t have a voice and the reporting in the media was very fan negative and didn’t reflect the humour and camaraderie of the majority of ordinary match-going fans.”

“Fans didn’t have a voice and the reporting in the media was very fan negative and didn’t reflect the humour and camaraderie of the majority of ordinary match-going fans.”

“At the time hooliganism was rife, policing and stewarding left a lot to be desired and football grounds were antiquated. Away fans were banned at Luton, English teams banned from Europe, Maggie Thatcher wanted ID cards, Ken Bates wanted electric fences at Chelsea and Bernard Halford (City’s club secretary) thought that hooligans should be birched!”

“The total content of a fanzine is provided by ordinary fans who have a passion for our club and understand the match going experience, whereas football journalists, general speaking, usually have to toe the party line, and see things from within their bubble. We wanted to know about the support, the humour, the songs, but journalists only concentrated on the actual match.”

Wallace wasn’t the only one frustrated by the lack of opportunities for ordinary fans to have a voice on the issues of the day. Coinciding with the birth of the FSA, fanzines began springing up on terraces around the country. Around a dozen general fanzines came into existence at this time, plus around fifty club-based ‘zines. These numbers rose into the hundreds at the peak of fanzine culture.

“Most of all we intended to provide a platform for fellow fans to express themselves with humour. And they did.”

Walk into any pub on a match day and you’ll find no shortage of opinionated football fans ready to share their ‘expert’ rantings, opinions, analysis and conspiracies with anyone who’ll listen. In the days before Twitter, it was fanzines that gave the wannabe managers, armchair pundits, and terrace prophets a platform to share their views with fellow supporters.

“Our original intention was to publish regularly, with up to date and balanced views, hitting the major issues, reflecting on events with comment and opinion, supplying information, and most of all providing a platform for fellow fans to express themselves with humour. And they did.”

“Some contributors have stayed with us more or less from the start, others have dropped off and been replaced and we now have sons of contributors joining the gang. We always encourage new writers and are especially pleased when aspiring sports journalists join us then go onto bigger and better things. Our current youngest match reporter is just fifteen.”

“There is some duplication of subject matter, but all with different angles and styles of writing. Fanzines differ from the mainstream as we have license to say things as they really are, or how we perceive them, and we can ridicule our opponents and rivals (within the realms of human decency).”

“We don’t get told to ‘stick it up our arse’ as much when selling after games we’ve lost!”

When it comes to change, City have seen more of it than most, both on and off the pitch. Once a self-professed ‘comedy club’, City fans of a certain age will remember the age of dodgy managerial appointments, relegation, derby defeats and that fateful day when goalkeeper David James got a run-out up front. If they didn’t laugh, they probably would have cried.

Nowadays, the club is more likely to make headlines for winning another trophy than their latest on-pitch calamity. The ‘Typical City’ curse seems to have lifted, but the sense of humour remains an important part of the City psyche. Even in the age of money and trophies, City still find the time to laugh at themselves – and King of the Kippax is perfect evidence of this.

“The main difference for us has been the fact that we can be much more positive, and whereas in 1999 our front cover was an ironic shot of Nicky Weaver holding up ‘a trophy’, we’ve been able to celebrate our recent title and cup successes with joyous front covers. Additionally, we don’t get told to ‘stick it up our arse’ as much when selling after games we’ve lost!

In the early days the running of the club was the major issue, and whilst there are still some gripes, it is the misrepresentation in the media, the bitterness of the established clubs, and the strangeness of UEFA which dominate the pages.”

Nowadays, fanzines hold up in quality even against the glossiest club programmes, but that wasn’t always the case, as Wallace testifies: “Originally articles and letters were handwritten (one was written in crayon on a piece of cardboard from a cornflake box!) and sent to us by post, then typed up by my mother-in-law on a typewriter borrowed from work.

These were then cut and pasted (with actual scissors and glue!) into an A4 format then put onto A3 sheets and hand delivered to the printers. A few days later, the finished zine was delivered, by me, to the outlets around Manchester then sent out to subscribers and sold outside the ground by us and some willing friends at future home and away games.”

“We now receive articles by email; they are checked, corrected, headlined and highlighted with cartoons added. They’re then sent to Graeme, our layout fella, who adds any pictures and puts together the final ‘zine, which we give the last edit. Over the years, we’ve built a network of loyal subscribes worldwide, which continues to amaze us.”

However, while the internet has made the process of writing and editing a fanzine easier, the rise of social media has inevitably caused a decline in readership. In 2019, many of these fanzines have disappeared all together as United’s Red Issue did back in 2015, citing ‘the stench of modern football’ as the reason for doing so.

“Whilst it’s fun interacting with fans, it’s not much fun selling on the street in the wind, rain, hail and snow these days.”

“It’s had a massive effect. Sales peaked in 1991 and since then there’s been a steady decline. With regard to football there is much more instant information on social media, and visually on the vlogs, so that has affected the fanzine which generally reflects and anticipates ‘goings on’ in a more measured way on a roughly monthly basis.”

