Sing if you're spinning
IF you’re in a football team that is out to take on the world, you need harmony in the ranks. But today, we can reveal the record player and the player of records that nearly drove England’s 1970 World Cup party out of their minds.
Jeff Astle was the guilty man, for before he embarked on the arduous journey to South America to compete in the Mexico tournament, he made absolutely certain that he’d packed a portable record player and a batch of singles, just so that he could keep himself entertained.
There were a few Beatles 45s there, a selection from some bloke from Memphis who mistakenly called himself The King, but top of Astle’s hit parade at the time was a song by Norman Greenbaum. The late, great Peter Osgood takes up the tale.
"I think Sir Alf wanted all the forwards to stick together because I ended up rooming with Geoff Hurst and Jeff Astle," said Osgood.
"Astle was a funny, funny man and he fancied himself as a singer as well. He loved the fact that he had a number one single, Back Home, even if it was with the rest of us.
"He’d brought this record player with him and there was one single that he just wouldn’t stop playing. It was Spirit In the Sky, which had actually knocked Back Home off the top of the charts.
"He just played it to death, singing along, wearing the thing out. After a couple of days, me and Hursty had just had enough of it, so we looked at one another, nodded and smashed the damn thing into pieces! It didn’t stop him singing though."