- A good result for Barrow yesterday as they beat
Lancaster 1-0. Someone who'll be over the moon about that
is Graham Murphy, editor of the Barrow fanzine, Give
'Em Beans! Good match was it, Graham?
Well it was more of a lottery, Paul. The conditions were
atrocious and I think both sets of players did very well
to play as much football as they did.
- Now you edit this fanzine about Barrow Football
Club, Give 'Em Beans! How long has it been
Since New Year's Day 1990 for the home game against
- When did you get involved in it?
I took over three years ago when the then editor, John
Postlethwaite, found that his computer wasn't working
properly and he no longer had the means to carry on. I'd
started contributing in 1992 with the odd piece of
rubbish. John asked if anyone else wanted to do it and in
a weak moment I said yes.
- It would be a weak moment as well because I know
what's involved in putting something like this together.
It must involve all of your spare time.
It does. I literally have to spend every spare minute
between coming home from work and going to bed to get the
next issue ready.
- Yes and it's full of loads of bits of information.
I've got your latest issue in front of me. Where do you
get all these snippets from?
I'm greatly indebted to a couple of sources. One is an
electronic newsletter which is run by a Barrow supporter
in New Zealand, Ralph Sheppard. He e-mails it to around
sixty or seventy Barrow fans who are on the Internet
(it's about six or seven hundred now. Ed.). About half of
what I find comes from Ralph's newsletter. The rest, its
just a case of keeping your eye open. Some of it comes
from the Evening Mail, some from the national
press and some from football magazines like When
- So how often is Give 'Em Beans!
Four times a year, once at the start of the season, once
at Christmas and once at Easter in the hope that that's
when the big crowds will flock to Holker St. And then we
publish once at some other time, maybe in November, maybe
in February depending on how confident I feel about
filling forty pages!
- How can you keep it topical?
By tearing my hair out and realising that something has
happened to render useless half of what I've written.
Some might say that that's a factor anyway but you just
have to do what you can. I try to go to print about a
week or so before an issue goes on sale. But very often
we can prepare a cover and find out at the last minute
it's been made redundant by recent events.
- How many contributors do you have?
Four main ones: Michael Gibson,
John Woods, John
Postlethwaite and Ralph
Sheppard and without them it wouldn't exist at
- It's not just about Barrow either. You've got this
continuing story about Eric Cantona which I've got a
feeling is just a little bit tongue in cheek.
No, no, not at all! It's a secret
- A secret autobiography?
Well I don't think Eric Cantona knows he's written it
yet. I can assure you it's true. We thought it had a few
lessons for footballers whether they're professionals or
part-timers. And a lesson for all of us.
- Also, keeping it in the religious spirit, there's
the Rev. A Wrightwally's Thought for the Day. Is this
someone you go to regularly for inspiration?
He's a cleric who's in danger of being defrocked if he
hasn't been already. He comes up with some gems. It's
really a skit on Radio Four's 'Today' programme's
'Thought for the Day' and I thought I could turn that
around to football. And that's how we came up with the
- Is it easy to keep in touch with what's going on
with the Barrow club?
No it isn't. It's very, very difficult. I rely on my
occasional visits to Barrow to get back numbers of the
Evening Mail and on phone calls to other supporters to
find out what's happening. But it's very difficult to
keep in touch.
- Why have you kept loyal to Barrow? Without being
unkind, although they're doing very well at the moment
being top of the UniBond League, why don't you support a
club like Manchester United or Chelsea or
I don't think I could do that. If you're a true football
fan you follow the club from the town of your birth. It's
nothing to do with choice; you're born there so you
follow the local football team through thick and
- You've been through some thin times with Barrow,
When you follow Barrow you see a lot of thin times. We
always hope that the good times are just around the
corner. That's why I keep following them.
- Do you find it difficult to write something
Yes, it's very easy to be cynical. It's very easy to
think it's all going to go wrong again. And in trying to
make a bit of lighthearted fun you can end up being a
little too vindictive perhaps at times.
- This is very much an unofficial club magazine. How
do the club take to it?
I've got no idea. You're right, it's got nothing at all
to do with the club. It's just me and a couple of friends
who decided to carry it on. The financial risk is all
ours if it goes belly up and nobody buys it. I don't know
what the club thinks of it. We put copies in the souvenir
shop in the Sports and Leisure Club at Holker St. I don't
know if anyone from the club does buy them. I sold one to
our ex-Chairman, Stephen Vaughan, once. I've no idea what
he thought of it. He's never been in touch to tell me.
Maybe that's comment in itself!
- How many of Barrow's games do you get to
I try to see all the away games in Lancashire, Cheshire
and West Yorkshire. I see far more away games than I do
home games. Which has been a good thing this season given
their unbeaten away record so far.
- What future do you see for Barrow AFC? They're
doing all right at the moment. Do you think they'll be
going from strength to strength?
There's no question that one day they will regain their
rightful place in the Football League. All followers of
Barrow believe that to be the case.
must have been devastating when they dropped out of the
League. It was a close thing for Carlisle
United a few seasons ago.
It was and it was also a close thing for Wrexham, where I
live now. They almost dropped out not so long ago. But
when it happens it is absolutely devastating. At the time
it happened to Barrow it was like the end of the world.
Things are better now with the establishment of the
Conference and automatic promotion to the Football
League. But it was like dropping into the black abyss
when Barrow failed to secure re-election to the Fourth
Division in 1972. It's not as hard to get back in
nowadays and I'm quite sure that one day Barrow will do
- Do you have people from away who like to receive
Give 'Em Beans! and who follow Barrow because I
know round here there's a Stenhousemuir fan club. I don't
know why, but there is.
I suppose that just goes to show that there's sad people
all over the world!
- Absolutely! We don't even know where Stenhousemuir
We have subscribers all over the UK and we do send one or
two abroad and a couple of our subscribers are supporters
of other clubs, not Barrow.
- So what's going to be in the next issue of Give
'Em Beans!? You're looking quite a long way ahead, I
Yes, we'll have the next one coming out at Easter.
There's a number of articles on the stocks. My colleague
who does the layouts, Rex Ham, is not so keen on one of
the articles I'd like to put in. We're currently having a
big argument about whether it goes in or not.
- So this is a board meeting, is it?
It'll need a couple of board meetings to iron this one
out. But if you want to know what the article is about,
have a look at the next to last page of the current
issue. I'm sure there'll be one or two healthy
discussions about whether that article goes in or not
between now and Easter.
- What sort of response do you get? Do you get any
feedback from people who buy this. Do you get any
comments or any letters about what you've said?
Despite what people think, we don't make all of them up.
The letters we do get are always positive, which
surprises me. I would welcome some more negative comments
because it would keep us on our toes. People do write
some very nice things about the fanzine and I'm very
grateful and very appreciative of the fact that people
find it to be a worthwhile read.
- When can you see Barrow AFC at Wembley?
This year. I'm sure the team can repeat the success they
had in 1990.
- Well, we wish you good luck with it and good luck
to Barrow AFC.
Edited from issue 034 - April 1998