Guest Blog: Marc Riley
- Thu 14 Mar 2013, 9:55AM
- Posted by @dclayton_MCFC
6 Music DJ and lifelong Blue Marc Riley looks ahead to the weekend...
I’ve only ever got to know one professional footballer well enough to call a ‘friend’ over the course of my 51 years on this planet.
By coincidence the footballer in question is something of a legend amongst supporters of our opponents this weekend, Everton F.C.
I first met Barry Horne (for it is he) about 20 years ago, through a mutual friend at a gig at Manchester University (now the Academy). That in itself is something of an oddity. In all my years of gig going I’ve only ever seen about five players at gigs - and for some reason unbeknownst to me - they all at some point played for a Merseyside club.
Xabi Alonso, Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman and the aforementioned Barry Horne.
I’ve come to the conclusion that this is quite simply because most footballers seem to like Garage music and are more likely to be seen gyrating in bling at an Usher gig than watching an indie band in a grubby hall.
It was in the early noughties that I decided I knew Barry well enough to ask him a big favour - namely, would he come along to my regular Thursday night 5-a-side match and do a job on the ‘other lot’?
To my surprise he was well up for it and duly turned up! It was only after about 15 minutes of wiping the floor with the rest of the players on the pitch that my fleet-footed friend was eventually rumbled.
"Flipping heck (I am paraphrasing here)… he’s Barry Horne!” came the cry.
Sadly Barry was only on-loan for one solitary match and the following week I resumed my natural place in the scheme of things –i.e. on the losing side.
Perhaps the most bizarre chapter of my life that includes the former Everton midfield general (and lest we forget Welsh international captain) took place in the June of 1998 in France. The opening match of the World Cup, staged in France.
The Stade de France in Saint-Denis to be exact for Brazil v Scotland. As football-loving BBC Radio presenters, Mark Radcliffe and I were naturally chosen by the organisation to represent Radio 1 at the game despite neither us being even remotely Scottish.
When it came to choosing a guest to invite along to add some much needed knowledge of the game we plumped for our (Welsh) pal Barry. Our role was to ‘entertain’ the fans gathered in a Market Square close to the Stade de France.
This we would do from a large open-sided articulated lorry with an array of (largely drunken) guests and Barry Horne performing an act which involved him miming from the stage, along to a really annoying record made up of nothing but really annoying car horns. It was called the Barry Air Horne Orchestra… but you probably guessed that already.
Needless to say, the (again largely drunken) crowd gathered were less than impressed. Lots of Scottish people, without tickets, watching two Mancunian idiots mess about on a truck. Then we came up with a great idea – let’s put on some Scotland shirts to show solidarity with our friends from the north.
It was - how can I pit this? – a very bad decision! The already hostile audience turned into a baying Scottish crowd baying for English blood!
My everlasting memory of the whole debacle was one particularly unpleasant man in a kilt (as you would hope), topped off with the comedy Tam o’ Shanter and ginger wig combo.
Think Russ Abbot’s ‘Jimmy’ character and you’re about there. For the remainder of the programme he would simply shout - over and over, without coming up for air, “Take those flipping shirts off you Englishmen of questionable parentage!” Again, lots of paraphrasing.
And just when we thought the day couldn’t get any worse, Scotland lost to Brazil 2-1. Ah well…