“We started over thirty years ago, and during that time we’ve established a loyal readership because of the quality of writers and, I think, because we have never missed a deadline and have always strived to print most of the contributions. We’ve lost quite a few sellers recently, and whilst it’s enjoyable interacting with fans, it’s not much fun selling on the street in the wind, rain, hail and snow these days.”

It’s a testament to the graft put in by Wallace and his wife that King of the Kippax is still alive and kicking after thirty (that’s right, thirty) years. With the social media revolution showing no signs of slowing, the future for fanzines looks relatively bleak. But Wallace thinks there may be hope yet, and believes the younger generation might play a big part.

“Though going on-line is probably the future, our regular readers tend to prefer a paper magazine and, as it has been reported recently that people are returning to books in preference to reading on kindle, whilst vinyl records are also making a come back, so maybe the times are a changing and diversifying, but not yet over. Watch this space!”

ADIDAS’ LATEST KIT LAUNCH HAS US VERY EXCITED FOR THIS YEAR’S COPA AMERICA

Words by Neil Boardman

The Copa America returns to Brazil this summer for a carnival of South American football (with this installments’ Asian football invasion coming from Japan and Qatar). The build up to an international tournament is always made even more exciting with the kit releases.

For the 2018 World Cup, it would be fair to say that the kit launches became their own mini tournament in the build up to the main event. It would be very difficult to come up with an argument that does not conclude with Nike winning the World Cup last year, with THAT Nigeria collection.

However, Adidas are staking their claim early to win the battle of the Copa America kits, with three tasty numbers that were revealed on Tuesday March 19th. The 2019 editions of the kits of the Argentinian and Colombian sides took centre stage.

Modelled by the boy himself, the new kit for the La Albiceleste keeps its traditional White and Sky Blue colour, whilst creating something different than what we have seen from previous Argentinian kits. The side has a history of being represented by a fine kit and this edition is no different. And, don’t forget, with Leo at the wheel, any football shirt can become a champion one within a matter of seconds. Also, that collar is ace too.

Modelled wonderfully, Columbia are another side with a history of having very nice football kits. This years is no different. With a design that is inspired by the culture of their great country’s textile industry, the kit shows off a slightly different style to last year’s world cup version – but it works very well, in our opinion. With a side made up of wonderful talent, we look forward to seeing this kit in action amongst the style of play that had the majority of England livid for 120 minutes last July – it’s nice when its not you.

With more of the 2019 Copa America kits to be revealed, our excitement is building – and if the current releases are reflective of the quality of the tournament, we should be in for a treat.

ANTONÍN PANENKA: A LEGACY LIKE NO OTHER

Words by Neil Boardman

Let’s set the scene. Its 1976, the world is a lot different to what it is 2019. Some would probably say that the world was better in 1976 than it is in 2019 and maybe it was, but that’s a conversation for another time because 1976 was the year that should be remembered for one certain thing. No, it wasn’t the formation of the Toronto Blue Jays, the fact that The Ramones released their first album or the Eurovision title being won by the UK. It was something that occurred in Belgrade on the night of the 20th June.

Czechoslovakia took a 2 nil lead in Belgrade within 25 minutes. In the final of the ’76 instalment of the European championship against World Cup holders West Germany, the side must have been confident. However, in typical German football style, the Nationalelf pulled it back. A quick response to Karol Dobiaš’ lovely effort from just outside the box, from Dieter Müller saw the game go into half time at 2-1 to Czechoslovakia.

The final carried on as you would imagine a 1970s international to do so. The two sets of players are kitted out in the way you would imagine players who were playing in a 1970s international, to be so. The red shirt of the Czech national side, coupled with the red and white Adidas shorts (that are obviously pulled up way above the knee and Adidas will obviously be re-releasing, much to my delight, when an international competition comes around again), cannot help be intimidated by the classic white and black attire of the West German team.

You can never back against Germany in international tournaments. I don’t care what anyone says about this matter – backing Germany to lose a game is daft. The people of Czechoslovakia on the ‘Nacht Von Belgrade’ may have just been thinking the same. Was the inevitable going to happen? When will Germany score? Yet the Reds were not breaking. For 44 minutes, West Germany failed to equalise, the hopes of a nation were on a high – the celebrations were starting back home in Prague, then it happened. In typical German fashion, they bagged an equaliser. In the 89th minute, Bernd Hölzenbein rose higher than the rest to head home a German equaliser.

The nation of Czechoslovakia went from the high of seeing their team 2 nil ahead in the final of an international tournament, to the low of seeing the game go to 2-2. We all know the feeling, don’t we? Seeing our team up in a big game, playing well, cruising. It’s a great feeling at that point, no doubt about it. But the feeling doesn’t always last for long, does it? Next thing we know things aren’t looking good. You’re soaking up the pressure, things aren’t looking good, everything is shaping up to the inevitable equaliser. Then it happens. Always has to be a scrappy goal doesn’t it? From a corner or tapped in by their poacher, something like that? It is one of the worst feelings in the world.

