Wise Men Say – Only Fools Rush In, And We Didn’t

It’s pretty obvious that we’re all craving the January transfer window to come fill us all with false hope, but that’s miles away, frankly. So I thought I’d fill you in on a couple of transfers of our own here at WMS (good grief, that’s rank and I apologise).


It’s me, Goldy, by the way. Give me a couple of minutes of your time, hew, marra.

When I had this idea a few years back of creating the podcast, I was fortunate enough to meet someone like Gareth Barker and ask him to get involved. He’s genuinely qualified in media production and sorted out all the technical requirements that I, how can I put this, didn’t have a fucking clue about. I won’t bore you with the history of it all, if that’s your bag (and why wouldn’t it be) then the Echo did something on us recently and you can read it here.


But what’s clear, is that the whole thing had grown to a point where just leaving the website idle and unloved made it look a bit minging. We didn’t create the website side of things as some sort of challenge to other blogs or anything, more just a stocking shelf for all our shows with the opportunity to sound off if we felt it necessary. But we kind of then evolved to the stage where we felt we should do more for our listeners and followers. As modest as that number is.


We’re fortunate enough to write columns for a couple of papers too, and when Sunderland are as regularly shit as they are that can become repetitive, predictable and, for the risk of sounding ungrateful, a bit dull. Even with the bearded philosopher Craig Clark fully on board and involved in a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff, it was clear we needed to freshen things up.


One thing we were particularly conscious about was advertising some sort of self-important, X-Factor type spew bucket as a chance for someone to become all journalistic or some bollocks by proving to us what brilliant writers they are. While blogs, fanzines and the like are excellent as starting points for aspiring writers and journalists, you need to do a lot, lot more if that’s your goal and we’re not prepared to promise people the world when we can’t provide it.


What we wanted was a few lads (or lasses) who go to the games who could make themselves available to be regulars on the show and write some stuff to help fill our pages. Decent writers and talkers who don’t take themselves too seriously. If this article makes it look like we take ourselves too seriously then I apologise. We’d like to think those who listen to the pod and come to the live shows appreciate that’s not what we’re like as lads.


Essentially, we wanted people involved who we thought we’d like to go for a pint with based on our gut feeling. Just a quick intro on who we’ve roped in…


Gary Foster was a regular on the show anyway and is a time served journalist. For this very reason, he’d actually be forgiven for taking himself a little seriously but nothing could be further from the truth. I’m sure you’ve heard his craic by now. It was a no-brainer to have him do more for us really.


Gaz has written for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail. Since being freelance, his work has appeared in The Sun, The Star, Northern Echo and Football League Paper. He does lecturing in Media and Film and went to his first lads’ game at the age of four at Roker Park.


Gary Spalding is a Sports graduate. He currently gigs around the North East as an acoustic solo artist, works behind a bar, plays in the Sunday league for Easington (Toivonen role but better he reckons) and referees footy games too.


Now does that not sound like someone you’d wanna go for a pint with? His Dad tells him he went to his first lad’s game at the age of five.


Rory Fallow is another with a bit of a cool background. He used to sell merchandise for bands, the main ones being Sunderland’s very own Frankie & The Heartstrings. He toured with them on and off for two years but has now swapped the t-shirts and records for tickets and ice cream, as he currently works at Newcastle Theatre Royal in the box office and front of house.


Rory’s first Sunderland game was in 1997 and his main memory was “falling asleep on my dad’s knee and asking to go home”. He was twenty-seven at the time. Of course I jest, that then four year old returned for more punishment like the rest of us and even bagged a mascot gig against Bradford in 2003, scoring past Mart Poooooom.


We also have a Duncan Watmore-like protege waiting in the wings called Michael Lough. It’s all down to him now whether he becomes the next metaphorical Jordan Henderson or the next meataphorical Michael Proctor (LOLZ). He’ll have to bide his time though, as you know we aren’t fans of just hoying the kids in.


In all seriousness, we’re comfortable enough with Proctor to do that joke now, he’s been a real find and we think he offers fantastic insight. Smashing lad, too.


We’re always willing to post your pieces as well. As long as the writing is half-decent and semi-coherent we’ll pop it up and advertise it for you on Twitter and PyatBook. We really like the idea of being here for you to sound off and get stuff off your chest. There are some who’ve written for us already on more than one occasion and it could be something to think about.


Thanks to everyone who showed an interest.


Remember, we’ve changed listening platforms too. Check out what to do here.


Ha’way me bonnie lads.


Stephen Goldsmith