About Me

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Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
I'm a director of Maidenhead United Football Club. For ten seasons one of my roles at the club was to produce the match programme. The aim of this blog was to write football related articles for publication in the match programme. In particular I like to write about the representation of football in popular culture, specifically music, film/TV and literature. I also write about matches I attend which generally feature Maidenhead United.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Half Man Half Biscuit

Four lads who shook the Wirral, Half Man Half Biscuit have been quietly peddling their wry observations of British life for over twenty years now.
Hailing from the less fashionable side of the Mersey, their sound remains defiantly indie in the original mid 80s sense of the word, and as you would expect from a band led by a lyricist of humble origins born in the 50s, the songs touch on the subject of football more often than not.
This was apparent from their first album Back In The DHSS which closed with "All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit", the title being something of a red herring as Dukla were the favoured team of the Soviet backed Czech regime so never had to change their kit. It is a tale of childhood jealousy which I'm sure we can all relate to:
"So he'd send his doting mother up the stairs with the stepladders
To get the Subbuteo out of the loft
He had all the accessories required for that big match atmosphere
The crowd and the dugout and the floodlights too
You'd always get palmed off with a headless centre forward
And a goalkeeper with no arms and a face like his
And he'd managed to get hold of a Dukla Prague away kit
'Cos his uncle owned a sports shop and he'd kept it to one side
And after only five minutes you'd be down to ten men
'Cos he'd sent off your right back for taking the base from under his left winger
And come to half time you were losing four-nil
Each and every goal a hotly disputed penalty
So you'd smash up the floodlights and the match was abandoned
And the dog would bark and you'd be banned from his house
And your travelling army of synthetic supporters
Would be taken away from you and thrown in the bin"

The follow up long player "Back Again in the DHSS" returns to Eastern Europe with "I Was A Teenage Armchair Honved Fan" whilst "Dickie Davies Eyes" contained the line that the spawned the title for Gillingham fanzine "Brian Moore's head (looks uncannily like the London Planetarium)".
Football pundits are fertile ground for ground for the band, "Gubba Look-a-Likes" conjures up a disturbing image whilst you may hear the following on York Road FM today:
"Lord I've tried the best I can
I've asked everybody in Kazakhstan
but I still don't understand
Bob Wilson, anchorman"
The band are firm fans of Tranmere Rovers and are known to schedule gigs to avoid missing games. On "Friday Night and the Gates are Low" they mourn the arrival of the new breed of football fan:
"When I had my loft
Converted back into a loft
The neighbours came around and scoffed
And called me retro
But they are the type
Who never used to go to the match
Until the family thing got big
In the late eighties"

Appropriately in this supposed era of respect on there is sympathy for the match officials, for example on "Paintball's Coming Home" the band opine "If I were a linesman I would execute defenders who applauded my offsides" whilst who can argue with "The Referee's Alphabet" which ends "Well the Z could be for Zidane, Zico, Zola, Zubizaretta, Zoff, Even Zondervan, but is in fact for the zest with which we approach our work, without this zest for the game we wouldnt become refs, and without refs, well zero"


Cherry Hinton Blue said...

There is no finer band in history when it comes to great football references. From the Garth Crooks gag in Lock up your mountain bikes, or the passing references to ultra-obscure Euro-favourites Stromgodset and Jeunesse d'Esch, these guys rock. Plenty more (excuse the plug) at The Half Man Half Biscuit Lyrics Project

Steve said...

Thanks. Your website was a help in writing this piece. Keep up the good work!