Singer-songwriter and Celtic fan Jon Fratelli shares his earliest football memories
By Rachel Griffiths - Follow me on Twitter @SkySportsRachG. Last Updated: 27/06/11 1:42pm
Jon Fratelli might have chosen to follow the music route for a career, but the Glaswegian admits his Celtic allegiance is something he was born into.
The singer-songwriter, formerly of Indie rockers The Fratellis, has recently recorded his debut solo album 'Psycho Jukebox', with new single 'Baby We're Refugees' set for release on July 11th.
But Fratelli has not lost his affinity for football, recalling fond memories of the days he used to gaze adoringly at his first ever kit, a bright yellow Scotland away strip.
Skysports.com caught up with the Scotsman as he took time out from his UK tour to regale us with his Hoops-infused Football Firsts.
It's just the heritage, I guess. Growing up, you couldn't live where I lived and not be a Celtic supporter. It was a given, from as far back as I can remember. Even at three or four, my first memories of football are connected to Celtic in some way. It's the same with every club within the country, it's where you grow up. My family aren't really Celtic fans, it's more to do with the area I was in and the school I went to rather than the family thing.
Kenny Dalglish Scotland testimonial, May 1986
I was only about five and went with my dad. Kenny Dalglish was the first player I was really aware of. As I got older I realised before Liverpool he was at Celtic and that ties in the whole thing, I suppose. I remember Dalglish definitely scored. I remember lots of things about that game, even getting the programme and that sort of stuff. I was fairly baffled by the whole thing and wondered why there was no commentary. I couldn't get my head around the fact that only happens on TV. Kenny Dalglish was an institution. It's not as if we're a big country and even then when we were producing players he was still special. That must have been the attraction. I never got to see him play for Celtic. I got to see him manage them for a little while, and that wasn't too great, but I don't think anybody at that point could have managed that team.
After Dalglish, when I started playing football, Paul McStay was probably my hero. He was the best player Celtic had at that time. Any player that gets nicknamed 'Maestro' is a particularly special player. He was just an effortless, cultured looking player. He didn't play like he was Scottish - and I mean that in the nicest possible way. He played like a European, he could have played in any league. He had that affinity with the club and never left, though in some ways I would've liked to have seen him go and play somewhere else just to prove the point that he could. But he didn't and you've got to give the guy a lot of credit for that.
I was about seven or eight when Souness went to Rangers, and it was about that point that you start to become aware of things in football. You didn't know why he was a villain - he just was. Then as you get older and start to form an opinion for yourself, you start to realise why. I've never met him, I'm sure he's not as bad as that, but on a football pitch and in areas of Glasgow he's definitely Villain No.1, even today. He's not very highly thought of in some parts of the city. It's more a pantomime thing now. He was a pantomime villain, and I think he knows it. I get the feeling he's got that kind of personality that probably really likes it.
Jock Stein's death
One of the biggest memories I have, because it was a huge deal at the time, is when Scotland played Wales in the final qualifier for the 1986 World Cup and the manager, Jock Stein, had a heart attack at the side of the pitch and died. It was a huge drama and really sad. I think at that age, five or six, I could get a sense of the sadness of people, and was also picking it up on the news and in newspapers. You were young but you still realised that this was a really huge thing to happen. You could tell that the whole country was talking about it and upset about it. I think I watched the match, as much as a five-year-old can concentrate on a game, but it's the aftermath that I remember.
I don't actually remember the name, it wasn't the name of my home town. It was just made up of most of the kids at school. I played up until I was about 12 and I was a midfielder. I could play a little bit, I was OK. I got Player of the Year one year. When you're 10 and you get Player of the Year you think it's the greatest thing ever. I never fancied pursuing it. I turned 16 and discovered booze and it sort of went downhill from there.
Scotland away, 1986
It was the Scotland away kit for the 1986 World Cup and it was yellow. I think it was a birthday present. I looked at it a lot. The day I got it I hung it up on a cupboard door in my bedroom and just looked at it, absolutely in awe. I don't think I even put it on. I woke up the next day and was really excited because I got to look at the top again. I'd only seen them on my TV up to that point. I remember almost everything about the day I got it. I had that really basic, mind-blowing excitement. It's a shame you don't get that sheer excitement as an adult, it's awesome. I remember the shop, although I don't think it's there anymore, and having fish and chips after we bought it.
Michael Jackson - Bad, 1987
It was the Eighties, so it was probably 'Bad'. I don't have the tapes anymore, I've lost them, but it's still in my CD collection. It has to be there.
Jon Fratelli will release his new single 'Baby We're Refugees' on the Island label on July 11th 2011, taken from his forthcoming new album 'Psycho Jukebox'. Another song 'Sex, Love, Money & Death' is available to download for free from his website.