Happy Days fanzine began life as an idea by Niall Rudd for a one-off production back in early 2005 to coincide with Northern Ireland’s away game against England at Old Trafford. As members of the North of England NISC, the magazine was one of several different activities our club got involved with to help ‘host’ fellow Norn Iron fans in our adopted patch.
Nial Coulter quickly got on board and we used our contacts at the Sunderland fanzine ‘A Love Supreme’ for guidance and design work as we looked to get started. We wanted our mag to have more of a matchday programme look, in full colour, and something different from previous Norn Iron fanzines.
The first issue went well, so we produced a second that September for the return game, which of course we won! Healy 1-0. That led to demand for a third issue the following game and we became a regular feature from then on.
Since then, and in line with marriages, kids and work commitments, we’ve cut back to focusing on producing one issue a year, printed every Autumn, as that period covers as many as six international matches. We’ve produced a total of 19 issues to date. Issue 20 was due this year…
Nial Coulter stepped up to co-editor for the Euro 2016 issue and in 2018, we added a third co-editor, Blake Welton. Blake is a freelance journalist and Northern Ireland fan and was keen to come on board after being a regular contributor through the years. Blake knows it’s his Happy Days work that got him the gig at Sky Sports…
All our content is fan written, and it helps that a couple of our regular GAWA contributors have journalistic backgrounds. We sell the mag on matchdays, online and in a number of shops.
We certainly don’t take the traditional fanzine approach of ‘sack the board’ which was commonplace back in the 90s, but at the same time we don’t pander – If there is an issue such as the stadium debate back in the mid-2000s then we discuss it.
We have a number of core aims:
- To offer fans a platform to write about the GAWA
- To promote the passionate support and behaviour of Northern Ireland fans – in particular the Sea of Green and Football For All campaigns
- To bring original stories, features and interviews to our fellow fanbase
After 15 years we’re still as enthusiastic as ever about the Northern Ireland international football teams. Niall, Nial and Blake are now EFL DataCo accredited media which will help us bring you even better content.
We’re looking forward to having Jacob and Everywhere We Go on board as we team up and look to the next chapter in our GAWA adventure!
And if any of these back issues catch your eye, we have some still available and will have them for sale in our online shop at a price that basically covers the postage and packing.