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Talking Manchester United with… The Undertones

By Jonny Abrams

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The Undertones
The Undertones… Kicks

To celebrate the 35th anniversary of The Undertones’ classic “Teenage Kicks” single, Salvo Sound & Vision will on June 3rd release the CD + DVD package An Introduction to The Undertones. Football Burp was in the mood to celebrate too, so we caught up with the legendary band’s drummer Billy Doherty for a quick natter about his beloved Manchester United, although he has soft spots for Barcelona and Derry City as well (The Undertones have staged a benefit concert for the latter on more than one occasion)…

Do you think David Moyes is the right man for the job?

They say it’ll be difficult to replace Sir Alex Ferguson but then they said it would be difficult to replace Sir Matt Busby, and Ferguson did do that. I hope Moyes has a lot of success – he was good at Everton and he’s going to be a loss to them, but with no disrespect to Everton I think the difference at Manchester United will be huge. The expectations on him will be huge.

Do you have a favourite Sir Alex memory?

I’ve got a favourite memory but it wasn’t of Sir Alex exactly. I was very lucky to be in the family section of Wembley for the 1994 FA Cup final against Chelsea and I was there with Denis Irwin’s mum and uncle – Mark Hughes came over, lifted up his shirt to the family end and kissed it. I had a lump in my throat, nearly in tears – I realised what an emotive, passionate thing football can be.

I stayed at Denis Irwin’s house when I went over for Roy Keane’s testimonial against Celtic at Old Trafford, and when Denis got out of the car in the car park he was besieged by all these Manchester United supporters. There must have been thirty, forty or fifty supporters there but he signed everything for them, was very patient and cordial, and I thought, “Well done Denis for doing that.” Sometimes people can be ‘rock star-y’ about it and say, “Sorry, I have to go,” but he stayed and signed everything.

He always did go quietly and effectively about his business, did Mr Reliable.

Very quiet man, very nice man as well. He’s the complete opposite of Roy Keane! I’m a huge fan of Roy Keane’s – I think Mick McCarthy treated him really poorly at the World Cup. He was one of the best midfielders in the world and happened to be an Irishman, and the bloody manager sent him home. That was unforgivable, should never have happened.

If you had to select a five-a-side team out of all the United players you’ve seen in your time as a fan, who would you pick?

Alex Stepney, Roy Keane, George Best, Bobby Charlton and Paul Scholes. If I was playing against Paul Scholes and he came in for a tackle, I’d just give him the ball. He’s like a terrier! Seeing Paul Scholes play, I actually feel scared for the other team because he’s absolutely do or die, for Queen and country, get in there and get that ball for your team. He’s an unbelievable footballer. The whole team’s like that, but probably Paul Scholes more than the rest.

Bill Doherty, thank you.

An Introduction to The Undertones

An Introduction to The Undertones will be released on June 3rd by Salvo Sound & Vision.

The package includes a 22-track CD, a two-hour DVD featuring Teenage Kicks: The Story Of The Undertones where the late John Peel makes a pilgrimage to meet the band in their hometown of Derry and exclusive live footage from 1979’s Northern Irish Shell Shock Rock documentary and France’s Chorus: The Undertones – Live at Le Palace (1980), as well as an additional seven promo videos and studio performances from The Old Grey Whistle Test and The Tube.

The Undertones live at KOKO

The Undertones will play the following UK shows over the next couple of weeks, before moving onto Europe:

24th – Koko, Camden, London
25th – Strummercamp, Manchester Rugby Club, Manchester
26th – The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton
27th – Sub 89, Reading

For more information, please visit The Undertones official website.