In an astounding publicity coup way back in January 1998, the Ed was interviewed by
Paul Braithwaite on Radio Cumbria. The following is an edited transcript of that interview...


The Ed of G'EB! interviewed by Radio Cumbria

  • 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 going?
    Since New Year's Day 1990 for the home game against Darlington.

  • 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 Saturday Comes.

  • So how often is Give 'Em Beans! published?
    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 all.

  • 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 autobiography.

  • 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 Reverend Wrightwally.

  • 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 whatever?
    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 thin.

  • You've been through some thin times with Barrow, then?
    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 constructive?
    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 see?
    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.

  • It 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 it.

  • 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 is!
    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 suppose.
    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