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Football Firsts: Manic Street Preachers - Sky Sports, 27th September 2010

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Title: Football Firsts: Manic Street Preachers
Publication: Sky Sports
Date: Monday 27th September 2010
Writer: Peter Fraser

Manic Street Preachers' Nicky Wire remembers growing to love Joe Jordan, snubbing a trial at Arsenal...and owning the Grease soundtrack

With a new album that includes thought-provoking song titles such as, 'A Billion Balconies Facing The Sun' and 'All We Make Is Entertainment', we are reminded that Manic Street Preachers have a style of their own.

Their tenth studio LP, 'Postcards From A Young Man', was released as a double-disk at the start of the week and is a demonstration that the Brit Award-winning band are not prepared to rest on their laurels in an ever-changing music industry.

New single, '(It's Not War) - Just The End Of Love', which was released in mid-September, has all the rock-pop hallmarks of the Manics and reminds of the sound of the lyrically brilliant and musically euphoric 1996 album, 'Everything Must Go'.

Nicky Wire has been a lynchpin of group's success over the years, but the multi-talented, Tottenham-supporting bassist could also have made a career as a professional footballer had the work of Morrissey not taken influence.

Ahead of the start of the Manics' UK tour, which begins in Glasgow on 29th September and goes through to 28th and 29th October in London, Wire gave skysports.com his memories of a snubbed trial at Arsenal, shock at the antics of Joe Jordan, and listening to the Grease soundtrack.

My Dad was a Cardiff City/Leeds fan, but the first team that I really fell in love with was Tottenham. The magical era of Glenn Hoddle, Ossie Ardiles, Ricky Villa, Paul Miller and Graham Roberts, they were the team that grabbed me. I guess I was around eight or nine and it was the idea that glorious football could triumph over winning. My Dad used to tell me about Danny Blanchflower, the great Bill Nicholson sides, Bobby Smith and Cliff Jones, who was an amazing Welsh winger. I had dallied with other teams up to that point, but I liked to win in style.

Ninian Park
It was at Cardiff's old ground, Ninian Park, but I can't remember the specific game. It might have been one of the Home Internationals because my Dad always used to take me. But then again it might have been against someone like Wolves or Stoke. I remember being pretty scared, to be honest. It was proper Seventies madness going on. Luckily I felt safe with my Dad. I went down to Newport County a couple of times as well. Amazingly they got to the Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final in 1980/81 and had about 20,000 people in Somerton Park against FC Carl Zeiss Jena. I was a travelling football fan at this point.

Glenn Hoddle
The whole Seventies for me was typified by Tony Currie, Stan Bowles, Rodney Marsh and obviously Glenn Hoddle. It was the classic No.10s; slightly lazy, hands on hips and dodgy haircut. There were so many of them in the Seventies who seemed to be iconic, slightly wayward, but I was always obsessed by that. I played a lot of football and always fancied myself, probably because I had no fitness. I'd like to think of myself as a No.10, but I was actually more of a Franz Beckenbauer, a sweeper/midfielder with a good-range of passing [laughs]. I'm probably deluding myself. I remember reading an interview with Sir Bobby Charlton. He used to rush home from school and put a sweeping brush up against the garage and kick a ball at that for accuracy. I used to do that and drive my Mum and Dad crazy.

Joe Jordan
It was in qualifying for the 1978 World Cup. The match was at Anfield and Scotland's Joe Jordan won a penalty for his own team by handballing it in Wales' penalty area (infamous referee Robert Wurtz thought a Welsh player had handled the ball). It was as blatant as Maradona's Hand of God. It doesn't resonate as much, but Jordan handballed it, pretended he headed it and knocked us out. I actually loved Jordan as a player because my Dad supported Leeds. Jordan didn't become a huge villain, but it was the first time I thought, 'People can cheat!'. I was gutted. It took me a while to like Joe again and now he is Harry Redknapp's assistant at Tottenham...[shouting] all is forgiven!

Jim Montgomery and the 1974 World Cup
There are two things. The Leeds-Sunderland FA Cup final in 1973 when I was probably only four years old, but my Dad was heartbroken. I remember the Jim Montgomery double-save, I remember it as an unbelievably one-sided game. But you couldn't help being won over by Sunderland. My Dad was in a pit of despair. FA Cup day was the most magical day after Christmas and Bonfire Night. It was close the curtains, have a shandy, peanuts and crisps, watch the teams in their coaches; it was like a Bank Holiday, but with something good about it. I was also transfixed by the 1974 World Cup. It had the great Dutch side and Scotland were involved. That was a good couple of weeks.

Red Star
The best club was called Red Star, I guess they took the name from Red Star Belgrade. We had the Roy of The Rovers kit and it was like a boys' club. We had all the reprobates and rough kids. Even though I was very working class, I was considered posh in that team. I had really long hair and everyone thought I was a girl, my nickname was 'Shirley'. Everyone was really protective and all the rough kids would be having a cigarette at half-time, even though it was only something like Under 10s! We didn't win anything. I also had a couple of trails with the Welsh youth team and I went to a few training sessions. But, I've got to be honest with you, at that point I discovered Morrissey and I started putting daffodils in the back of my trousers. I still love football, but music became all consuming. I realised at that point that you think you are really good in your district, but then you reach the wider world and you think, 'this is going to take a lot of effort'. I was offered a trial at Arsenal, but I never really went. I was an unbelievable Mummy's boy and I didn't want to leave home. I was a good cricketer as well and fancied myself as a bit of a swing bowler like Terry Alderman.

Nottingham Forest, 1978
It was definitely Leeds because of my dad, but the first one that I bought was the Nottingham Forest kit in 1978. I've still got it. I've also got a Tottenham kit, I think it's 1979/80, the Le Coq Sportif one, which was fantastic. I'm saving it for my little boy, and my girl wears the Forest kit because she quite likes the top. That was when kits were kits.

Grease - Original Soundtrack
It was bound to be something really bad... I know, it was 'Grease'! I loved the title track, 'Grease Is The Word'. [Singing]: We take the pressure and we throw away. Conventionality belongs to yesterday. Great line. I listened to my Mum's Abba albums and my Dad's Neil Diamond albums as well. I guess the first proper album that I bought with my brother was 'London Calling' by The Clash. We were slightly confused by it. We knew it was cool, but were probably too young so we stored it away and then it became something of a bible for us.