The Fans’ Paper

After leaving national newspapers full time, it was to start a new newspaper from scratch.

Actually, the idea was to start two new newspapers – Planet Hearts and Planet Hibs.

The plan was to provide dedicated papers for fans of Edinburgh’s two big football club’s which we felt were neglected by the local read, the Edinburgh Evening News, and treated with contempt by the majority of the national sports pages.

As it was, funding prevented both being launched. Yet as Hearts were flying high in the league and on a great run in the Scottish Cup (which they ultimately won) Planet Hearts was to become Planet Ink Ltd’s first title, with a Hibs title to follow.

Now, starting a newspaper isn’t exactly simple. As well as content and design, you have to arrange print deals, distribution agreements and persuade shops to stock it, let alone the publicity you need to generate, advertisers to find and so on.

It kicked off with some great success, meriting inclusion in other articles by the likes of the The Sun, Daily Record, Guardian Online, glossy magazine Arena and leading to regular appearances on talk107 radio and others

Sadly the club wasn’t on board as had been planned under the previous management of chief executive Phil Anderton and chairman Lord Foulkes who had been big supporters before they were forced out by the club’s new ownership.

Instead it was to all intents banned by the PR department who told us players would be fined if they gave interviews to Planet Hearts because they had their own magazine in The Beat to promote.

Someone else told me they simply didn’t like a product being on the streets that they had no control over, especially one that was prepared to take them to task when things went wrong. It was also blamed for a fall in programme sales and the poor results of The Beat.

So at the end of last season, with the team playing badly and no support from the club, we decided to put the project on ice rather than risk bringing out an inferior product which would only encourage falling sales and risk dying an undeserved death.

The shame is, Hearts missed a glorious chance to build bridges with supporters and fan groups through the paper which acted as an “umbrella” for them, a forum for all points of views about Hearts, complimenting the web based ones available but with the added incentive of interviews, posters, humour and so on.

Which is something they may miss now as they languish 10th in the league after a run of poor results.

Since, Planet Ink has gone from strength to strength and won awards without the heavy commitment involved in Planet Hearts, but in truth, we miss working on it and are always looking at if and when we should bring it back, be it in digital or printed format.

Which was why it was heartening to see a thread on fans forum Jambos Kickback today from some supporters themselves which demands bring back Planet Hearts amid calls for the likes of Save Our Hearts also to be rekindled.

Not everyone liked the paper, but there was a loyal readership at the core.

In these uncertain times for our club, as a fan, I’d like nothing better than to see PH back on the streets.

And with 2008 just around the corner, who knows what the New Year may bring.



Categories: Diary of a Hearts Fan, Planet Hearts

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