I’m sure the Argus has been previewing the football season since time immemorial. And covered every one since the start of the 1990s. However, I don’t think they’ve ever done a job as good as this fondly remembered free magazine-sized publication from the start of the 1989/90 campaign, ditching the usual newspaper-sized format. Mine came with an ‘Evening Argus – Seagulls’ cardboard banner. If only I’d still kept it!
A forty-page special is graced with interviews with cover star Steve Gatting, comeback kid Martin Lambert, Robert Codner and Perry Digweed, a colour team photo centre-spread, pen pictures and photo opportunities with the players in pre-season training, including in that horrid red and white patterned away kit that looked more like a dull pink from a distance.
A full page advert for embarrassing club sponsors NOBO promised the company would be ‘top of the 1st division for display and training aids.’ However, the British Gas ad below with 1970s-style comic is splendidly retro, even for back then.
The only downside is that the magazine is rather heavy on adverts. Even so, they help give an evocative sense of what life was like in the late 1980s, when the local dialling code was still 0273, Garry Nelson had his car sponsored by FIAT, and ASICS were a popular sportswear manufacturer proud to have Barry Lloyd (awkward, insincere smile and all) advertising its football boots.