Keep an eye out for Forty-20

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In the early eighties two new magazines had me haunting the local WH Smiths on a monthly basis hunting the latest issue. The first of these was Gridiron UK (a stash of the first 28 issues of which still reside in my loft), as an active player at the time it was essential reading.

The second was Harry Edgar’s Open Rugby magazine. I devoured it.

Now I’m looking forward to another new RL title, with Forty-20 set to hit the news stands on Wednesday 13th July.

The mag is the brainchild of Scratching Shed Publishing Ltd co-founders Tony Hannan and Phil Caplan who caught my ear when they said:
“We aim to build a reputation for quality writing from a different range of perspectives and are looking to recapture the zeal and excitement of the original Open Rugby, but with a magazine tailored to the 21st century.”

I’m all for that and also look forward to too another of their assertions bearing fruit, with the co-founders also stating: “We think there is a demand within rugby league for a different type of product, not to mention an alternative editorial voice.”

League Publications and League Weekly continue to do a great job but it’ll be refreshing too to have a new slant on the game and its progress.

These are exciting times in the international development of rugby league and more people need to be aware of the advances that are being made to spread the game in Europe, the USA, and in the Middle East.

Forty-20 will initially run at 48 pages and features thought-provoking articles by some of the game’s most respected writers and best-known personalities – including former Bradford, Wigan, Crusaders and Great Britain coach Brian Noble, Castleford star Richard Mathers and St Helens’s Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook – with more to follow.

It will have face-to-faceinterviews with Rugby League’s most engaging characters, be they in the European Super League, Australasian NRL or anywhere else in the world.
“In Forty-20 magazine we intend to value every rugby league club or nation whatever their geography or playing standard, from Barrow to Brighton, Bradford to Belgrade, Perpignan to Parramatta to Papua New Guinea,” added Hannan, the magazine’s editor-at-large.

“We will be offering a wide-ranging and open-minded publication that is bright and witty, punchy and intelligent. We will grapple with the big debates and explore front-line and behind the scenes issues. We will take rugby league seriously, but not too seriously.

“And given how Forty-20 is a rugby league magazine for the 21st century, we will also encourage the talents of young and aspiring writers, photographers and illustrators.”

Managing editor Caplan went on: “We have been incredibly heartened by the number of advance subscriptions taken out, which is an indication that there is a need for a different perspective reflecting the sport. Their geographical spread – from Barnsley to Newport, Kirkintilloch to Barnstable, New South Wales to Milton Keynes – is further evidence of its current wider appeal that we will endeavour to cater for.”

Forty-20 will be released the 13th day of every month – an appropriate number for rugby league. Priced £2.95, it will be available from newsagents and on line via An app edition and a free associated monthly podcast – Twenty-40 – are also in development.