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25th anniversary issue

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    25th anniversary issue

    Our 25th anniversary issue (with a special silver colour tint, an extra £186 from the printers) is now out.

    Here's the editorial, the first of 44 pages.


    We received a hand-written letter recently. Not an email, tweet or text, but an old fashioned letter which someone had taken the time to write and post. It read:

    Hello UWS,
    I've read your fanzine since it's inception and in my opinion it's become a bit shit. Like late period "Smash Hits". It's jumped the shark basically.
    I'll try and stick with it, but who gives a shit if Eric Cantona has a pet Chihuahua called "Robbo" or that he's designed a fucking watch. Jesus H Christ, I want to know if Falcao's twatted Rooney yet or if Mike Phelan's been done for dogging.
    It's not for 12-year-old kids; it's for hard men that like supping, fighting, fucking and wanking.
    Get a grip and sort it out.
    Best Regards,
    Jory "Bubba" Bob.

    The letter was accompanied by a hand drawn picture of an ejaculating penis.

    That's us told, then. Either he's not quite got over Nuts magazine closing or we might as well call it a day after 25 years. Tell the 20 writers they're no longer needed. The dozen lads who sell the mag at the ground too.

    I vividly remember the first letter we received soon after starting in 1989. I was so excited that I opened it, ran back to school (it was lunch hour) showed mates and replied that afternoon. The sender received his reply the following morning. That was a quarter of a century ago.

    I'm 40, so UWS has been a huge part of my life. So familiar that strangers still approach and ask: 'Are you still doing that Red Issue?'
    In 1998, I recall telling my grandfather, a former professional footballer who passed away this year, that I wouldn't be doing a fanzine when I was 40. Fanzines were edited by kids and weirdos in sheds, right?

    "Do what you enjoy," he said. I still enjoy doing United We Stand. I've had offers to sell the fanzine, to give it up, to go and work full time for several media organisations. Some were - and are -flattering, but I've kept the mag going and instead taken plenty of freelance work.

    Or, rather, you've kept it going. Without you buying the mag, there would be no UWS, but you continue to buy it month after month, either in print (which we prefer) or digital (which an increasing number of you prefer). And because we have a great team of writers, designers, admin heads, subs and sellers, we can produce it when so many fanzines have folded.

    There are times when it's difficult, when the responsibility of publishing strong, passionate, opinions land at my feet, but, I've long since learned to deal with them.

    There have been a few times when I've thought about the future of the mag, especially in the internet age. We had a terrible opening sale in the wind and rain against Valencia in December 2010. Our first daughter was born the next day and as I waited for nature to take its course, I wondered whether my time would be better spent on more conventional journalism or books and not UWS.

    The internet has twatted printed publications into decline, but it's also full of substandard content. People think they can write like they believe they can coach or play football, but we value well-written, well-researched and edited articles. Value well sourced information from trusted sources so that we can write knowing a lot more than we're able to let on. We can still spot and nurture talent. Many people who started writing for UWS went on to become professionals, but we don't exist as a journalism school, but to give Reds an informed and decent mag packed with original and relevant content from match going fans.

    We offer something different from the blizzard of United blogs. We have credibility and people involved who you see home and away, time served Reds who haven't just appeared. We have interviews, nuggets of information, properly edited and well designed articles. Beautiful front covers, too.

    Content wise, we don't always get it right and there have been a few away fans in Meet Again this year where I've thought - "Not sharp or informed enough to justify two of our pages", but we try and get the right fans and we try our best on small budgets.

    UWS needs a lot of energy to survive and prosper. It's hard work getting 30,000 words a month, but we get it because of the people involved. I see the mag as a part of a community who understand and - crucially - buy what we do. Some stopped going to the games years ago and use it as a means to keep in touch with the culture they fell in love with, others still go to every game, brought together by Manchester United Football Club. United We Stand.

    Enjoy this issue,

    What else in this issue? A 4,000 word exclusive interview with Ryan Giggs where he answers readers' question - plus those from those who know him well. Like Gary Neville, Andy Cole and the scout who first spotted him. Giggs talks over over 4,000 words and five pages about clubbing in Liverpool (and meet Kylie), jibbing in the Stretford End and getting out of his comfort zone with MUFC.

    What else?

    A They Bleed Red, White and Black with Ann Marie from Norway.

    A sharp interview with the editor of the Crystal Palace fanzine (below). Palace's chairman was spotted reading said interview on the train back to London on Saturday.

    Jim White takes us behind the scenes through his recent dates hosting talks with Roy Keane and Roddy Doyle (the trio are pictured) on his book tour.

    An anonymous rail worker writes about what it's like to observe football fans every week.

    Guttersnipe, one of the most popular parts of the mag, where you'll learn a few new things about MUFC.

    All the usual columns from like Shredded Tweet. HWIFY, Mad Cyril, Getting Away With, the best quotes; plus efforts from Doveman, Steve A, Joe Ganley, Ian Bland, James Scowcroft, Reserves & Youth, Style Council (cagoules this month), Transmssion, proper book reviews, and Meatbag who writes: "Nothing is ever as good as it used to be in football. Nobody you will ever speak to at the match, certainly above the age of 30, will say that right now is the best it’s ever been. But we all still go. Week after week. Always looking for the next fix. The next big moment is like the next great album. Always around the corner and you daren’t turn your back for a minute in case you’re not there in the middle of it, looking at everyone else with some misplaced feeling of moral rectitude."

    Our ace new columnist TV Gunnar Solskjaer casts his critical eyes over Gary Neville, while Pete Molyneux recalls an away day to Crystal Palace in '69 when you the motorways between Manchester and London wasn't even complete.

    The mag went on sale v Palace. Thanks to all who bought it. Again. Subscription copies should be arriving now and it will be in the usual newsagents tomorrow. You can also download a digital edition (single or full subscription) for your tablet/phone here.
    Download our free app first and see a sample issue.

    We'll be selling this anniversary mag at Arsenal away, Hull and Stoke at home.

    And we've been shortlisted for the British fanzine of the year so make sure you vote in the fanzine (and other) categories here