Lostprophets guitarist Mike Lewis talks all things Gary Lineker, Ian Rush and Pontypridd YMCA.
By Peter Fraser
Last Updated: 26/11/10 3:05pm
If you ever visit Ye Old King's Head public house in Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California during the 90 minutes of an Everton match you might well have the pleasure of bumping into Lostprophets guitarist Mike Lewis.
The amicable Welshman is now based across the pond, but he has not allowed a distance of at least 5,000 miles, which includes the Atlantic Ocean and the breadth of the United States of America, to have a detrimental impact upon his love for the Toffees.
Lewis has even avoided becoming an armchair fan by attending a couple of matches in England this season, including the Merseyside derby, and he plays in Santa Monica's seven-a-side league, telling skysports.com in a Cardiff accent with a hint of American West Coast, 'it's pretty damn good'.
With Lostprophets, who hit fame with successful albums Thefakesoundofprogress, Start Something, Liberation Transmission, and 2010's The Betrayed, busy working on a new LP, we were recently able to chat with the man himself ahead of a rehearsal session and discovered the full extent of his Everton passion.
I'm from an area that is just outside of Cardiff. But when I first got into football in about 1984/85, Cardiff were useless. I think they were in about the fourth division. I went to Ninian Park a few times, but it just wasn't that much fun. In the top flight at that time, Everton seemed to have the most Welsh players - Kevin Ratcliffe, Big Nev (Southall), Pat van den Hauwe and Kevin Sheedy. Kevin Sheedy never played for Wales, but he was from Wales, so Everton had all these Welsh legends. In my school, nobody supported Cardiff. Among my friends and I, it was a bunch who supported Everton and a bunch who supported Liverpool. I still get to matches these days. I went to the Merseyside derby a few weeks ago. I have a mate who I grew up across the street from and we go to together. Because the band tours the UK a lot, when I'm back I try and work out how I can go to an Everton match. I also went to the Birmingham away game, which was our first league win of the season. I'm a good luck omen! It was the first time that Birmingham had lost at home for a year and they got booed off! I thought that was harsh.
Aston Villa 0 Everton 0 - 28/09/1985
I've no idea about Cardiff as I was too young, but the first Everton match was away at Aston Villa. They drew 0-0, pretty uneventful! My Dad got us tickets in with the Villa fans so he told me that I had to keep quiet if Everton scored. I was eight at the time and I loved the whole experience. I watched my local rugby team and we went to see Cardiff a few times, but the atmosphere wasn't the same as going to a big match. It was before the days of all-seater stadia and so the atmosphere was amazing - love at first sight.
His one and only season for Everton, 1985/86, he scored almost 40 goals. He was also phenomenal at the World Cup that summer. I gravitated towards him. I had his adidas boots and when he went to Barcelona they made a special shin-pad and I had a pair. When we were young we always used to play at the park and, during the 1986 World Cup, Lineker had a bandage on his wrist. I bandaged my wrist up to try and be like him.
When you grow up loving Everton, you grow up hating Liverpool. So it was a love-hate thing for Rushie as he was obviously a Welsh legend, but he was a Liverpool legend at the same time. His goals sunk us in the 1986 FA Cup final and he would always score against us.
I grew up just a five-minute walk from a big park and every day during the summer holidays about 10 of my mates and I would go down the park and play - rubbish bins for goalposts. We had replica Everton kits and we would make our own numbers out of paper and tape them to the back of our shirts.
Pontypridd YMCA Under 10s
My mates and I played and we were awful. But, Lineker-esque, I scored our only goal of the season. We only scored one goal all season! It was only four games, so it's not as shocking as it sounds, but we lost 6-0, 8-0 and I think our best result was 3-1. When I went on to play for the U12s and my high school, I played left-back. My primary school didn't have a team, it was only rugby.
It was the one with the white panel on the top, the Lineker one. I'm still into kits these days. I still play football in America and I wear the shirts then. There is a big seven-a-side league in Santa Monica. I didn't expect the standard to be that high in America, but they are pretty damn good. Sometimes when I go to the pub, Ye Old King's Head in Santa Monica, to watch the football I also wear my shirt. I was in America when Everton got to the 2009 FA Cup final, so my wife, my brother-in-law, who I have both converted to Everton fans, and I went down the pub in our kits.
Dire Straits, Brothers In Arms, 1985
I still like it. Money For Nothing and Walk Of Life... tunes. My parents bought it for me. I saw the Money For Nothing video on TV and loved it, so they got the album for me.
Lostprophets' albums are available at all good record stores, iTunes and direct from www.shop.visiblenoise.com