Picking the ultimate Manchester football side using only musicians
Manchester, music and football. Three words that go together like Best, Law and Charlton. Or Bell, Summerbee and Lee (just to be balanced, you understand?).
The city, often regarded as the cultural hub of northern England, has provided many moments to entertain the masses – both on pitch and stage.
So which lyrical legends would get everyone singing on the terraces marvelling at their skills? Chanting their names as they have done at gigs and concerts down the years?
To mark this week’s special Manchester J Files, Double J have asked me to put together a team of all-time great Mancunian musos (let’s call it Treble Clef C).
The keeper is the foundation stone of any side. Much like the Great Dane Peter Schmeichel in Fergie’s all-conquering champs. Where it all starts, for me, is Graham Nash from The Hollies – putting the city on the map musically before its football did. Not only was he successful domestically in the 1960s but went on to international acclaim as part of supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
In defence you need a physical presence. A Vincent Kompany. A Steve Bruce. Whose voice will stop you dead with its gravelly tones. Who also knows how use his elbow now and then. Guy Garvey – tick.
A centre-back’s partner might require more subtlety in the vocal stakes but pops up immaculately whenever needed – giving fans the happiest (but not the bluest) of Mondays back in the office. Don’t step on Rowetta – her chords are invaluable.
Fullbacks don’t make the headlines often, but when they arrive, they arrive with a bang. It’s a thing of purity, almost impossible to forget. Two faces instantly spring to mind here – epitomising that fierce streak of defiance the place is renowned for: Pete Shelley and John Squire. Ever fallen in love? If you haven’t you must be made of stone.
Every midfield needs a genius. Preferably two. They click instantly – knowing when to supply from the shadows and when to perform in the spotlight. Take Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane for the Citizens. Now imagine how well Eric Stewart (The Mindbenders, 10CC, Neil Sedaka and others) would gel with the blue-eyed soulboy that is Mick Hucknall? Simply red hot I reckon.
The skipper should be someone very central to everything - who’s seen it and done it all before. Taking the team from season to season - era to era. Going from the joy (of winning the) division to a new order. Hello Peter Hook.
Wingers are mercurial. They bamboozle folk. Think Ryan Giggs. He’d leave folk scratching their heads. As Morrissey of The Smiths never fails to do. Even better, some might say, if you are naturally left-sided but can do it right-sided for show - like Noel Gallagher can.
Leading the line is a tough job. Especially when you’re an outsider. Ask Sergio Aguero. Being front and centre stage with the weight of expectation (in her case of not being a Manc) and doing it with great dignity and style. Searching for the hero inside yourself. Take a bow Heather Small of M People.
(And just for fun) the manager is primarily responsible for putting a club on the map. Who better than the late Mr Manchester himself – founder of the Hacienda and long before that, Factory Records, Tony Wilson?
Whether it be pop music or Pep music – the city has a proud history topping the charts and the table.
Hear the The J Files: Manchester from 8pm Thursday night, or listen anytime afterwards right here.