Football 365: Talking Football & Cricket With Neil Hannon

An interview with Football 365 from 2009.


Manchester United fan Neil Hannon decided to record an album about cricket to stave off the boredom in the pub. The decision was made in the pub, not the recording…

You’re a big United fan we hear - when did you start following them?

Not until probably the late eighties. I was so obsessed with music that all sport took a particularly low spot in my childhood. I really started getting interested just before the start of the Premier League - I’m so superficial! But I got in just in time to really avoid being a glory-hunter.

That would have been Bryan Robson era then - was he your favourite, or did anyone else catch your eye?

Norman Whiteside was the first one that I really noticed - I sort of put two and two together with the United/Northern Irish thing. I remember being obsessed when we got to the quarter-finals of the World Cup. I recall quite vividly not being allowed to stay up to see us play Spain.

Do you get to games much?

Unfortunately I don’t really. Annoying things like work and girlfriends tend to get in the way. I’m a bit of an armchair fan when it comes to football. However, when I do get a chance I’m rapt. Football was very important in the ‘wilderness years’ when I was waiting for the music thing to happen. I got into football and cricket around then - it’s very soothing for the soul.

What do you reckon to United’s chances this season then?

It’s been a bit of an odd start, hasn’t it? We shouldn’t pay too much attention to the early games though. I was one of those awful doubting Thomases who thought Fergie should have retired a few years ago.

There’s not really a lot of flair in the side at the moment, is there? There’s an awful lot of attention on Rooney. I haven’t warmed to players like Anderson at all.

It’s strange though - we probably will win the league, even if it doesn’t look like it. Liverpool haven’t progressed one iota. I would like to see Spurs do well though. I have a soft spot for their idiocies.

The album - it’s a record about cricket - what was the thinking there?

It started as a bit of a drunken conversation, you may not be surprised to hear. A sort of ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if…’ conversation in the pub, which has almost gone a bit far now. It’s certainly gone further than I expected it to.

Were you worried that people were going to think it was a ‘novelty’ album and dismiss it?

Not really. The trick is to not put yourself up as an expert (on the game), and to not take it too seriously. It’s definitely going to be a one-off. You just have to try something new, something to keep you interested after nine or ten albums.

The Duckworth Lewis Method will only be doing this once, so make the most of it by buying their eponymous album and new single ‘Meeting Mr Miandad’, both out now.

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