SUNDERLAND’S best-known fanzine celebrates 25 years of dedication to the Black Cats this weekend.
A Love Supreme (ALS), started by friends Martyn McFadden and Jeremy Robinson in March 1989, will mark its silver anniversary tomorrow as SAFC face Everton at the Stadium of Light.
The publication has come a long way since its first 16-page edition – having picked up eight Fanzine of the Year awards and becoming the most successful in British football.
Editor Martyn McFadden, who worked in a factory before running ALS, said the success of the magazine is all down to Sunderland’s die-hard fans.
He said: “We have the best fans in the country.
“Their passionate contributions make the fanzine what it is.
“Me and the lads in the office just edit out the odd error and make it look nice by designing it the best we can.
“Our fans are unbelievable and their loyalty never ceases to amaze me.
“What other football club would have such high attendances despite not winning a trophy for 41 years?”
Over the years, ALS, which was originally printed on Martyn’s friend’s photocopier, has published 13 books and been responsible for songs such as Niall Quinn’s Disco Pants.
About 500 copies of the first edition were printed and sold out at a match against Chelsea.
Martyn added; “People started sending in letters and subscriptions to the magazine after that.
“It was a new thing at the time, there were no message boards or Facebook for people to share their opinions.”
Black Cats fans have seen many changes since the fanzine began – and are facing up to the prospect to relegation to the Championship – but Martyn says their passion for the club remains.
He added: “The anniversary has come at a time when the club aren’t doing so well.
“I think it’s something we’re used to.
“It’s going to make more work for us next season because there will be more games, but we’ve got to try and look at it positively – surely we’re going to win more games and score more goals.
“I would rather Sunderland were in the Premiership than the Championship, but they have loyal, hardcore fans and we will ride it out. Hopefully we’ll come straight back up.”