A popular football podcast dreamt up by Sunderland fans over a couple of pints of beer has surpassed a century of episodes.
What started as a vague idea by Black Cats supporter Stephen Goldsmith in 2012 soon became the Wise Men Say podcast, which is now on its 103rd show.
Stephen met up with fellow fan Gareth Barker and the production of a Sunderland-only programme snowballed from there.
The title of the podcast refers to a line from the Elvis Presley song I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You, regularly sung by supporters at games.
“I contacted Gareth through Twitter as we were both writing for the same blog at the time, Salut Sunderland,” said Stephen.
“I arranged to meet him one night in the pub and we sat and spoke about Sunderland for a few hours.
We’re proud that we’ve developed it to the point where journalists and ex-players are really keen to come on and offer their insight.Stephen Goldsmith
“We agreed that not enough insight was offered in general football chat and thought listeners should want more than cliches and stating the obvious.
“We thought that there was a space for a SAFC podcast where we could offer something different to what radio stations were offering and that there would be a desire for SAFC-only content.
“I hadn’t long graduated and was working freelance in the media and Gareth has a degree in Media TV/Radio Production.
“Everything seemed to be compatible in many ways and we decided we’d be crazy not to try it.
“Our very first show had about 30 listens and I probably listened about four times! We normally have over 2,000 listens per show now and we do the two shows every week.”
Using the studios of Wearside radio station Sun FM and Sunderland University, the lads have gone on to do a podcast for the former alongside ex-SAFC striker Michael Proctor, called Into the Light.
Recently, the team did a live show in Park Lane’s Port of Call bar to mark the 100th episode and to also raise money for music and culture hub Pop Recs Ltd.
A Love Supreme fanzine chief Martyn McFadden, ex-SAFC goalkeeper David Preece and Echo football writer Chris Young were all involved.
“Gareth and Craig Clark are the WMS veterans, with Gareth and myself being mainstays on the show, and Craig controlling a lot of our online written content,” added Stephen.
“We’re permanently based at Sun FM now but will always be thankful to the uni who though they’d help us because we’re both graduates there.
“We’re proud that we’ve developed it to the point where journalists and ex-players are really keen to come on and offer their insight, and we’ve both made inroads in the football media now which was a dream of both of ours as kids.”
Wise Men Say and Into the Light are available to download on iTunes.
Wise Men Say can be downloaded from wisemensay.co.uk and Into the Light can be downloaded from Sun FM’s website each Thursday from 7pm.