Tunes help you breathe more easily
It’s a different world now, teeming in a million leisure pursuits from PlayStations to Pokemon – or the Black Country shove as we know it round here – but back in the day, youthful weekends were largely devoted to just two passions. Football and music.
That link has been retained down the years, albeit that the two have almost traded roles with football now enjoying the cultural pre-eminence that music once enjoyed, while its gigs and clubs that are now more often the venue for having a few too many and falling over. Although a few local pubs around 2.50pm on a Saturday might have different views.
Both obsessions are rooted in an almost tribal passion. Look at photos from the 1970s and you’ll see all manner of little urchins with silk Albion scarves tied round their wrists while sporting denim jackets embroidered with logos proclaiming undying love for Pink Floyd, Rush, Motorhead or Led Zeppelin.
You could support Genesis with the same fervour that you devoted to the Throstles, and rightly so, even when we were selling Robson by the pound.
Later, there was an unspoken but obvious link between the emergence of black footballers across the game and the rise of Two-Tone in Coventry. Ska has, of course, always had an association with the Albion, going back to our adoption of Harry J’s “Liquidator” as our anthem, even before we started making up our own words for it.
And if you haven’t got a copy of Ray King’s 1979 classic “West Bromwich Albion” on blue vinyl, quite frankly, you need to have a Paul Robinson style word with yourself. As Ray so succinctly put it, “You’ve got to go man, go, for Ron Atkinson”.
Jeff Astle made a name for himself as a vocalist too, both with his “Sweetwater” single and later on “Fantasy Football” in all manner of guises – the King sings indeed.
That’s something that should make a return isn’t? What about DJ G-Mac on the wheels of steel or Leko, Field and Roberts starting a boy band?
There again, if I never hear another James Morrison record again, it’ll still be too soon.