Sepak! #01: Nostalgia and the Introduction of 90’s Football

In the long history of global football development, it seems the 90s will always have its own place in the hearts of many football fans. Both on and off the pitch, football in the 90s presented memorable and iconic moments with a distinct excitement. In line with their intention to be a nostalgic football journal, The Soccer Tribune collaborated with Binatang Press! to release the publication series Sepak! #01: A-Z Gila Bola 90an (English: Soccer! #01: the A-Z of the 90s Football Craze) to depict the excitement around football in that very period. This first number in the series offers a collection of stories around players, teams, and the top events of the time arranged in alphabetical order.

Ilham Saputra from The Soccer Tribune and writer of this publication stated that this collaboration project initially came from BInatang Press!. Not wanting to pass up the opportunity, The Soccer Tribune accepted the invitation. In regards to the idea of the publication subject matter, Ilham explained that the topic was derived from what The Soccer Tribune has explored at length on their Instagram page, which is 90s football. “We try to introduce it from the beginning. Just the simple things, nothing too heavy. The theme is an introduction to 90s football and [so] we thought an A to Z format would be more interesting and entertaining,” Ilham elaborated on this publication’s concept.

To make the visual more interesting and strengthen the 90s character of the publication, The Soccer Tribune and Binatang Press! invited illustrator and massive football fan, Lutfi Aufar, to work on the illustrations in Sepak! #01. Beyond his love of football, Lutfi was the right fit keeping in mind his 90s-influenced illustration style. “[The Soccer Tribune and Binatang Press!] also gave me the framework for the visuals. From there I just worked on it as wildly and as out there as I could. They didn’t constrict me with the framework either. So I was just free to do it as I pleased,” Lutfi explained his process.

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Produced using the risograph printing method, Lutfi's illustrations were initially in the form of black and white sketches. Lutfi explained, "So, initially I only gave them a black and white sketch of the pose. Binatang Press! presented it to [The Soccer Tribune] and they were approved. Then, I moved on to shading and I added several elements. After the new sketch is complete, the [ink] color was then chosen. The color choices fully came from Binatang Press!.”

Dzulfiqar Nainggolan from Binatang Press!, also a designer of this publication, said, "For color selection, we adjust it to the RISO ink range. But again, we chose from the RISO ink we had, then looked for a combination that really represented 90s football. The retro and sporty feel is especially evident. The black color was a popular choice, because in the past people used black outlines. The bold outline really represents the 90s." He added, "The combination of red and blue really complements and brings the 90s era into the book."

Even though the 90s period is our overarching theme, Dzulfiqar explained that this publication tries to combine a retro feel with a contemporary character through the layout. From magazine references and old print publications about football, Dzulfiqar discovered the many uses of borders. "In our opinion, the border itself is a graphic element that can represent 90s football itself. But, we want to change this retro feel into something contemporary. So it doesn't scream the 90's too much. What we present is more modern, but people can still get that retro 90s feel," said Dzulfiqar.

Heru Admadja of The Soccer Tribune and author of Sepak! #01 mentioned, “It seems like the Indonesian people really miss football publications. It could be said that in a sport as big as this, there isn't anything that can be held and read lightly yet. It seems like people will suddenly and naturally be interested in a book about football. Especially for today's generation who one can say is hungry for visuals. That will definitely be fed by Lutfi's illustrations." Ilham also added that it is hoped that this publication will be accepted by more people and will trigger more publications related to football. Not only that, filled to the brim with visuals, Ilham hopes that this book can encourage local illustrators who like to create works about football to be more bold in showing off their work and gain a platform for their art–of which, he says, there is no small number.

With light-hearted writing and distinctive illustrations, Sepak! #01 is a place to reminisce about 90s football. Stories of the glory of AC Milan, a profile on Pierluigi Collina, and the discussion about the almost forgotten tournament, Tournoi de France, is like a time machine that draws the memories of football fans back to that time. Furthermore, the selective collection of articles in this publication can also be a door to getting to know 90s football for new football fans or the current generation.

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About the Author

Daud Sihombing

Daud Sihombing has been writing professionally for the past 9 years. This fervent alternative publishing enthusiast prefers his quaint little town over the hustle and bustle of the city and doesn't let sleep stop him from watching every single AS Roma match.