It is not the News of the World but it is the news of MY world. The closure of publishers Faragher Jones leaves the fate of Calcio Italia magazine in the balance. For me, it feels a bit like a death in the family.
I was there at the very outset, back in the day when Gazza signed for Lazio and Channel 4 brought Serie A into homes across the UK with a scream of "Golazzo!". What started out as a season preview followed by intermittent editions, quickly became a regular monthly publication. I admit to a feeling of pride at seeing my love of Italian football shared with so many people.
It seemed like a little bit of a personal triumph. I had been running a fanzine for some time and many of its alumni went on to appear in the pages of what was then Football Italia. I used to joke that Rigore! – which started on a word processor in my bedroom – had gone legit.
Those early editions had something of a missionary zeal to them – for me anyway. I had been preaching the Calcio gospel for years and now I had been given a platform. Incredibly, it seemed there were thousands of others who felt the same way.
The timing was perfect, really. There was still not a lot of football on television and Serie A was attracting the biggest stars in the game. A mix of stylish play, elaborate fan choreography and huge names had an irresistible appeal for many.
The magazine was the perfect companion to those Sunday afternoon screenings. It tried, I think, to embrace both newcomers to the Italian game and more seasoned spectators. Its long-time editor, John D Taylor, always aimed to ensure it was both informative and entertaining.
Times changed, of course, and more football poured into people's homes and Serie A schedule changes started to dilute the Channel 4 offering. Fewer of the big games were played on a Sunday afternoon and the televised matches started an itinerant existence. It saw them switch to Channel 5 and, most recently, ESPN.
At the same time Italian football itself lost a lot of its financial clout. Big name players started to choose other leagues and matchday attendances began to dwindle. Yet the magazine remained a constant through troubled times. It was there to chronicle Calciopoli, European exits and match-betting scandals. It was Serie A, warts and all.
I count myself fortunate, too, to have been part of a fine group of writers. Digging through back copies in my attic, their work has stood the test of time. Although I was geographically-isolated in my little corner of Scotland, I always felt like I was part of an outstanding "team". A brilliant bunch of guys and girls.
The latest (and last?) publishers had bright ideas for the future although they were not without pain. Many of the old team of writers were left behind – myself included for a time – in a bid to build up a new readership. It might have worked out, now we will never know.
Luckily for fans of Italian football in the UK, the Football Italia website remains very much alive. Last summer there was effectively a "divorce" with the magazine. It is still a home for many of the journalists who were part of the old publication.
This might sound like an obituary when it need not be, of course. Hopefully another publisher can step in and take the title forward – that would be the ideal solution. There is still a loyal band of readers out there who would sorely miss it. But times are tough for magazines.
Whatever the outcome, my thoughts over the next few weeks will be with a publication that has been close friend of mine over the last couple of decades or so. I might raise a glass or two with a warm glow of nostalgia for the fine writing and writers who graced its pages. If it is to be the end, I don't think I'll ever feel quite so proprietorial about a magazine ever again.
Football Italia magazine, Calcio Italia magazine, call it what you will – I toast your memory, in the hope you might yet rise again.