From the archives – WIE 20 (Part 1)

Hello everyone [jumps off hamster wheel), here we are again with another dip into the WIE archive. This week we jump forward ten issues to WIE 20, which hit the streets in September 1997.

WIE 20 cover

There are two things to note about the front cover. First, this comes from a time when – for a short while – WIE had a cartoonist. And boy we could do with having another one, so if you have that particular talent and would like to get involved in future editions of the fanzine please get in touch. The cartoon itself is a comment on the previous season’s home form when we suffered ten league defeats at PVR. If you look closely, each of the Native Americans depicted carries the name of one of our conquerors.

WIE 20 was a 24-page affair, which had only five contributors. My editorial was pretty downbeat and focused predominantly on Kevin Hales’ record up until that point as Wings manager. That record didn’t make for pretty reading, and I was fed up with it and chose not to hold back. Thankfully Tim’s predictions for the 1997/98 Conference season were up next to bring some humour to the proceedings. He didn’t get any of his predictions correct for the 1996/97 season, so we take it on trust that no WIE reader at the time was stupid enough to rush to the bookies off the back of this particular article. And, having just looked up the records for 1997/98, I can confirm that they proved that neither Tim nor I know anything (funny that). The Wings finished 10th with 60 points, which not only made my editorial look, ahem, somewhat misguided but also knocked into a cocked hat Tim’s prediction of us finishing next to bottom and relegated. He predicted Stevenage to win it (they finished 15th), while Halifax finished top of the pile (against his predicted 15th), so at least his folly had some symmetry about it. Anyway, moving swiftly on…

Tim’s crazy predictions were followed by three short articles; one proposing a play-off system of sought, a Mystic Meg parody (“Welling United fans, you will experience further hair loss in April…”); and a comment piece on the Wings appearance in an episode of They Think It’s All Over. Meanwhile the centre-page spread included a cartoon strip titled ‘Wheel of Chance”, which was a comment on the club’s dealings in the transfer market. We will bring you that separately tomorrow.

“The Diary of a Madman, Aged 28½” which looked at the club’s performance over the summer (spoiler alert … it wasn’t great), before the issue was completed with Tim’s month-by-month review of the previous season’s fun and games. Happy days. Or not.

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