Football magazines ask the questions we all want answered. Like: `Why aren't there more Giggsy photographs this week?'

If you are looking for someone to whip up a warm rocket and parmesan salad with coarse-grain mustard vinaigrette, don't ask Andy Sinton.

In this week's Match magazine, the Sheffield Wednesday winger is pictured standing in the germ-free, clutter-free, oddly food-free kitchen of his large new executive home. Below the picture are his reported words: "Burgers and bangers on the barbecue I might be able to manage, but you won't catch me in here too often."

Meanwhile, over the page, Stig Inge Bjrnebye of Liverpool - or as he is known in the stands at Old Trafford, Stig of the Dump - is pictured in his similarly spotless large new executive home. Clearly something has been lost in the translation of some of the questions the Norwegian full-back has been asked: "Do you find the Liverpool sense of humour really funny?" is one. "Definitely," is the answer. "All we do in training is joke about with each other, and someone's always getting picked on."

Recently football, graceless and grumbling, has moved from the back pages of the newspapers to the front. Since the scandal seams of the Royal Family, Hollywood and pop stars have been mined close to exhaustion, football has taken their place.

Any scandal will do: dull, suburban philandering; recreational drugs; brown envelopes; kung-fu fighting; taxi interior re-design. And it doesn't matter how uninspiring the scandal or how insignificant the perpetrator. As long as it is a footballer, should he trangress then he will find himself spread across the front page of the News of the World. David Seaman, the Arsenal goalkeeper, has been so exposed. That's how little charisma matters.

To the corporate mind, if football is assumed to sell newspapers, so it follows that it must sell magazines. Over the last few years, a whole plethora of new publications dedicated to the subject have bloomed on newsagents shelves. Most of them (except, for obvious reasons, Liverpool Reds) seem to sell by including the words Manchester and United on their cover every edition. Which may be why Manchester United Magazine sells over 100,000 copies a month.

These magazines, however, have a different sales pitch to the newspapers. It is an upbeat agenda they promote, as antiseptically clear of sleaze and crud as Mrs Sinton's work surfaces. In this orbit, everyone wins trophies and no one loses their rag. Welcome to the Hello world of football.

Match is the UK's highest-selling football magazine. According to Barry Venison - pictured this week reading a back issue while sporting knitwear even Noel Edmonds would consider ill-advised - it sells 185,000 copies (although there may be a significant drop as this week's Gratuitous Ryan Giggs Picture Count stands at a meagre four).

Match clearly prides itself on its light-hearted approach to the game. Like those shots of celebs in Sunday supplements, each week it includes a spread of pictures of its readers' heroes, with allegedly humorous captions. One snap this week is of a player being massaged on the physio's table, complete with the rupture-inducing gag-line: "A Wimbledon youngster having his artificial leg attached prior to the FA Youth Cup semi-final."

And if you think that's about as funny as Little and Large, check out the latest Football Monthly (Gratuitous Ryan Giggs Picture Count: one). Here the reader is confronted by a picture of Vinnie Jones holding a shotgun, captioned: "Well, Vinnie Jones always did want to be a big shot."

More telling, perhaps, is the snap in Four Four Two magazine (GRGPC: two). This features several Manchester United players flourishing their personalised car number-plates. There's Giggsy with G1GSY, Andy Cole with 9 AC, and Peter Schmeichel with 45 PS (not pictured: P45, belonging to David May). The caption, hinting at a more newspapery view of the game, suggests that some Premiership squads do not have such a pressing need for personalised plates, since so many of their number are disqualified from driving.

As if to underline the clean and tidy footie world of the mags, however, no fewer than three of the most recent editions carry interviews with Gary Lineker, generally referred to as Mr Nice Guy. In Match, Sheffield Wednesday's Mark Bright (or to give him his full Match byline, Brighty) asks the great Radio Five Live anchorman several questions he must have thought hard about before answering.

For example: "What would you say you most miss about playing football?" Answer: "The one thing that's irreplaceable is the buzz of scoring, the moment of elation." And: "Why didn't you ever contemplate going into management?" Answer: "Even the most successful managers tend to be a bit miserable."

By an odd coincidence, Lineker is asked whether he would like to be a manager in Four Four Two. Answer: "Alex Ferguson's probably the most successful manager in the country and does he look happy?" Also, he is asked what he misses most about playing the game. Answer: "I miss the buzz of scoring. That's irreplaceable."

It is left to Total Sport (GRGPC: two) to put to Graham Taylor's No 1 fan the really testing inquiry: "Do you do the Lottery?" To which the reply is: "No. Good question though. One I've never been asked before. Congratulations." Gary Lineker in sarcastic quip shock. The News of the World could make hay with that one.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
people
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Arts and Entertainment
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit director Peter Jackson with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
film
News
people
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Manufacturing Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a rare opportunity for ...

Recruitment Genius: Conveyancing Fee Earner / Technical Support

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced Fee Earner/Techn...

Recruitment Genius: Receptionist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This law firm is seeking a happy, helpful and ...

The Jenrick Group: Production Supervisor

£26000 - £29000 per annum + Holidays & Pension: The Jenrick Group: Production ...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'