At Work With: Kie Carew, Pog Mo Goal
New Irish magazine Póg Mo Goal (Kiss My Goal) combines two current trends in independent publishing, being a football magazine that’s developed from an existing website. The site has been published online from Dublin for the last four years, initially covering local football but expanding to provide international coverage. As the brothers behind the project prepare to launch the print edition, we look ahead at the week with designer/co-editor Kie Carew.
What can you see from the window?
I can see the floodlights of Tolka Park, home of Shelbourne FC who play in Ireland's first division. When I leave my apartment block I can see Croke Park, the home of the GAA (the Gaelic Athletic Association). The local residents around the stadium have posters in their windows in support of the “Stop the Croke Park Concert Madness” campaign protesting Garth Brook’s marathon five night stint. They don't seem to be protesting One Direction’s upcoming concerts at the venue however.
Are you a morning or evening person?
I’d say I’m a bit of both, after a week of working I’m happy to get up early on a Saturday and Sunday to work on Pog Mo Goal. Doing updates and updating my fantasy football team of course. But equally happy to be up late during the week if I need to work on the magazine or site. When you are working on something you are passionate about it’s easy to do the hours.
What’s your favourite (other) football magazine this morning? And favourite team?
I’m a massive fan of the Green Soccer Journal. I love that it treats football and fashion the same way, that they are not independent of each other. The photo essays are always incredibly shot and they are not afraid to experiment with a winning format.
I also subscribe to Howler which started out from a Kickstarter campaign in the US. The shape and size is a pleasure to hold in your hands. The spreads are always really interestingly designed and the subject matter the magazine explores is always entertaining. The growth of the game in America is exciting to see and writers like Robert Andrew Powell make it one of my favourite football magazines.
I grew up less than a mile away from Buckley Park in Kilkenny which was the home of Kilkenny City FC. Saturday nights before we discovered underage drinking were spent watching the team go from having the worst record in Europe to claiming promotion and the first division title within three years. It’s a crime of the Football Association of Ireland that they allow clubs like Kilkenny City to go to the wall.
Like most people in Ireland I grew up supporting a team in England also and am aware of the contrasting principles of supporting an English side. But in 1993 Sheffield Wednesday were in both the Coca Cola Cup and FA Cup finals. With his shirt untucked and his languid style I became a massive Chris Waddle fan. I read that when he signed for the Owls from Marseille the manager Trevor Francis had the Hillsborough pitch widened to accommodate the classy wingers style of play. Wednesday lost both finals to Arsenal (my brothers’ favourite team) which should have been an omen as to what I would endure as an Owls fan for the next twenty-one years.
Póg Mo Goal is a new magazine about football; what will it bring that’s different to existing football mags?
In Ireland there is sometimes an inferiority complex when it comes to football. Our domestic league suffers from being located so close to the behemoth that is the English Premier League with most fans here preferring a day-trip to England or watching ‘Match of the Day’ over attending live games. We are constantly telling ourselves that our country does not produce the calibre of players to compete on the world stage and we wax lyrical about tiki-taka versus parking the bus from the comfort of our bar stools.
The Póg Mo Goal magazine is a global magazine with Irish roots and treats the game here the same as we do the game in Germany, the US or Brazil. We have a story about fan owned clubs in Ireland and on the following pages we have the story of German team Schalke and the four-minute championship in 2001. We have the story of the first time Ireland played under the name the Republic, following the split from Football Association in the North and on the next pages cover the rebirth of the New York Cosmos playing in the NASL in America. We have photographer Gabriel Uchida who follows ultras in Brazil and illustrator Dave Merrell from Manchester alongside Dan Leydon from Ireland. It is a publication focused on considered design and great quality writing from around the globe.
Football fans sometimes get a negative reputation but the magazines we love do not pander to stereotypes and don't talk down to their readers. We aim to do the same. We treat football fans with the respect and intelligence they sometimes do not receive. They can be equally interested in what design studio created the numbers on the back of the Barcelona shirt and what inspired the typeface as being interested in.
What encouraged you to make a magazine rather than a website?
Well Póg Mo Goal is already a website, I'm co-founder with my brothers, one of whom has just moved from London to Hamburg to work for the Bundesliga website. The site started out around four years ago and was initially devoted to the Irish national team but has evolved to encompass everything football related from around the world. Design, opinion, kits, featured writing as well as ongoing series. We now have links with South America for Copa Libertadores highlights, writers from around the globe covering MLS, Premier League, League of Ireland, the Bundesliga and more. We focus on fan culture, as well as the design of equipment and the latest gear. Ive always loved magazines and print and this is just the next logical step for Póg Mo Goal. We want the site and the magazine to run side by side.
As you complete your launch edition, what have you learned about publishing that you would like to pass on to others considering making a magazine?
Don’t assume that everyone will understand your vision. Don’t assume that advertising will pay for the printing. To many companies, print is definitely dead.
Don’t forget your reasons for doing the magazine when you are in the process of producing it. Take a step back and re-assess why you wanted to do the mag in the first place and what your aims were for doing it. It’s easy to get sidetracked when the logistics of production and costs start to get in your way, but try to remember your original goal.
What are you most looking forward to this week?
Receiving the magazines from Newspaper Club in the UK.
What are you least looking forward to this week?
Paying my rent.
What will you be doing after this chat?
We are bringing out a set of limited edition t-shirts with the front cover graphic on them for the launch of the magazine. So I’ve got to collect them from the printers and bring them down to a little old lady in a dry cleaners on Wellington Quay who sews on our labels for us.