West Ham fanzine Blowing Bubbles has been shortlisted for a top award at the 2023 Football Supporters’ Association Awards. It’s the third time our monthly magazine, which has been in print since August 2012, has been shortlisted in the Fanzine of the Year category at the FSA awards.
Blowing Bubbles made the shortlist in 2015 & 2021 and again faces tough competition for the crown with the strong list of fanzines including A Love Supreme (Sunderland), Alternative Wales (Welsh football), Dogma (Brighton & Hove Albion), My Only Desire (Charlton Athletic), & The Blue & White (Chester FC).
“I’m absolutely delighted that Blowing Bubbles has been shortlisted for Fanzine of the Year for a third time,” said Editor David Blackmore. “To be in such an elite group of fantastic football publications is a massive pat on the back and recognition of not only the huge amount of time and effort we put into producing every issue but also to the continued support we’ve had from the West Ham Family.
“We wouldn’t be where we are today without our team of writers whose brilliant articles beautifully capture the rollercoaster of life as a West Ham fan each month. A special thanks also to designer Kelvin Farrell who helps bring our copy to life in every edition.”
The FSA awards will be handed out at an awards ceremony at Nobu in Portman Square, London, on Monday 4th December. The awards ceremony will be presented by Victoria Derbyshire. In total there are 84 candidates battling it out across 14 categories in the largest supporter-led awards in the country, recognising everything from the best players of the past year to the best podcasts.
The Fanzine of the Year category will be decided by an FSA panel along with four other categories: Climate Action, Fans for Diversity, the Non-League Award and the Supporter Liaison Officer of the Year.
Blowing Bubbles launched digitally and in print form in summer 2012 and in 2020, clocked up its 100th issue. Over the past 11 years, it has grown into a publication with thousands of dedicated readers online and in print, giving Irons fans a platform to air their views, positive and negative, as well as speaking to many of the biggest names in Hammers history to create a significant archive of West Ham moments and memories.
Initially envisaged as a digital-only offering, David decided to produce a print edition as well, and launched the first issue at the first game of the 2012-13 season, with the pages being filled by content produced by himself and a team of journalists, initially recruited via Twitter. Since then, the magazine has continued to grow.
“What I think has always helped Blowing Bubbles stand out from the crowd is the variation of content every month,” David continued. “I’ve read many fanzines over the years from different football clubs and I always get frustrated at reading the same opinions on the same topic page after page so I’ve always strived for our team to cover a wide range of topics each month and that has been a huge factor in our success.
“But we will always strive to change and evolve as we look to maintain our place as the biggest and best West Ham fanzine. This season, for example, we’ve worked in partnership with the West Ham United Supporters’ Trust, and in particular Chris Wheal, to help keep our readers up to date with issues that are important to them. Olivia Elliott has also brought new voices to each edition with our Opposition View which helps us get a better insight of upcoming opponents but also what fans of other clubs think about us.
“There have been some writers like Lucy Farrell and Geoff Hillyer who have been with us from the very beginning 11 years ago, and others like Julian Shea, Emily Pulham, Greg Richardson and David Bowden who have written for us for years. I’ve also always been proud of being able to offer budding sports writers the chance to get their name in print like Milly Thomson, and it’s always good to get input from supporters living abroad such as Bradley Holland and David Meagher.
“Then we have those long suffering fans who attend most games home and away like Brian Penn and Meirion Williams whilst former Hammer George Parris’ exclusive column has always been a hit with our readers as it has been to hear from ExWHUemployee and Claret & Hugh each month. Of course, there have been many other writers who have come and gone as life has changed for them but whose contributions I’ll always been grateful for.”
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The Men’s Player of the Year category features two members of Manchester City’s all-conquering treble-winning side, Rodri and Erling Haaland, who will go up against former winner Mohammed Salah, and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka. They are joined by first time nominees Kieran Trippier of Newcastle United and Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins.
The shortlist for the Women’s Player of the Year features a healthy contingent from this year’s World Cup runners-up Lionesses squad, along with some Women’s Super League standouts. Lauren James represents double-winners Chelsea, alongside international team-mates Beth England from Tottenham Hotspur, Mary Earps of Manchester United and Aston Villa’s Rachel Daly. Joining them are Arsenal’s Norwegian midfielder Frida Maanum and Yui Hasegawa from Manchester City.
Pundit of the Year promises to be another hotly contested category, with three former winners in the shape of Gary Neville, Ian Wright and Jamie Carragher, alongside Ally McCoist, Jill Scott and Rachel Brown-Finnis. The FSA’s Fans for Diversity campaign, run jointly with Kick It Out, has its own award, promoting the good work of fan groups who make football more inclusive and welcoming to all communities.
The other categories that fans will be able to have their say on include the best commentators, podcasts, social media accounts and football writers. Voting in these ten categories is open until midday on Monday 20th November. More details on how you can vote are available on the FSA website.