Of course, chances are if you’re reading this, it is likely that you can relate what has just been described to a mid table league one game as opposed to an international final. I know they all hurt but just imagine that. It must be painful mustn’t it. As extra time went on, the wounds of the Czechoslovakian team grew more open in preparation for the salt, of West Germany, to be rubbed in. As extra time went on, confidence amongst the reds can’t have been getting any higher. After all, who on earth is backing themselves against Germany on penalties?

However, there was one man in that Czechoslovakian XI that was unphased by the prospect of a penalty shootout. The same man, who had his penalty thought out long before the penalty shootout was confirmed, long before the game had even kicked off. ‘I will give it to Maier in the middle’, he had told keeper Ivor Viktor before the game. The man being described is no other than Antonín Panenka.

As extra time came to a conclusion, it was time for the shootout to take place. The first three penalties were all successful for both sides. A fourth positive effort from the Czechoslovakian side, courtesy of Ladislav Jurkemik, gave the Reds the advantage in the shootout. It was now time for Uli Hoeneß to step up for the West Germans, hopes of a nation on his shoulders. Little was he aware, at this point, of the plan in the head of Panenka. Hoeneß missed his crucial spot kick, making it 4-3 to the Reds – Panenka was now well aware that the fate of a nation rested in his feet.

Antonín Panenka stepped up to the penalty spot with a plan, a plan that wasn’t going to be altered or changed by anyone. With a run up as cool as you like, West German goalkeeper Sepp Maier would’ve been completely unaware whether the Czech number 7 was going to put the ball to his left or right. Maier guessed left. Maier guessed wrong. Panenka’s right foot had just chipped a ball down the middle of the net to win a European final. Watch it here:

The penalty was unbelievable, to many football fans across the world it was a thing of beauty. The celebration of Panenka showed just what it meant to him and the people he was representing. With his arms raised in there, as he runs away from the goal in ecstacy, the spectators couldn’t quite believe what had just happened – Antonín Panenka probably couldn’t either.

That penalty had just secured a win in a European final for the Czechoslovakian team, but that wasn’t the only thing it did – this penalty cemented Antonín Panenka as a figure in the football world. The Panenka penalty is one of the most beautiful things to watch in the world’s favourite game. Now, when we see a penalty that resembles that of Antonín Panenka’s, it makes us experience a different emotion to how we usually view a penalty. The Panenka style penalty is satisfying. It makes us laugh to ourselves a bit and think ‘fair enough’.

It takes a certain calibre of player to pull this form of art off. The poet, Panenka, was one of those players who had a certain charm that surrounded his game, which allowed him to pull such a thing off. You’ve probably seen your mate trying to ‘do a Panenka’ in an intense penalty shootout on the park after school; your mate probably failed. You have definitely seen your mate trying to pretend they know how to take penalties on FIFA, punting the ball down the middle of the goal and claiming they were attempting a Panenka penalty.

Zidane. Messi. Pirlo. Hazard. Aguero. All names that we associate with greats of the modern game. Also, names that can boast a famous example of a Panenka-style penalty on their CV. It goes to show just how far, one second of a game played in Yugoslavia, can travel. Antonín Panenka retired in 1993, at the time playing in the lower leagues of Austria. Now, at the age of 70, his time is spent looking after Bohemians 1905 in Prague as club president. His decision in 1976 to take a penalty in an unusual manner will cement his legacy for years to come and we can all enjoy the underrated spectacle of one of our favourite players chipping a penalty down the middle of the net.  

WE ARE PANENKA

We are Panenka. A new source that aims to bring the best football and culture stories from around the world, together in one place.

Here at Panenka, we have the common belief that whether it’s a story about your favourite Bundesliga 2 player or a story about how much your dog loves going down to your local non-league ground every other Saturday, it can be just as important as a story surrounding the latest major transfer rumor.

We are currently focusing on building our website up with some of the best football content but with plans to expand into other media platforms, we believe the sky is the limit.

Currently, the website features three sections: . MAGAZINE – a focus on some of our favourite shorter pieces. Opinion articles, lists, that kind of thing – type of thing you can read on the bog.

. JOURNAL – a series of our favourite feature articles. There will have been a lot of time gone into these, so you should give them a read.

KITBAG – this one is going to be good. Showcasing some of our favourite gear from around the world. This page will also be the home of our ‘TOP 5’ series every Monday, where we will pick a season, team or tournament at random (sort of), and pick the best 5 kits from it. Hopefully it’ll make the worst day of the week a little bit better.

If you are a content creator that has something they would love to share, whether this story be an article, an illustration, photography album or video, please get in touch – we’d love to have you on board! Please send an email to: editor@panenkamag.com