Football and me
Kicking off our new series that puts famous faces in the dugout is Los Campesinos! front man Gareth. Over the next few weeks we'll be grilling musicians, comedians and actors over their love for football and what it is that makes the Beautiful Game so special to them.
By Alex Dunn - Follow me on twitter @skysportsaldunn
Last Updated: 10/11/11 2:38pm
To say football and music traditionally don't mix is akin to saying Russell Grant is a tad camp. From Fog on the Tyne to Diamond Lights, via a bizarre interlude involving Ian McCulloch and the Spice Girls, football is littered with a rich back catalogue of musical misdemeanours.
Half Man Half Biscuit were perhaps the band to buck their trend as lyrical genius Nigel Blackwell had exasperated parents searching for Dukla Prague away kits, while taking great delight in name checking the likes of Ipswich Town old boy Romeo Zondervan.
Carrying on the tradition of making football songs, or at least songs that reference football, acceptable are the brilliant Los Campesinos! The Cardiff-based seven-piece outfit have recently released the critically acclaimed Hello Sadness and in a break from touring/playing Football Manager, the band's front man and main songwriter Gareth was happy to regale us with the reasons why he loves the Beautiful Game.
Welton till I die
Welton Rovers is the team that I support and it goes back to my great granddad. As soon as I was old enough for my mum to allow my dad to take me out in the cold I've watched Welton every week. For the past 22 years. We're in around the 15th tier of football and have an average attendance of approximately 100. There's a stand though and the players get paid a match fee. You drink in the bar with the players after the games. Due to my regular attendance over the years and probably because I'm one of the youngest fans, I've recently been made a board member. Last season was a particularly tough season because we lost our manager at the start of the year in quite confused circumstances; he went to manage our local rivals, who I despise. They're called Paulton Rovers. A couple of years ago they played Norwich in the FA Cup and it was live on TV and they got murdered. People who played in that match are people I used to play against; I played for Welton reserves. I once played against Ashley Barnes, who is at Brighton now.
Arise Sir Trevor
I've had a traumatic few weeks as it looks as though the new Football Manager game is too high-tech to work on my computer. I've been reluctant to spend money on upgrading my computer for a long-time but not being able to play Football Manager could force the issue. From the age of about ten I've been addicted. We spend a lot of time on tour, stuck in the van, so to be able to have a fully charged laptop and Football Manager at the ready is a godsend. At the moment I'm manager of Birmingham and it is 2031. I've built a real legacy for myself there, although St Andrews has now been renamed the Trevor Francis Stadium. That's a tip off for Sky Sports News, if they want it. EXCLUSIVE. It really is an obsession and my band mate Neil is equally as addicted.
You asked if I'd be anyone from history, fact or fiction, dead or alive: I said "I'd be Tony Cascarino, circa 1995." (lyric from All your Kayfabe Friends)Tony Cascarino is one of my all-time favourite footballers. His autobiography is amazing, it's like no other. The honesty and the way it's written is fantastic. We're still in a situation that so few English players will take a chance and move abroad and experience different cultures. There's an ingrained attitude that English football is so much better than any European equivalent. The fact Cascarino went to Marseille and was as successful as he was, as a typically British centre forward for the then, albeit disposed, European champions was really admirable. Add to that the side issues of what he was experiencing in his personal life at the time, the perhaps not so moral parts, and it becomes such a great story. I don't think his punditry career has quite lived up to his Marseille days but I still admire him.
Every Defeat A Divorce (Three Lions)
This song is about memories of the sadness of Euro 2006 and the following World Cup in '98. France 98 was happening around the time my parents were separating as well so all the memories are inflated by my personal experiences. It's a sad, melodramatic song about those two things. As a fan the one that hurts the most is Welton being relegated last year but on a wider level, England's elimination from France '98 was particularly hard. I was at Welton's social club with my dad and from Kevin Keegan promising us David Batty wouldn't miss his penalty to getting home, I don't think we spoke a word to each other. At Euro '96 I watched every game and still to this day watch every one at major tournaments. If I'm out I'll tape it and then watch it when I come in. Three Lions is probably my favourite song of all time because of all the memories it stirs. If we ever became famous enough to do an official tune that would be incredible. I think we could do a decent job. Although, it's the sort of thing that is probably the kiss of death for a band. If we're on our way out we might try it as a last throw of the dice.
"I'm called up to the Maltese national team, My vision is impeccable, my first touch is obscene." (taken from Plan A)
When me and my mates were 17 and still foolhardy enough to harbour dreams of making it as professionals we seriously believed we'd be good enough to represent Malta at international level if we moved there. I'd give up all this being in a band malarkey for one international appearance for Malta. I still play on a Saturday and that's enough to sate me at the moment. I'm decent but nowhere near fit enough. At youth level I was a fox in the box Francis Jeffers-like striker but I'm a centre-half now. I like playing there as I like bossing people around and kicking them. My brain could do a job at a decent level but my body lets me down. I've still got incredible vision.
I tweet therefore I am...
I think Wayne Rooney is the player above all others who has benefited most from being on Twitter. He comes across really well on it. He tweets often enough to be relevant without being irritating like Joey Barton. Barton is a sixth form kid who has discovered the Smiths and the Guardian in the same week. Obviously he's got a ropey past and deserves a second chance, but I think he's naive if he thinks he'll get away with being so self-righteous. I think it's good that footballers, famous musicians and politicians can show a more human side on Twitter. There's been a lot of talk of whether Fabio Capello will take Rooney to the Euros but I can't see why he wouldn't. When we inevitably get knocked out in the quarter-finals the question will always be 'what would have happened if Wayne Rooney was here?' Whereas if we go out in the group phrase no one will say 'what could have we achieved if Zamora had taken Rooney's squad place?'
One love, don't need another one
Football is what I think about all the time. I could go to watch any football match, a Sunday League game whatever, and I'll stay for 90 minutes regardless of whether it's the most boring of all time. If I go to see a band play and I'm not enjoying it I'll just leave. I can't pull myself away from football in the same way. You choose a football team at the start and that's it, for life, you're bound to them. If a band you like releases an album you hate then there's not the same ties. A lot of our songs are about heartbreak and a lot of the biggest heartache in life comes courtesy of football. It's inevitable that I use football analogies and metaphors in my lyrics.
Even to play for Welton for one season at centre-half I'd pack in the music. Music is alright but football is far and away ahead of it. We've played gigs before where we'd come off stage and the audience have been calling for an encore, but from the TV in the dressing room the opening notes of the MOTD theme tune can be heard. We just go and watch MOTD. I'd much rather be a footballer than a poxy singer.