If you've not read a copy of Mundial Magazine, stumbled across one of their many viral Twitter posts or attended one of their killer launch parties, then you're really missing out. We caught up with Dan Sandinson to find out what it takes to put one of football's most popular mags together.
IBWM: For those who don't know what or who Mundial Magazine is, tell us a bit about it.
It's a football magazine about all the bits of football that we actually like, that doesn't take itself too seriously.
There are loads of great football magazines, lots of brilliant websites that cover the games, goals, transfers and tactics of football, but we started MUNDIAL because we thought there were more people like us who'd feel more at home reading about Javier Zanetti's intimidating hairline, communes in Copenhagen and Roberto Baggio's Diadora boots. It's boiling it down to the minutiae of the game, the things that made us fall in love with it, this means we get quite sentimental sometimes, but there's so a lot of negativity and cynicism surrounding football in 2017, so it's nice to be able to celebrate the things that bring us genuine joy.
It's not for everyone and it never will be, but there's an element of football support that simply wasn't being catered for in print, and to a certain degree online, and we like to think we do that.
IBWM: Talk to us about your journey. How did you get to this point and who're the people behind it?
We started for the World Cup in 2014 and it was meant to be a one-off. We printed 2014 copies and they were all individually numbered and each had the name of one a player who had appeared at the World Cup printed on the front. We thought it would be a nice collectible item and then we could all go back to our real jobs. I think they sold out in about a week.
Brands started to contact us asking us when the next issue was out, and we didn't know how to tell them that we weren't doing one, so we just carried on. Sam & Owen came on board and thats when things really stepped up a gear. Their experience in editorial completely transformed what we were as a magazine, and brought us closer to where we are today. It was all a bit messy at first, and done around other jobs, but we kept getting issues out and our subscriber numbers kept growing. This went on for about two and a half years, and then stuff started to get serious.
It's nice to know people value what we do enough to part with their money four times a year, it means we go to work every day and can try and make the next issue better. If you've got the first few issues you'll notice that we are trying things out, we were figuring out what MUNDIAL was, and I think we've finally hit upon that now. Hopefully people agree.
IBWM: Mundial has a certain style and tone, why do you think that’s important and how do you maintain it at all times?
We think it's great that people think we have a certain tone of voice, and that it resonates with our audience and annoys people outside of that, but the truth is that we don't put too much thought into it. We write like we speak, and that's probably where it comes from. Everyone at MUNDIAL has their own reasons for doing it, but I think the first place I saw someone writing in that style was Mark Smith on Oi Polloi's website and in ProperMag about 10 years ago. It was genuinely revolutionary to me back then, and I just nicked it because I didn't really know how to write any other way.
IBWM: You’re 10 issues in. What has been the highlight?
Issue 10 was a huge landmark. As I've said, we were only meant to do one issue and it's become so much bigger than we ever anticipated, so that was very important to us to get there. There are highlights every week though, we get to meet our heroes, travel the world to watch football and go to work every day with our best mates, it's honestly a privilege.
IBWM: Football fans are spoilt for choice these days, by both professional and indy outlets, what would you say to those starting out or to other indy outlets that want to emulate your success?
I'm not sure we're a success story just yet, we've got a long way to go, but I think a mix of being cheeky and asking for help is always a good start. With Twitter and Instagram it's so much easier to contact people who have been there and done whatever it is you are trying to achieve. If it was still just me and Seb (co-founder) doing this we'd be fucked, but we reached out to people who could help us with things we didn't have a clue about. Some of these people are now integral parts of the MUNDIAL team, because we took them for a pint, asked for some advice and it turned out we had a load in common.
We owe a massive debt of gratitude to people like James Kirkham at Copa90 who has really helped us out over the last 18 months, Gary Aspden and Mike Chetcuti at adidas have been integral to what we're trying to achieve, Mark Leech at our photo agency (WellOffside has) been a godsend, and there are countless friends who have stuck their neck out for us. We certainly haven't got to where we are by being embarrassed to ask for help and advice, I think that's important.
IBWM: What next for Mundial magazine? You’ve come so far in just 10 issues, do you have big plans for the future?
We do have big plans, yeah. The last twelve months has been properly full-on and it's hard to keep up sometimes, but there's a World Cup rolling around terrifyingly fast, so we are getting stuff in place for that. More of the same, more frequently and hopefully on a bigger scale. We can't really talk about any of it yet, but it's going to be ace.
Issue 11 of Mundial Magazine is out now. You can buy it here.
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