Wednesday, September 20, 2006
The print media in France is probably the biggest in the world and certainly one of the best. In almost every field the magazines are of a higher intellectual and editorial level than their counterparts in the English-speaking world, in football especially. Though the grand old sporting paper L'Équipe suffers from an over-earnest editiorial voice and an uncharacteristic tendency to factual errors, the twice-weekly France Football, which awards the European footballer of the year award is essential reading, then there is the humorous monthly fanzine Les Cahiers du football, a sort of Gallic When Saturday Comes. Best of all though is the amazing So Foot, which walks a fine line between intellectual and political analysis of the game and wry fanzine-style humour. This month's number includes a look back at the historical footballing adversity between France and Italy, a superb article on Torino FC as they celebrate their centenary as the only Turinese club in Serie A, a piece on Lebanese football in Hizbollah-controlled regions, football-related interviews with actor Jean-Pierre Darroussin, government minister and Valenciennes club chairman Jean-Louis Borloo, and novelist Laurent Mauvignier, whose new novel Dans la foule is set during the Heysel tragedy in 1985. It's a shame they don't cross paths with FourFourTwo, recently launched in French, and do an English-language edition. It is a superb magazine and their website, even if you don't read French is well-worth checking out, as is their MySpace page. The magazine also releases football-compilation CDs, including an excellent one recently in tribute to George Best, the footballer who best personifies the magazine's worldview.