The other day there, I happened to come across a bloke – late 30’s early 40’s – wearing an Imagine T-shirt, Dr Winston’s mug prominently displayed. After a fairy short conversation it became evident that though this guy knew a few Beatles numbers, he wasn’t what you’d call a Lennon or for that matter, a music fan. Much worse, his son, maybe 12, had no idea who JL was. Never heard of him, nothing.
Then I read in ex Newcastle player Lee Clark’s book that few of the young players he’d coached had ever heard of Gazza. Didn’t know that Gary Linker had played football. Never knew England ever won the World Cup.
I spent last week working at a school in Northwest Melbourne. Kids from various backgrounds, Lebanese, Afghanistan, Somalia, Cambodia, Vietnam. The boys – and some of the girls – loved their football.
They all knew who Pele was. Maradona. Ronaldo. (The fat one). Ronaldhino, Zidane, *Del Pierro, Batistuta, Romario and Bergkamp, they knew the names, appreciated the history.
Do we, middle aged blokes from England and Scotland – have a ridiculously inflated idea of our cultural influence?
If so, football, if not music, catches us red-handed.
* (And, admittedly, Beckham.)