Media Lifeline: Football titles

When it comes to magazines devoted to the nation's favourite sport, it really is a game of two halves.

1969: Charles Buchan's Football Monthly had been the first modern-style colour football magazine when it launched in 1951, but the golden era began following England's World Cup win in 1966. Jimmy Hill's Football Weekly launched in 1967, International Football Illustrated in 1968, both Shoot and Goal in 1969 and Inside Football in 1970. A shake-out followed in 1974 when Shoot and Goal merged, while Football Monthly folded.

1979: By the late 70s, the focus was on younger readers, and 1979 saw the launch of Emap's weekly, Match, to compete with IPC's Shoot. More sophisticated fare came in 1986 with When Saturday Comes; and, in 1994, with the launch of Haymarket's FourFourTwo.

1996: Now the BBC, recognising the revival in interest in football since the launch of the Premier League in 1992 (thanks to almost wall-to-wall live coverage on Sky) and mindful of the power of its Match of the Day brand, launches a masthead spin-off title. It's a weekly in roughly the same sort of market as Shoot and Match, but aims to capture a slightly older readership.

2001: But the magazine market hits a wall as the internet begins to bite and daily newspapers increase their football coverage, not least in weekly pull-out supplements. The younger end is hit by a steep decline in sales. Shoot responds by going monthly, Match by becoming more of a comic. Meanwhile, having been outbid for the Premier League highlights package, the BBC's Match of the Day is no longer on the air and its spin-off title is closed.

2008: BBC Magazines revives Match of the Day magazine, this time aimed at eight- to 14-year-olds. With a coverprice of £1.80, it will be twinned with a website. IPC immediately announces the relaunch of Shoot as a weekly, priced £1.80.

Fast forward ...

2010: Aggressive cross-promotion across the BBC's TV and radio outlets guarantees growing success for the Match of the Day franchise, forcing Shoot and Match to merge. Now the corporation seeks to launch a youth-oriented football initiative. It buys the rights to Roy of the Rovers and packages the franchise as a multimedia property with a magazine, a website, a computer game and a weekly animation slot on Blue Peter.