The Ithics Files: (9) Chairman Bob 1 Media 0

The cover speaks for itself.

Issue 13 of It’s the Hope I Can’t Stand, way back in April 1999, and Bob – now Sir Bob – Murray was presiding over a club romping to promotion, scoring goals for amusement and drawing huge crowds to the Stadium of Light. The same SoL that some in the media had suggested could prove a white elephant.

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The Ithics Files: the last post, or can someone help?

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Salut! Sunderland is following normal practice and avoiding premature comment on the signings from Manchester United that seem imminent. For now, we have a minor problem – and you may be able to solve it …

This, with the previously missing third page of the article (shown on the second image) is a corrected repetition of the item already published as No 8 in the series of extracts from the fanzine It’s The Hope I Can’t Stand.

But the cupboard is now bare. I wanted to end the series with two more pieces: the Kevin Ball article that drew a sharp but ultimately friendly response from the man himself and a suitable farewell, assuming one appeared, from the final edition. That is the only ITHICS I have not got, and Nic Wiseman, the co-editor who has supplied me with all these scanned pages to enable you to read some of the best of the fanzine, cannot locate his copy.

If anyone else has it – and we are talking about ITHICS No17 – they’d be doing us a much-appreciated favour if they could scan the Bally piece and any article dealing with the magazine’s closure. Use the email link in the Contact section near the top of the right-hand sidebar or copy … thanks in anticipation.

And here again is my account of Nic’s article – Why Do We Support Sunderland – looking at the international and sometime surprising reach of SAFC;s support base …

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The Ithics Files: (7) Hull away, when the going got tough

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Salut! Sunderland recovers from the rigours of a busy week on the transfer front to resume its summer series of classics from the short but edifying life of the SAFC fanzine It’s The Hope I Can’t Stand. This, roughly maintaining the slightly worrying theme of his first article on travelling away with Sunderland, is Dave “Chalkie” Dawson’s description of the day committing a public nuisance came close to being a case of mass indecent exposure …

Opening game of the season: Hull City 3 Sunderland 0.

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The Ithics Files: (6) Craig Russell gets four, Reid wanted five

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Goal machine may be putting it high. But Craig Russell’s return on 149 games for Sunderland was 31, not prolific – Darren Bent scored one more in 58 – but certainly respectable. And he played with full heart for the club he loved, just as he now works for it as masseur.

In the latest of our reproductions of classic articles from the fanzine It’s The Hope I Can’t Stand, an anonymous writer with an eccentric approach to possessive punctuation – you weren’t once an Ithics hack were you, Pete Sixsmith? – bids a fond farewell to the local lad who scored goals but couldn’t quite convince Peter Reid of his value.

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The Ithics Files: (5) noise, belligerence and Bovril at the SoL

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Nic Wiseman has worked like a Trojan to help get this series under way, choosing and scanning and sending cracking extracts from It’s The Hope I Can’t Stand, the SAFC fanzine he co-edited in the last 1990s.

Here’s one Nic wrote himself, an entertaining tour of the matchday experience of different areas of the Stadium of Light. So that makes it timeless, too; many, especially those of us swimming in the East Stand Bovril, will relate to his guide years later.

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The Ithics Files: (3) when Everton rained on our parade

Football just isn’t what it was, lad.

Back in days gone by, you could stand with a supporter of the other team, bonded by mutual love of the people’s game, in the sure knowledge you were safe from harm.

If you were old enough to get in, you’d be in their pubs rubbing shoulders, taking turns to buy rounds and swapping jolly stories and jokes.

And if you think you just saw a pig in mid-flight outside the bedroom window, you’d be about right.

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The Ithics Files: (2) when the jury was out on SuperKev & Quinn

This, the second extract from our near-complete set of the lamented fanzine It’s The Hope I Can’t Stand is a classic mixture of retrospective wisdom and downright mischief-making. Back we go to the 1997/1998 season and the origins of a fabulous Premier League strike pairing …

It is not the sort of thing anyone wants to be reminded of: even the slightest hint of hesitancy in initial thoughts on one Kevin Phillips, and a distinctly undecided assessment of Niall Quinn.

That, however, is how Ithics saw things back then. There are strong mitigating factors, and we will get to them, but Salut! Sunderland cannot resist the temptation to dip into edition No 2 – when the writer of each article was still anonymous – and repeat these snippets from a piece entitled: “Reid’s Transfer Record – Hit or Miss?”

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The Sunderland fanzine born of hope, with a suspiciously Newcastle look

Among all that has been written about Sunderland AFC, there was once a fanzine called
It’s The Hope I Can’t Stand. It was launched as the club moved from Roker Park to the Stadium of Light and was a publication destined for an exhilarating but short-lived life. There is no anniversary to speak of, no particular reason to look back on a bold publishing venture. But a discussion at the Blackcats e-mail list, which played a crucial part in the birth of ITHICS, prompted Salut! Sunderland to ask Nic Wiseman, the fanzine’s co-editor, to recall that heady time …

It was the end of the 1996-97 season, the Premier Passions season, the last season at Roker Park.

A group of Sunderland supporters bonded by being members of an e-mail list called Blackcats trooped out of the Fulwell End for the last time having seen the team dispatch Everton 3-0. It was a result that gave us hope of avoiding the drop and thus beginning life in our shiny new stadium in the Premiership rather than the Nationwide First Division, as the second tier was known then.

We had been in abysmal form and this win had given us a fighting chance. As we descended the steps into Association Terrace one of our number – I thought it was Mark Egan but others challenge my memory and tell me it was, in fact, Emma Nichol – spoke for all of us when she sighed: “I wouldn’t care if we were relegated already, it’s the hope I can’t stand.”

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