Jonathan Wilson's Editor's Note from Issue Four
I'd barely sat down in the media centre before the Cup of Nations final when a Nigerian journalist grabbed my arm and dragged me over to "look at something on my laptop". She'd taken footage of the Patrice Evra-Luis Suárez non-handshake, had slowed it down and magnified it, and was insisting you could see the Frenchman fractionally withdraw his hand as the Uruguayan approached. She played it over and over again, the same pictures of hand approaching hand and no contact being made. Is that really what we've become?
In the previous week Fabio Capello had resigned over the John Terry affair and Harry Redknapp had been acquitted of charges of tax evasion, prompting a series of speculative pieces about who he might pick should he be the new England manager. Within days, Rangers and Portsmouth had gone into administration.
All the while I looked on in bewilderment from Equatorial Guinea and then Gabon, following Zambia's sentimental journey to the Cup of Nations crown and feeling extremely grateful I wasn't having to deal with the tawdry minutiae of football back home. Instead, I watched an awful lot of men cry, because they felt they had let their country down, because they saw their country being torn apart and, ultimately, from the catharsis of having won a final in the city in which their country suffered its worst football tragedy.
Stories like Zambia's happen only infrequently, of course, but it was still hard to wonder, reading the abuse that flowed back and forth on every Suárez blog, whether we in Britain hadn't lost sight of what actually matters about sport: the sense of emotion and drama and human striving to achieve something extraordinary.
And then you look at the Guardian blogs and you see my Cup of Nations pieces drawing 20 or 30 comments while anything on Capello or Suárez gets several hundred. It's not hard to see the economic argument for focussing on the mainstream and the sensationalist or why so many other papers barely seemed to acknowledge the Cup of Nations was happening.
That, of course, is why The Blizzard exists, to cater for minority tastes neglected by more traditional media. Last March, when we launched, we didn't know whether enough others shared our interest in the in-depth and the esoteric to make the magazine economically viable. Thanks to the hard work of huge numbers of people, we're still here.
As we celebrate our first anniversary, we're much more optimistic, but we need to keep pushing. I know I say this in every issue, but please do keep talking about us, do keep telling people what we're about. We have no advertising budget: word of mouth is all we've got. Thanks.