FourFourTwo magazine achieved 20% growth period-on-period in 2011 in a tough market. Grab 60 Seconds with Editor David Hall and find out about the man behind one of the most successful sports mags in the market.
How did you get into magazines?
I was lucky enough to land my first magazine work experience at Loaded while James Brown was the editor. Until that point I’d had work experience at everything from local papers to PR firms. After Loaded, I was hooked. Mags were the love of my life. Well… the second love, after football. After that I freelanced for about 10 years for a diverse range of magazines including Smash Hits!, Later, Zoo, Bliss, B, Marie Claire and Time Out.
Favourite mag growing up?
As a young kid, it was Match and Shoot. As a teenager NME, Melody Maker and Kerrang were my staples. My student days and beyond were a mix of Loaded, music mags and, of course, FourFourTwo.
There are have been several editors who’ve had a big influence on me at various stages of my career. James Brown and Tim Southwell at Loaded showed me the power of swagger and confidence in what you do. Phil Hilton at Later drilled me in giving value to the reader. Lisa Smosarski at Smash Hits! showed me how having fun could be valuable to readers too. On a more personal advice tip, Bill Borrows, the long-established freelance writer, was at the end of a phone to steady the occasional wobble during my 10 years as a freelance writer.
What’s your career highlight?
Getting the FourFourTwo editorship. The moment when I was offered the gig is definitely the highlight of my career. A truly awesome feeling. A close second was winning the editor of the year award at the APAs for my work on athletics magazine, SPIKES.
Our level of access is unsurpassed in the sport. Players know and respect FourFourTwo and it shows.
What advice would you give people aspiring to get into magazines?
Work experience is the first thing I look at on job applications. Get lots of it and make it work for you. Work experience is gradually becoming a dirty phrase synonymous with free labour. I’ve never seen it like that, even when I was a workie. I used work experience to decide what I did and did not like. I believe that’s one of the reasons I’m happy in my work now. I knew what I was getting into before I jumped in with both feet.
Most innovative thing you and the team have come up with?
Our FourFourTwo Stats Zone app has gone down a storm – we’ve just topped 100,000 downloads. The app allows you to analyse Premier League or Champions League statistics in real time and then share your results on Twitter or Facebook. The depth of statistics is mind blowing, thanks in no small part to the fact they’re supplied by Opta – the daddies of football data.
Your fantasy front cover?
A shot of Jose Mourinho holding a gun to Lionel Messi’s head with the coverline, “Buy this magazine or the dwarf gets it”.
Reasons readers are so engaged with your title?
Our readers can get football content from a plethora of sources. What keeps them coming back again and again to FourFourTwo is the way we cover the sport. No one does depth like us – we can afford to spend 12 pages telling one story and have it feel compelling from start to finish. Also, our level of access is unsurpassed in the sport. Players know and respect FourFourTwo and it shows.