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URBAN75: ABOUT US
The origins of the site go back to 1993, when the editor launched a political football comic Bluebird Jones, based around the trials and tribulations of being a Cardiff City fan.
Bluebird Jones football comic
The self published comic ended up becoming the fastest selling Small Press comic in the UK, shifting over 1,000 copies per issue and managing the unlikely honour of being written about in style magazines like iD and The Face (no small feat considering the unpopularity of lower league football in the early 90s).
By issue two, the dastardly Criminal Justice Bill had been proposed, a damning piece of legislation aiming to criminalise (and often demonise) squatters, travellers, road protesters, ravers and other government-declared ne'er do wells.
Far from crushing those it attacked, the proposed legislation ended up uniting those disparate groups, who formed strong bonds to fight the new laws.
Curiously, no one (including the government it seems) seemed to have thought about the impact the CJA might have on football fans - a large section of society who were sure to be hit by the new stop and search laws and public protest clauses (football fans have often been forced to stage protests when their club's being sold down the river.)
Thus the grandly named Football Fans Against the Criminal Justice Act campaign was launched from the editor's bedroom in Brixton (in reality, he was the only fan involved in the campaign!).
The aim was simple: to warn fans that the act could spell bad news for their rights when they go to football games and also to inform people outside the traditional 'protest' community about the possible impact of the impeding legislation.
After a Bluebird Jones cartoon strip detailing the effects of the Act, A Tackle From Behind, was published by football fanzines all over the country, the campaign started to pick up a head of steam.
A blagged session on a fax machine resulted in the editor being interviewed by over 35 radio stations in two weeks, followed by substantial national newspaper coverage and TV features on BBC, Sky, Channel 4 and ITV.
As soon as the CJA became law, more football fans were arrested than the other targeted groups.
urban75 was initially going to be a print magazine, but the economics of the web meant that we could reach far more people by publishing online.
» urban75 history - going online