In this sore and sorry world where old men may shout “nonsense” at the prime minister, and kids are to have their crack and sherbert dips confiscated at the school gates, there’s one aching deficiency that hurts more than any other: the miserable lack of comic writing conflating football with folk music.
I shudder to think where we’d be, then, without that genius Harry Pearson:
[Bob] Dylan’s musical roots too had prepared him for what he saw. Country music had a long tradition of football-related songs though these tended to focus on match officials rather than players. Johnny Cash, for example, dubbed himself “The Man in Black” in homage to his idol, the referee Arthur Ellis, and recorded I Walk The Line, arguably still the classic song about the life of an assistant ref. Cash wrote from personal experience. At one time many US pundits considered the man behind hits such as Rock Island Line and Folsom Prison Blues as a future World Cup linesman. Unfortunately Cash’s Old West attitudes to discipline inevitably led to trouble. In a Nevada State Cup match he shot a man in Reno just because he didn’t retreat 10 yards quickly enough and was stripped of his flag.
The world is probably full of people who don’t find that funny. But then, the world is also full of woe, disappointment, and people who don’t listen to old Dylan records while Final Score witters away in the background on a Saturday afternoon.
To save me just quoting the whole piece at you, just go and read it, the perfect close to unofficial Bob Dylan week.