In the late afternoon of 17 May 2006,
only a couple of hours before Arsenal's fateful Champions League final
with Barcelona, I settled down to a telephone conversation with Mr
Christie. It was a surreal moment, because I have never done
anything like this before. Still, Mr Christie answered the phone
with a half-eaten biscuit still in his mouth. That, I must say,
put me at great ease.
I must admit, he sounded alright for a
man who had to endure an evening with an inebriated Justin Hawkins
only the weekend before. But missing a football game for Sky
One's celebrity sixes, suffering injury, an evening with The British
Whale was not an ideal replacement, and he promptly left for the
comforts of home.
There is only one thing more passionate
to Tony Christie than his football, and that is his music.
Reborn to a new generation thanks to Peter Kay and a re-emergence of
his Amarillo single. Tony was an early-seventies star, with hits
such as Amarillo, and I Did What I Did For Maria, the latter of which
has been played twice in the past week on BBC Radio Two, with no plans
of re-release, at least according to Tony.
It was never a thought on Tony's mind
to mix the two, to record a football song. It was only when Big
George Webley rewrote the 'Amarillo' lyrics to suit a greater cause
and then took a demo to BBC Radio One's Chris Moyles that cogs started
turning. It was Moyles who said "Trust me when I tell you, this
will go round in your head all day". The new lyrics made Tony
laugh when he heard them and when Chris Moyles said on air that he
should record it, he couldn't resist. After all, it has every
chance of making number one in the charts when England win the World
Cup. With that, Tony offered to record this new football
version, and enjoyed doing so.
Tony Christie is on the same record
label as an other World Cup performer, that of the Crazy Frog, who has
come out of retirement for one last time to grace us with his presence
and a rendition of Queen's We Are The Champions. When I reminded
Tony of this, it was met with silence, and a probable choke on the
remaining half of his biscuit. This enabled Tony to throw his
weight behind the new Sham 69 World Cup song. He liked it first
time around, he likes it again. It was pleasing to know, that
through the mire that is the wanton World Cup classic song, that
decent songs can shine through. That through the self-belief
that anyone can write a song that can be sung from the terraces and
some rarely are, and only end up in the rubbish bin behind them,
forgotten about, at least until the next tournament when the twelfth
man suddenly needs to become a song.
So, while we are talking about
football, the South Yorkshire-born performer, revealed his love, not
for Sheffield United, or even the Wednesday club, but for attacking
and entertaining football. Although he doesn't throw his scarf
around any one particular colour, he was about to go down his local
and watch Arsenal take on Barcelona, and like the rest of the pub, was
supporting Arsenal, not just because of them being the English
representative, well Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole were playing, but
because of their forward-thinking way of football. And that is
what pleases Tony Christie, apart from sell-out crowds, ...damn good
football. It doesn't end there either, Tony's love for Frank
Lampard became apparent, for his attacking-midfield methods.
Both Chelsea's, and Arsenal's adventurous play, is what keeps Tony
glued to the telly, both in Staffordshire, and in Spain.
Music was always Tony's first passion,
so apart from playing football at school, knocking goals in was never
an option as a career. So rather than aspiring to perform the
same as the Bobby Charlton's, the Georgie Best's or the Tony Currie's
of this world, Tony chose the style of Frank Sinatra, showing a liking
to his style of song and entertaining, but a severe disliking to his
lifestyle and his general showing as a human being.
Tony Christie's final words were words
of inspiration for our lads in Germany. Recognising the
capability of the team, we only need to knuckle down and play as a
team. So it's that simple, and really, it is. If we
concentrate, don't show any complacency, and assuming we have a
neutral referee, we can win this - so how about it?
Tony has been
recording new material in Nashville and Los Angeles for a new album
due to be released in September.
is based on an actual conversation between Tony Christie and Chris Goodwin, and
the official Press Release.