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February issue available online and in stores

The new WSC is out now, in all good newsagents or available to order from the WSC shop. Inside it has Charles Morris explaining the emotion pinball Crewe fans are going through at the moment, while Stephen Jewell and Seb Patrick examine the state of football comics, and Huw Richards takes a trip to Loftus Road for a clash between two clubs who have seen better days. Elsewhere we focus on two non-League clubs on the up in North Yorkshire and a Labour politician explains how football can help refugees.

Selling football shirts: The value of star names & Southampton’s kit disasters | A new team in Liverpool | Harry Pearson finds some new comedy material | Swansea – a story of decline | Crewe and the abuse scandal | The game revives in Cuba | Brazilian giants relegated | Lincoln adjust to success | Dundalk shine in Europe | Cristiano Ronaldo make the Ballon d’Or his own | Hull and Hartlepool in crisis | Minors on the move too young | Online rumours and false news | Focus on Tommy Lawton | Season in brief: Sam Allardyce’s Notts County promoted | I was there: An emotional day at Ipswich | Alvechurch v Highgate United photos

360 MOTM

QPR 0 Aston Villa 1 Two clubs who have seen better days

An elegiac air seems to hang over Loftus Road a week before Christmas. It is in part the time of year, the last home match of 2016. Or maybe it is me, returning to old haunts. Pitching up in Shepherd’s Bush in 1983 meant that Queens Park Rangers were for a long time that standard attribute of the provincial fan living in the capital, the London team you watch as a substitute for deeper but less accessible allegiances. Buy here to read the full article

360 Crewe

Questioning your faith Crewe Alexandra

It is the worst of times to be a Crewe Alexandra supporter. Embroiled at the centre of British football’s sex-abuse scandal, the club’s future is threatened and their followers have been left ricocheting between emotions like a pinball. My initial reactions ranged from shock, sympathy for the victims, sadness and concern for an institution that is part of my family history. Fans of other clubs should brace themselves for similar experiences, given the vast number apparently affected by this terrible blight. Buy here to read the full article

360 comics

Stripped bare Football comics

Rebellion, the publishers of the long-running weekly 2000 AD, recently bought the considerable comic back catalogue of another publisher, IPC. One of the effects will be that Roy Race’s classic strips will soon be reprinted. But the creators of today’s football comics are venturing way beyond Roy of the Rovers’ traditional formulas, mixing football with other genres in order to appeal to modern-day audiences. While John Wagner and Dan Cornwell’s Rok of the Reds delves into science fiction territory, writer/artist David Millgate’s Jackboot and Ironheel finds a West Ham United striker from 1939 becoming embroiled in a ghostly conspiracy during the Second World War. Buy here to read the full article

360 HarrogateTown 

Northern exposure Non-League in North Yorkshire

There are 26 spa towns in England and Wales. Some, such as Bath and Royal Tunbridge Wells, still trade on reputations made during their Georgian heyday when the well-to-do would arrive to take the waters by the horse and coach-load. Others such as Shearsby in Leicestershire and Askern (just outside Doncaster, in case it ever comes up in a pub quiz) have long since faded into obscurity. But what they all have in common is a long-standing aversion to footballing success. Between them, Britain’s spa towns can muster just 27 seasons of senior football over the last 125 years: the sum total of Cheltenham Town and Scarborough’s stays in the Football League. Buy here to read the full article

WSC is the only nationally available independent football magazine in the UK, and you can get it monthly for a very reasonable £3.50. You should be able to find a copy in your local newsagent, otherwise outlets that stock WSC include WH Smith, mainline train stations plus selected Tescos. If you're having trouble finding the magazine, you could do one of the following:

1. Subscribe now and also get access to the complete digital archive
2. Buy the latest issue direct from WSC
3. Sign up for our digital edition and apps for iPhone, iPad and Android
4. Email us
5. Ask your local newsagent to order it for you

QPR photo by Simon Gill, Crewe illustration by Adam Doughty, Harrogate photo by Colin McPherson

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