In the final issue that went on sale outside Old Trafford at the game against Southampton yesterday, the fans behind the cult publication said: “The game we’ve been clinging onto is gone. Football now is happy-clappy families, half-and-half scarves, tourists and selfie sticks; there’s no point trying to fight that.”
The fanzine began 26 years ago and has produced 295 editions. Various contributors and its joint founder ‘Zar’ announced the decision to close on Friday.
Referring to the state of modern football, the final editorial said: “We’ve been through all these points and arguments over and over again during the last 20-odd years raging against the killing of a culture that’s long been deceased.
“A United employee told us on Warwick Road recently, ‘Everyone in the club offices reads Red Issue. It’s like the antidote to working there’.
“But where’s our antidote? The Bullshit Industry’s become overbearing, and we can’t stand the stench any longer.”
Columnist ‘Mr Spleen’ added: “You can only kick against the pricks for so many years before the toe caps on your boots wear out.”
Financial issues have caused numerous fanzines to fold over the last decade, however Red Issue said on its Twitter account on Saturday: “To clarify some readers’ queries: RI isn’t under any financial pressure & sales-wise remains a viable entity. Thanks for the concern.”
The decision to end the fanzine, revered by a legion of United supporters, leaves Red News and United We Stand, established in 1987 and 1989 respectively, as the club’s remaining fanzines.
With its Private Eye-inspired covers, Red Issue emerged as a valuable mouthpiece for United fans in the late 80s.
Aside from its monthly editions, the fanzine played a pivotal role in the defeat of Rupert Murdoch’s attempted takeover via his bSkyb company during the 1998-99 season and vociferously campaigned against United’s current owners, the Glazer family.
Its creators and contributors also pulled off daring stunts at the grounds of United’s fiercest rivals Liverpool, City and Leeds.
During the last derby at Maine Road in November 2002, a banner was unfurled and passed around the Kippax Stand by City fans that read: ‘Manchester is red’.
City won the match 3-1, memorable for Gary Neville’s error that gifted Shaun Goater his winner, yet Red Issue’s coup was captured by cameras.
Leeds fans were goaded over the club’s decision to sell Eric Cantona to United in 1992 with paper aeroplanes with ‘Thank you for Eric’ scrawled on them. And in 2011, the fanzine conjured up a unique way to celebrate United’s 19th championship that took them past Liverpool’s 18 titles.
The day after United’s 1-1 draw at Blackburn clinched the league, one supporter attended Liverpool’s home fixture with Tottenham and draped a banner over advertising hoardings in the Anfield Road End’s second tier.
The banner read: ‘MUFC 19 times’. The intrepid Red was almost overwhelmed by a ‘tsunami of phlegm’ but had a getaway car waiting outside Anfield.