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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 April, 2003, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
Fans struggle with S Club split
Ian Youngs
By Ian Youngs
BBC News Online entertainment staff

S Club fans outside London Docklands Arena
Some fans said they had been "betrayed" by the group
Pop group S Club's young fans are struggling to come to terms with the demise of the UK's most successful chart acts of the last five years.

Some fans were upset, some were angry and others were relieved that S Club split.

The group announced they were splitting up from the stage of the London Arena on Monday evening.

The cheerful chart-toppers may have been derided by some for being cheesy, but they were one of the UK's favourite pop groups, scoring 10 UK top 10 hits since arriving in 1999.

There was little shock that the end was nigh - just surprise that it came when it did.

Just two weeks ago, they used the première of their latest film to rebuff rumours that they were about to break up.

One fan, Laine C, from Glasgow, wrote on a fan website: "I'm seriously gutted after them denying it and everything - lying to fans is not good, I'm really disappointed in them."

The decision to split appeared carefully timed to coincide with the end of a tour and to come after the film had been released - but just in time to create interest in their farewell single, aptly titled Say Goodbye.

S Club 7
Bring It All Back - 1999
Never Had A Dream Come True - 2000
Don't Stop Movin' - 2001
Have You Ever - 2001
Such marketing control has angered those who thought their devotion, which put the group at the top of the charts, was not being taken into account.

Some said they felt "betrayed" by the continual denials because - such is the nature of teenage pop fans - they had become emotionally attached to the group.

Many compared the demise to that of S Club's rivals, Steps, who also denied their intentions until the last minute - after which they were accused of acting out of "greed and cynicism".

A deluge of angry messages were posted on fan websites. "They have lied to us for months and it really hurts because I thought they were all genuine, down to earth people who had respect for their fans," one read.

Top of the Pops magazine writer Daniel Cleeve said fans were now getting used to the fact that pop music was now run like an industry.

"They're much more savvy to the fact that it is a business, and therefore when their favourite band breaks up, they're more philosophical about it and get on with their lives a little bit better," he said.

In a poll for BBC Newsround Online, about half those who voted said they were upset at the S Club split, a quarter said they did not care and the other quarter said they were glad.

Phone helpline

The reaction does not compare with the hysteria created when early 1990s boy band Take That decided to call it a day in 1996.

Then, it came as a complete shock and a Samaritans hotline had to be set up to field calls from distraught fans.

"Take That were such a colossal band," Mr Cleeve said.

"In our times, they were one of the boy bands that came close to the levels of hysteria that the Beatles had to endure.

"So I'm not surprised that with S Club, it's not such a big story and send-off as that was."

Take That singer Robbie Williams went on to harness that devotion during his solo career and is still the UK's most popular male performer.

S Club Juniors
S Club Juniors will be renamed S Club 8
But group success does not automatically lead to solo hits once the act splits.

Former Boyzone singer Ronan Keating seamlessly moved from group stardom to success on his own - but others have found it much harder.

Steps bandmates H and Claire teamed up after their group split - but their chart placings have slipped lower with each single.

New material by fellow Steps star Faye Tozer has not been received well while Lee Latchford Evans has been playing a minor role in the stage version of Grease.

Of the members of original reality TV group Hear'Say, Kym Marsh recently went in at number two with her solo debut single.

But bandmate Suzanne Shaw is in the musical version of the Cliff Richard film Summer Holiday alongside Christopher Biggins.

Solo S Club

Rachel Stevens, who kept S Club in the newspapers with her glamorous looks, is thought to be the most likely to strike out on her own.

Bradley McIntosh is also said to have begun writing and producing his own material.

For any fans who may not be satisfied with that, S Club's place is set to be taken by their younger counterparts, S Club Juniors.

Aged between 12 and 15, they have been in the shadow of the original act for a year but will now be promoted and known as S Club 8.

S Club to split up
21 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
How do you feel about S Club splitting?
22 Apr 03  |  Your Comments
Paul leaves S Club 7
28 Mar 02  |  Entertainment
Steps fans slam group
28 Dec 01  |  Entertainment
Hear'Say split up
01 Oct 02  |  Entertainment


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