BB editor Dave Blackmore with a previous copy of Blowing Bubbles.
In life, people can be divided into those who think ‘something must be done’, and those who actually do something – and David Blackmore, editor of Blowing Bubbles, is definitely in the latter category.
The West Ham magazine he launched digitally and in print form in summer 2012 has just clocked up its 100th issue, during which time it has grown into a publication with hundreds of dedicated readers online and in print, giving Irons fans a platform to air their views, positive and negative, as well as speaking to many of the biggest names in Hammers history to create a significant archive of West Ham moments and memories.
ClaretandHugh is proud to partner with Dave and Blowing Bubbles which is a monthly must read!
Speaking to CandH Dave said: “We’d just won promotion to the Premier League and I was on the train home when I decided to fully commit to actioning the idea I’d had for a while.
“I used to read OLAS, which was the biggest magazine at the time, but it frustrated me because there were different voices all saying the same thing, and a lot of the content became dated very quickly. I thought “I could produce better than this,” so I gave it a go.”
Initially envisaged as a digital-only offering, Blackmore decided to produce a print edition as well, and launched the first issue at the first game of the 2012-13 season, with the pages being filled by content produced by himself and a team of journalists, initially recruited via Twitter.
“Searches on there helped me to recruit the likes of Lucy Woolford, Brian Williams and Geoff Hillyer who have written for us ever since. Once I had a band of merry writers on board, I needed to find a designer who had a track record of producing good quality magazines, which would have further separated us from your traditional fanzine.”
Since then, the magazine has grown and grown, recruiting Phil Parkes and George Parris as monthly columnists, and making sufficient impact to catch the attention of co-owner David Gold, who has given Blackmore several one-on-one sit down interviews, something for which he says he respects the often criticized Gold.
“I will always be grateful for the time Mr Gold gives to me each season and for answering the questions I know the fans want me to ask,” he said.
“Do I always get the answers I think supporters would like? No but he is always brutally honest with me – much to the dismay of the press team at West Ham!“
Blowing Bubbles has been shortlisted for fanzine of the year by the Football Supporters’ Federation – “another proud achievement” – and has ended up being a chronicle of West Ham’s ups and downs through one of the most turbulent decades in the club’s history.
“There are a few issues that have made me incredibly proud too. There was the special issue before the last game at Upton Park which even now I enjoy flicking through,” he said.
“It was such a huge period in the club’s history and this issue is still in demand even today with people wishing to have a copy. There was also the issue ahead of our first game at the Olympic Stadium where we gave away 10,000 copies for free. It was such a brilliant edition, the sun was shining and the amount of feedback we had was remarkable.
“Strangely, another proud achievement was reaching double figures. I remember another fanzine editor flicking through our first issue and telling me it was good but that we’d never make it to seven issues. It stayed with me for each and every issue until we got to10 and I felt like I’d got one over him.”