Almanack: Every time a winner in Bath

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The Independent Online
RUGBY in Bath has attracted plenty of media attention in recent years. In fact the only under-publicised aspect of the club is its own member of the Fourth Estate: the fanzine, Everytime Ref, Everytime], thought to be the only publication of its kind in the land.

Glen Leat, who co-edits ERE with his fellow fan Clive Banks, reports plenty of interest in club rugby's only such publication, named after a favourite crowd exclamation. 'We distribute about 600 copies of every issue', he says, 'and it seems to be sent all over the world.' One reason for its enduring popularity (this weekend's edition is Number 12) may be that ERE is given away free; another may be the accuracy of its editorial: 'Don't you just hate', runs one spot-on comment, 'the condescending applause that greets the decision to run the ball by a team getting stuffed?' It's the sort of question you would expect in Bath's fanzine.

But where is the opposition? Dan Jackson, fanzine expert at the London bookshop Sports Pages, points to rows of soccer examples and other publications dedicated to baseball, American Football and rugby league, and admits that he's never seen a fanzine from a rugby union club. 'Perhaps the game attracts a different type of fan', he speculates. Almanack shows him a copy of ERE. What does he think? 'It's a bit sparse', he says, 'a little short of content compared to a classic soccer fanzine like Brian Moore's Head. But it's the first of its kind and that must be a good sign.'

The presence of slick, professionally produced rugby league magazines already established in the marketplace and on sale for money could mean controversy in the offing. Would Glen Leat, offered a good enough deal by, say, Warrington's Wally Lewis is Coming, switch codes? 'No, no, no,' he says. 'I was born in Bath. Bath is it. It has to be Bath. But . . .' He ponders a moment. 'I do enjoy rugby league. In fact, I've been to Wembley to see the Challenge Cup Final.' Another top-line defection in the offing?