Sun, sales and shots on target!
Paul in raptures as Reach, Fletcher and All Wednesday edition 2 all hit the mark

I can honestly say that there was a point yesterday – around three minutes before the end of the first half against Swansea – when I wondered to myself whether I was dreaming and was going to rudely wake up to find it was only Saturday morning with match-day still stretched out in front of me. In glorious premature spring sunshine we had sold hundreds of copies of the new All Wednesday fanzines to an army of keen Wednesdayites and now, with the mighty Steve Bruce prowling his area and following some proper top-quality goals Wednesday were 3-0 up before the interval against a team who were in the Premiership last season.

Back in the day, when we sold paper copies of War of the Monster Trucks, I always loved selling. There were a raft of positive comments from our regular buyers and always a little glow from knowing that people would be sat in the pub or having their post-match tea reading the fruits of our – and our contributors’ – labours.  But the reality is that there was an element of slog about it. We usually only did around 400 copies in total and the key measure was whether we could sell enough to cover our production costs. Generally there would only be two or three of us selling across sometimes five or six games and from memory whilst we would usually make the covering-our-costs cut, on one or two occasions we didn’t.

There had been a good build-up to this second edition of our “one-off Wednesday fanzine”. A couple of Thursdays ago Alan Biggs had given Steve a full show sat on his Sheffield Live sofa, and even teased the audience about waiting to see copies of the front and back covers. The Star had us on its website on Monday and gave us a half-page spread in Thursday’s paper edition. The decision to give any profits to Macmillan Cancer Support - via the legend that is John Burkhill, Sheffield’s Man with the Pram - had been universally well received. So much so that when Steve went to collect the fanzines from our printer – The Print and Copy Shop on Taplin Road in Hillsborough – he had done us an extra 100 copies for free “because it is for such a good cause”. As I tweeted at the time a fantastic gesture but one which left us with 1,000 copies to sell!

And as with issue #1, the difference between back in the day and now is the ability to use social media, not only to publicise the fanzine but in order to get some fabulous material sent in in the first place; we had some belting stuff sent in, not least the fabulous moving pieces about people getting the better of the big C with the help of Wednesday and Macmillan. Over the last few weeks we have used primarily Twitter to try to stoke the enthusiasm of Wednesdayites for edition #2. However the worry with that is always that you might have perhaps 50 people who are salivating for the next edition whilst it has completely bypassed the rest of the blue and white population.

Another thing to perhaps chuck in here is the Mi Amigo stuff that had been swirling around for a few weeks and came to its climax on Friday with thousands of Sheffielders turning up in Endcliffe Park for the fly-past to remember the airmen heroes and the love and care given to them by Tony Foulds. It caught the imagination of the entire country and – as with so many other things – left Sheffield feeling very good about itself. For me and others there is a direct line between Tony Foulds and John Burkhill; characters who make us fiercely proud of our city and its people. 

So, against all that backdrop I couldn’t wait to get selling and sold the first copy of the hundred I took with me at just gone ten past one. There were around six of us out in the sunshine, strategically scattered around the roads outside the stadium. My spot, as with last time, was on the Penistone Road bridge. For this edition this was far and away the best spot as after I had been selling for a while, John Burkhill himself turned up as usual with his pram, heading for his pre-match pitch also on the bridge. It was a joy to see him, and John being John he had already sold five pre-orders for the fanzine. 

Matt Exton – the maker of the brilliant All Wednesday film - turned up just before John. Matt had been doing some selling for us but had also been commissioned to do some filming of John yesterday. John turned up, pointed at Matt who is a good solid lad, and said “I used to look like him before I started running”. How can you not love him?

Once Matt started filming I found myself in a situation where some of the (up to now relatively few) good things about this season came brilliantly together; the maker of the mighty All Wednesday film, who suggested that we try selling paper fanzines again, was filming the Man with the Pram who stands to make £1,000 for Macmillan from sales of the second of those paper fanzines. It was a surreal and fabulous moment.

And how did the fanzines sell? Like they were going out of fashion. I and several of the other sellers sold out and went in search of anyone with any left. The numbers are still being counted but we sold shedloads meaning that the production costs have been well passed and the meter is ticking healthily towards our £1k target for John. And (as any fanzine seller will tell you) best of all a couple of lads bought one and were leafing through it on the bridge. Happy to report that they were gurgling like drains.

So I more or less floated through the turnstiles and onto the North Stand. If only Wednesday could round things off properly. How good it felt with the sun glinting off the pitch and Steve Bruce (yes, Steve Bruce – still getting used to having such a well-known and trusted manager there) prowling his area and never stopping talking to the troops. And then Adam Reach and – spectacularly – the reborn Steven Fletcher popped us into a 3-0 half time lead and to that point where I wondered if it was all a dream. Handily there was enough of a drop-off in the second half to keep everyone focused on the work that is still needed but we still filed out at the end with proper smiles on our faces.

If only West Brom could have nailed the Blunts it would have been just about perfect but for now we’ll take what we've been  given and hope for glory on 4 March, when we may or may not have the last few All Wednesdays left to sell. Many thanks as ever to everyone who bought a copy of the fanzine; hope you enjoyed it.

If you missed out on All Wednesday #2 yesterday don't worry - we will be selling against Brentford. Location details on this site shortly.

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