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.
Among the articles published by the admirable but dead Sunderland fanzine It’s The Hope I Can’t Stand , Dave “Chalkie” Dawson’s painfully compelling account of what awaydays and awaynights were actually like was one that the co-editor, Nic Wiseman, especially liked.
Nic has now scanned a selection of pieces from Ithics that bear repetition 11 or 12 years on. Since he went to all that trouble, it is right that his choice kicks off this phase of Salut! Sunderland‘s Ithics Files project.
If you click on each of the two images containing text from the magazine, the page should be magnified and easy to read. Unless you tell me it doesn’t work, I shall repeat the exercise with a succession of other items plucked from the Ithics archive.
About Chalkie’s article there is little that needs to be added. He captures all the grimness that so often went hand in hand with travelling away to support the club during football’s more primitive age.
Chalkie talks of the “loveable scally scousers” he encountered at Goodison on the night Jimmy Hill, over at Coventry, got us – OK, helped to get us – relegated. They had perfected the friendly little trick of relieving themselves from their tier of the Park End on to the visitors’ end below.
These are now men in their 50s, 60s and 70s. Without pretending that our own club and others had no nutters and neanderthals of their own, you cannot help wondering how such folk turned out in later life.
And as a bonus, the second image contains another article, in which Mike Clarke offers a classic analysis of why we support SAFC, concluding with a pertinent challenges to the fanzine’s title.