To celebrate Radio 4’s most iconic show on its 75th birthday, Golden Balls himself came on to tell the nation which eight tunes mean the most to him, as well as what books and luxury items he’d have with him if he somehow ended up as a castaway.
But instead of painting a football and shouting WILSOOOOOOON! at it, the sporting legend would rather have the Bible and Ella Fitzgerald keep him sane. More emotionally charged than you’d perhaps expect, here are our highlights of the interview.
Ella Fitzgerald - Every Time We Say Goodbye
"This was playing every Saturday morning when we visited my grandparents. I’d walk in and sit in my grandad’s chair, and he’d walk in and say ‘out’. He was stern but loving, and was exactly the same with my children."
Stone Roses - I am the Resurrection
“This is from the Nineties in Manchester, there were so many things going on. It was the time of the Hacienda. I probably only went there once, but certain songs remind me of Manchester.”
Michael McDonald & the Doobie Brothers - What a Fool Believes
"This reminds me of being with my parents, driving up to the Bobby Charlton Academy, stopping at the Little Chef, eating gammon. My dad would play this album from start to finish and sing at the top of his voice."
Elton John - Something About the Way You Look Tonight
“1999 was a very special year. I won the treble, I got married, and we had our first child, Brooklyn. We became friends with Elton and he was coming to the wedding to perform this song, and we got a call in the morning to say he’d had a heart attack and couldn’t come. We christened the kids a couple of years after that, and he came and performed this for us, and it’s a very special song for us.”
Alejandro Sanz - No Es No Lismo
"It reminds me of Madrid and the four years that I spent there. Victoria laughs at me because I always jump into the culture from day one, but I did the same with Madrid. I knew I had to learn the language, so I went to a Spanish bar, sitting on my own. This man is an amazing talent and a good friend."
Rolling Stones - Wild Horses
"It’s such a strong powerful song, sung by one of the best bands of all time. Whenever I’ve gone through a tough time, or on the way to a game, this is one song that reminds me of great occasions."
Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney - The Girl is Mine
“There are special moments you have with your children. When Harper was only a few weeks old, I’d try to make her smile. This song is my special moment with my little girl.”
Sidney Bechet - Si Tu Vois Ma Mere
“I’d spent so many years as a professional footballer, at some point I knew it had to come to an end. I had a phone call from the owners of PSG so I moved to Paris. This is for reflections, for Paris, for France, and an important moment in my career, when I retired.”
The luxury item he’d take
“My England caps.”
The book he’d take (if the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare are already somehow provided)
“One of my passions, On Fire by Francis Mallmann. It teaches you to cook anywhere, so if I was stuck on island, I could rustle up something.”