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Today saw the release of the Forty-20 magazine which described itself as ‘a rugby league monthly for the 21st century’. It’s the brainchild of scratching shed publishing whose motto is ‘Treasure the old. Embrace the new’. Personally I have great respect for these publishers for releasing books such as ‘Reluctant Hero - The John Holmes Story’ and ‘The Great Ones & Other Writings (1969) By Eddie Waring’ which both reside in the 'favourite books' section of my bookshelf.
I’m sure that I’m not the only one here who hasn’t bothered to buy a magazine or newspaper that’s solely about rugby league in years. I’m more than content to get my rugby league news and opinion from the internet (RLFANS mainly), the teletext and the occasional time I read the Yorkshire Evening Post. The last time I skimmed through a rugby league magazine was in the waiting room of the local clinic. The edition was well out of date, and Sam Tomkins face was defaced by the time I’d done with it. As you can gather it passed time and it was free. But other than that I wasn’t overly impressed with the publication.
I’m more optimistic about what Forty-20 could do for the game, off the field. First of all it’s nice to see that some players are getting columns, which will hopefully open up a career in the media for them when they finally hang their boots up. I’d like to see the likes of Richie Mathers and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook learn everything they can under the guidance of Tony Hannan and Phil Caplan before embarking on their own rugby league magazines.
The more quality rugby league media we’ve got out in the world, the better, because at the moment the choice we’ve got as fans is very limited indeed. A blog published on the scratching shed website itself has even said ‘rugby league could seldom be accused of standing still. And that has certainly been true over the past two decades’. The blog then goes onto state ‘here at Scratching Shed Publishing Ltd, we are happy to announce that game’s latest monthly magazine, Forty-20, will dare to be different’.
I certainly hope that they do!
So all I can do is wish Fourty-20 all the best and I hope that they deliver what they promise and more!