The likes of Harry Pearson and Patrick Barclay might well be heavyweights in the world of football journalism, but back in the early 1990s they were the unsuspecting victims of a minor giant-killing when a young fanzine editor snatched the 1991 Football Writer of the Year awards from under their noses.
It was a dramatic triumph for the thriving, underground fanzine movement; an acceptance into the mainstream for a highly influential movement that had for years been snapping away on the fringes as an alternative sub-culture.
The writer in question was Richard O Smith, editor of Boston United fanzine From Behind Your Fences. His success is even more striking when you browse through fanzines from the same era, many of which were written and produced to near-professional standards. FBYF also catered to a tiny audience compared to some of the big-hitters of the time, but Smith’s talent as a writer soon saw the zine’s reputation spread far beyond Lincolnshire.
The fanzine was mainly produced between 1988 and 1992 with thirteen issues written before it fell silent for a decade. Two new editions emerged with Boston United’s promotion to the Football League in 2002. In Richard’s own words it is ‘unlikely’ there will ever be another.
With that in mind, Trail of Debt has delved into the archives to bring a collection of articles, cartoons and reports online for the very first time, and introduce FBYF to an audience that might never have encountered it before. Reading the articles again it is possible to see the club as it once was; an ever-so-slightly shambolic non-league outfit, distinctly provincial – but profoundly loveable.
Perhaps a good place to start with FBYF would be with its first ever editorial, which you can read HERE. But if you want to delve into the archives, then you can jump right in HERE.
The Trail Of Debt FBYF archive was produced by kind permission of Richard O. Smith and was scanned, uploaded and spell checked by Pete Brooksbank.
FBYF written and edited by Richard O. Smith
Farmer Dan the Boston Fan devised by Smith/Cox
Cartoons by Paul Cox
Individual contributors (where not Richard Smith) have been credited where appropriate. Blame spelling mistakes and errant exclamation marks on the scanning software.