England Football Online
Contact Us Page Last Updated 21 May 2006


(Is This The Way To) The World Cup
Tony Christie

England Football Online's interview with Tony Christie


Tony Christie & Chris Goodwin, 17 May 2006
In the late afternoon of 17 May 2006, only a couple of hours before Arsenal's fateful Champions League final with Barcelona, I settled down to a telephone conversation with Mr Christie.  It was a surreal moment, because I have never done anything like this before.  Still, Mr Christie answered the phone with a half-eaten biscuit still in his mouth.  That, I must say, put me at great ease.
I must admit, he sounded alright for a man who had to endure an evening with an inebriated Justin Hawkins only the weekend before.  But missing a football game for Sky One's celebrity sixes, suffering injury, an evening with The British Whale was not an ideal replacement, and he promptly left for the comforts of home.
There is only one thing more passionate to Tony Christie than his football, and that is his music.  Reborn to a new generation thanks to Peter Kay and a re-emergence of his Amarillo single.  Tony was an early-seventies star, with hits such as Amarillo, and I Did What I Did For Maria, the latter of which has been played twice in the past week on BBC Radio Two, with no plans of re-release, at least according to Tony.
It was never a thought on Tony's mind to mix the two, to record a football song.  It was only when Big George Webley rewrote the 'Amarillo' lyrics to suit a greater cause and then took a demo to BBC Radio One's Chris Moyles that cogs started turning.  It was Moyles who said "Trust me when I tell you, this will go round in your head all day".  The new lyrics made Tony laugh when he heard them and when Chris Moyles said on air that he should record it, he couldn't resist.  After all, it has every chance of making number one in the charts when England win the World Cup.  With that, Tony offered to record this new football version, and enjoyed doing so.
Tony Christie is on the same record label as an other World Cup performer, that of the Crazy Frog, who has come out of retirement for one last time to grace us with his presence and a rendition of Queen's We Are The Champions.  When I reminded Tony of this, it was met with silence, and a probable choke on the remaining half of his biscuit.  This enabled Tony to throw his weight behind the new Sham 69 World Cup song.  He liked it first time around, he likes it again.  It was pleasing to know, that through the mire that is the wanton World Cup classic song, that decent songs can shine through.  That through the self-belief that anyone can write a song that can be sung from the terraces and some rarely are, and only end up in the rubbish bin behind them, forgotten about, at least until the next tournament when the twelfth man suddenly needs to become a song.
So, while we are talking about football, the South Yorkshire-born performer, revealed his love, not for Sheffield United, or even the Wednesday club, but for attacking and entertaining football.  Although he doesn't throw his scarf around any one particular colour, he was about to go down his local and watch Arsenal take on Barcelona, and like the rest of the pub, was supporting Arsenal, not just because of them being the English representative, well Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole were playing, but because of their forward-thinking way of football.  And that is what pleases Tony Christie, apart from sell-out crowds, ...damn good football.  It doesn't end there either, Tony's love for Frank Lampard became apparent, for his attacking-midfield methods.  Both Chelsea's, and Arsenal's adventurous play, is what keeps Tony glued to the telly, both in Staffordshire, and in Spain.
Music was always Tony's first passion, so apart from playing football at school, knocking goals in was never an option as a career.  So rather than aspiring to perform the same as the Bobby Charlton's, the Georgie Best's or the Tony Currie's of this world, Tony chose the style of Frank Sinatra, showing a liking to his style of song and entertaining, but a severe disliking to his lifestyle and his general showing as a human being.
Tony Christie's final words were words of inspiration for our lads in Germany.  Recognising the capability of the team, we only need to knuckle down and play as a team.  So it's that simple, and really, it is.  If we concentrate, don't show any complacency, and assuming we have a neutral referee, we can win this - so how about it?
Tony has been recording new material in Nashville and Los Angeles for a new album due to be released in September.

This interview is based on an actual conversation between Tony Christie and Chris Goodwin, and the official Press Release.