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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Business Development Manager / Sales

£30 - 40k (£65k Y1 OTE Uncapped): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Business Deve...

Guru Careers: Graduate Media Assistant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...

Guru Careers: Solutions Consultant

£30 - 40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Solutions Consultan...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before