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Well folks, here it is, the very first Sex & Chocolate. Lovingly reared from the bosom of A Love Supreme, this is your fanzine, so kick back and relax. Obviously, I hope you like it. However, we all know the score as far as football is concerned – one person’s meat is another’s poison. With so many contributors all writing from a different point of view, it’s very unlikely that anyone will agree with everything written in S&C. But that is why we are here. If there’s something that you don’t like, or a point of view that you don’t agree with, don’t just slag us off in the pub, put pen to paper, present your side of the argument and set us straight. We welcome contributions from absolutely everyone – if it’s good enough, it’ll go in.

Despite despatching York in the Worthless Cup, the start to the season has certainly been a turbulent affair, overshadowed by the Lee Clark injury, giving rise to widespread debate about whether Reid will buy or not. My own take on the situation is, that whilst Reidy’s apparent obsession with bringing through young talent is very commendable, there are times when the team needs something a bit special. Nobody can deny that, under Reid, Sunderland have become a far superior side to any in recent memory. The Jody Craddocks and Kevin Phillips’s of the side bear testament to the success of his philosophy. However, his reign at the club has also included a relegation season and a year in which we played well enough to go up, but fell at the final hurdle. When West Ham were in the mire, they spent what looked then like stupid money on Kitson and Hartson. They stayed up. When Boro and Forest wobbled, they spent money on class, and right or wrong, at the end of the season they were the ones who won promotion.

Clark was inspirational throughout last season and the hole he leaves in the team is obvious to anyone who has seen the matches since QPR. What Reid needs is to splash out on somebody of indisputable quality who will not only patch up the team in the absence of Clarkie, but continue to do so after his return to the side, hopefully forging a devastating partnership at the heart of the team. Rather than contradicting Reid’s philosophy, such an introduction of quality into the side can only have a positive effect on the young players in the squad, which sits comfortably on a very solid and promising reserve and youth set-up. Mixed with big crowds the club seems, at last, to be heading for long-term success. However, there are still some shallow patches in our squad, although the introduction of Andy Marriott on loan, as cover for Sorensen, can be seen as a move towards its strengthening. He has played five games for Wales, so obviously can’t be too bad. Let’s hope that Peter Reid moves quickly to effect any more changes, so that we can all settle down and concentrate on winning the championship.

The first few months of the season will be crucial. If we do well and get the fans behind us, we will get better and better, but play badly in front of so many people, so desperate for success, and the mood could soon change from expectation to frustration. If this happens, all the good work over the last few seasons will be undone. Obviously, Clark’s injury is far from ideal. However, Saturday afternoons, between three and five, is not the time to vent the frustration it has brought. That is the time to sing your hearts out for the lads and play your part in a successful football club. If, after that, there’s still some gripe or other burning a hole in your head, well then, you’ll just have to tell us about it won’t you!
sex sex sex

Amour, Football, Sex & Chocolate

When ALS was born almost ten years ago. I must admit I thought it would never work. ‘People won’t want to read stupid things my mates and I have to say about Sunderland,’ I thought to myself. Jez Robinson, now the Sunday Sun’s Sunderland reporter, was to blame. He was convinced that, instead of going to the pub for two hours before every game, we should stand in the rain, get hassle off coppers and sell a magazine that gave the fans a chance to have their say. I was into the philosophy, but thought that in practice, no one would be interested. I was wrong, he was right and the rest is history.

In reality we made a little snowball, rolled it down the hill and by the time it got to the bottom people were buying, contributing and slapping us on the back in their thousands. All this was great, because it was like a dream come true. When we began, we had to beg people to write stuff, then all of a sudden, we couldn’t fit it all in. When we started off, we hardly knew any fellow Sunderland fans, but by the time we got to issue 5, we knew loads. A couple of years later we won fanzine of the year and just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, we won it again and again. Jez left ALS to become a full time journalist and Mick Buxton left SAFC to become a full time nobody.

In the seven years it took all these things to happen, football had become a different game. Hillsborough happened, I was unfortunate enough to be there and it changed the whole way that I, and just about everybody else involved in football, looked at the game. The police, for example, totally changed their attitude to fans. The ID cards that we fought against in early issues of ALS were shelved and the fences came down. Coppers outside the away grounds began to crack on with us, instead of moving us on for selling the fanzine.

In the ten years since ALS began, many fanzines have come and gone. Wise Men Say was the first ever Sunderland fanzine which hit the streets a year or so before ALS. WMS lasted around three years until Jim Fox and the boys decided to call it a day. This left ALS out on our own for a while, although brief appearances were made by titles such as You Wot, Roker Roar, Roker Raw & The Cat. Then up popped Wear All Going To Wembley, closely followed by It’s An Easy One For Norman.

WAGTW showed early promise, but lasted only a couple of seasons. IAEOFN began in ’93, but changed its name to The Sunderland Fanatic at the start of last season, because Tony Norman had left the club. However, they have now changed their minds and plan to revert back to their original title when they produce their first issue of this season. Since then, The Black Cat lasted one Premiership season, just like the team, and was replaced at the start of last season by a London-based fanzine, It’s The Hope I Can’t Stand. ITHICS have produced seven issues in that time. Therefore, Sunderland fans have four publications available to them, which call themselves fanzines: A Love Supreme, It’s An Easy One For Norman, It’s The Hope I Can’t Stand and now, Sex & Chocolate aren’t as good as football.

Anyway, I know I’m going on about this and that, but isn’t that what fanzines are for? I’ll get to the point. We’ve reached the stage where we are now getting so many contributions that we’ve got enough to fill three fanzines. In our end of season polls, readers have been asking us to make ALS more regular, with more pages and less ads. With all this in mind, the birth of S&C hopefully meets these demands and gives us a chance to publish more frequently, therefore producing more up to date material on all things Sunderland. That’s about it, except to say enjoy our new title, love your football, eat chocolate and when it comes to sex… well that’s another story.

Martyn McFadden
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As such, views expressed are those of individual contributors and do not represent those of the editors