The CUSC London Branch’s Hit The Bar! fanzine has been entertaining blues fans across the world for over four decades, but with a return to the terraces still a little way off the Branch has made the latest issue freely available online for fans to read and enjoy from home.
Issue 311 of what is one of the longest running fanzines in the country was originally planned for release on Good Friday to coincide with the United’s trip to Salford City.
Whilst we will have to wait a little longer to tick that ground off our list of Football League stadia, the delay has led to a unique issue of Hit The Bar! which blends content from the first few months of the year with some more retrospective pieces, submitted by fans who have found themselves with a little more time on their hands on a Saturday afternoon of late!
The regular features remain in place with the Brunton Park Diary taking us through the final few weeks before the suspension of match action, a word from the Editor, John Bowman, and an update on the Branch’s latest funding contributions to the Club.
The issue hears from Craig Milne on his journey to completing ‘The 92’ at Cambridge as well as a report on how the Branch’s own football team fared on that day.
There’s also a look back as Richard Perry recalls the day the blues took on and beat the sky blues of Manchester City, David Brown reflects more recently at how a night out in Shepherd’s Bush led to another in Liverpool, whilst Ken Hullock ponders a world without football (or Mrs Brown’s Boys…), Mike Carruthers turns to his bookshelf and Peter Smithson gets all philosophical by considering Carlisle United’s “rightful place” in the football pyramid.
An organisation for exiled supporters’ of Carlisle United, the CUSC London Branch was founded in Earls Court in west London in 1974. Not long afterwards Hit The Bar! was started as a single sheet of paper intended to keep members up to date with the Branch’s activities.
Much has changed since those days - the publication is no longer hand-produced on a copying machine in the Editors’ back room, many of the more timely updates have moved to the Branch’s weekly members’ virtual Hit The Bar! e-newsletter, whilst the printed Hit The Bar! is now in full colour and intended as something to be enjoyed by all fans be they in Carlisle or further afield. It remains true to its roots though - a fanzine produced by the fans, for the fans.
Discussing the latest issue and the decision to make it freely available to all fans, London Branch Information Officer, Jamie Grubb, said: “We’re all missing that feeling of being on the terraces and the excitement of a match day right now, but as we have been reminded recently with CUOSC’s fantastic Carlisle REUnited campaign we remain one big football family who are united by a common love. That’s why we felt it was important not just to carry on with the plans for Hit The Bar! but also to make it as widely available as possible.
“We hope United fans everywhere enjoy this issue, that it helps to bring a little dose of normality and also the opportunity not just to look back on some good times but also to look forward to when we can all be back out there supporting the team on a Saturday afternoon as normal. In the mean time, on behalf of all in the London Branch, we hope everyone is staying safe at this time."
Issue 311 of Hit The Bar! is available as a PDF to download for free HERE.
A very limited number of copies will also be available for purchase for the regular price of £1 from the Blues Store once it re-opens, should any fans also like a physical copy to complete their collection!