Phew, wot a scorcher!
Here at Scratching Shed we have been overwhelmed by all the good wishes and positive reaction to our new rugby league magazine, Forty-20, officially launched last week at the legendary Queens Hotel, Leeds. A huge thanks to everyone who has taken the trouble to share their thoughts, either on Facebook or Twitter or in person.
We know Forty-20 won’t be to everyone’s taste and that’s fine. We have deliberately set out to offer an alternative voice and different approach to that which currently exists. The sport of rugby league is rapidly evolving, socially and geographically, and it is our ambition to reflect that.
In a nutshell, we want Forty-20 to be intelligent, thoughtful and resolutely non-glossy. We will be story-led rather than club-led; champion quality writing, photography and illustration; give more of a voice to current players and coaches; and assume that our readers are able to think for themselves. Like us, they will most probably take an interest in the game as a whole, rather than just their own favourite club. We’ll have a laugh from time to time too.
In other words, we aim to give rugby league the broadsheet-quality coverage that’s taken for granted in other sports. Some very kind folk have already compared Forty-20 to magazines as diverse as the original Open Rugby, Private Eye, The New Yorker, The New Statesman and When Saturday Comes – which will more than do for us! And given that this is only issue one, we know there is plenty of room for improvement.
Especially in the area of distribution, which was initially beset by ‘teething’ problems. Happily, most of those issues are now ironed out. If the magazine isn’t already in your local independent newsagent, you can ask them to order it. Along with club shops at Warrington, Wigan, Leeds, St Helens, Salford (and more such as Castleford and Crusaders to follow) the mag should soon be available at train stations, airports, service stations and garages too.
Unfortunately, those distribution issues mean that, this month, Forty-20 won’t be on open display in as many WH Smiths stores as we had anticipated – although it can still be ordered anywhere in the country. From issue two onwards, however, this should be rectified and Forty-20 will be widely available in WH Smiths as planned.
In the meantime, here is a list of seventeen WH Smiths stores which WILL have the first issue of Forty-20 on display this month, from Wednesday 20 July. If it’s not on the shelves, ask them to get it out of the storeroom – they’ve got it (unless it’s sold out, of course)!
- Bradford, Kirkgate
- Bristol, Galleries
- Leeds, White Rose Centre
- York, Monks Cross
- Newcastle, Northumberland Street
- London, Oxford Street Plaza
- Sheffield, Meadowhall
- Manchester, Trafford Centre
- Wakefield, Ridings Centre
- Warrington, The Mall
- Whitehaven, King Street
- Widnes, Albert Square
- Wigan, Standishgate
- Workington, Washington Square
- Wrexham, Hope Street
- Hull, Prospect Centre
- St Helens, Church Street
In the months to come, we intend to broaden our distribution base still further, taking in supermarkets etc. And, of course, there are our splendid subscription deals to be taken advantage of – whether postal here or, from July 27, the online digital version, more details of which will be posted here soon.
Once again, it’s great finally to be up and running. We look forward to you joining us on the 13th day of every month from here on in – or perhaps even contributing yourself.
Tony Hannan – editor-at-large; Phil Caplan – managing editor