Layth’s TAKE

“I’m just emailing round to let people know that yet again, as of Monday we have yet another price increase!! Papers are going up from anything between 10-50%...” Imagine our surprise when this dropped into our inbox at Gooner Towers from our printers. The cost of printing the fanzine has increased six times over the last 18 months. We now face further uncertainty coming from yet another disturbing price hike. Our printing costs are now more than a third higher than they were at the start of the pandemic. By rights we should be charging at least an extra £10, perhaps even £15 on our yearly £30 UK subscribers’ price – but we’re steadfastly refusing to do so because of your loyalty when we needed it. What we’d also say it’s not the printers fault. Things cost more. We’ve got a great relationship with our printers and have done for years. We do shop around and they’re by far the cheapest suppliers - so we attach no blame whatsoever to them. FIGHTING PRINTING COSTS HIKE Despite the printing cost increases, we’ll be attempting to absorb them over the next 12 months and pray there won’t be any more as the Gooner coffers are bare. However, we refuse to charge our loyal subscribers a penny more for next season as a way of saying thank you for standing by us in our hour of need. How we’ll do it we’re not quite sure, but it’s point of principle - you were there for us when we needed you, so it’s only fair we don’t pass on price rises when budgets are strained. DIRECT DEBIT SUBSCRIBERS A gentle reminder to our direct debit subscribers you’ll see your sub for the 2022/23 season taken out over the coming weeks, if it hasn’t already. We put in place a direct debit system last season so we could plan for the future - also meaning we wouldn’t have to go cap in hand to our loyal readers this season – so if there is any way you can let it roll over, please do. NO PRICE RISES FOR 2022/23 We know everyone is squeezed and every penny counts, but we’ve had a few cancellations, hitting our budget hard. We understand times are hard – however, if there’s any way you can continue to subscribe through the direct debit scheme it’ll ensure we can continue operating at current levels. We offer great value at only 8p a day – so if you can continue to subscribe it’s vitally important to our long-term future. WILLOW AND THE GOONER: THE PERFECT MATCH On a happier note, we’re delighted to announce the brilliant Willow Foundation is now the Gooner’s official charity. We’ll be sharing details of how you can get involved shortly, suffice to say I’ve signed up to run the Edinburgh half-marathon a week after the Everton game.

CONTENTS CHARLES WATTS In conversation with Nick Hornby 6

LE GROVE The long-term plan 8

WILLOW FOUNDATION The Gooner Fanzine’s official Charity partner 12

TREVOR HILL My trip to Ukraine 22

HIGHBURY SPY The Spy’s latest musings 28

DAVID FENSOME Football stadiums and lasting memories 32

DAVID SQUIRES Financial Fair Play and what happens next 40

ALISTAIR COLEMAN The Cursed Gooner & Antonio Conte’s Diary 60