It all started when Owen said, “Have you heard the Desert Island Discs with Betty Driver?”
The name rang a bell, but I had to ask who it was.
“You know, Betty off Corrie, who dished out the hotpots in The Rovers Return.”
My immediate reaction was, hang on she was called Betty in real life as well? Seems lazy of the writers of one of the most iconic TV programmes. My second thought was Desert Island Discs, really? Of course I’d heard of the radio programme, but genuinely had never listened to it, it sounded like something my grandma would listen to and they’d all talk about at W.I. But Owen was insistent.
“Give it a listen, but not on the commute, you’ll end up crying on the train.”
I ignored him, didn’t I, and listened to it on the train home, coincidentally a very very dusty train. Betty Driver, what a bloody woman, Kirsty Young the perfect host, and a lovely bit of a musical education along the way. The world’s going to shit, social media is toxic, everything’s a hundred miles an hour, but Desert Island Discs and its huge online archive quickly become a little oasis of calm, and a source of much debate in the office.
Obviously, some of the football names jumped out amongst the who’s who of the last 80 years. So once you’ve given the Betty Driver one a listen, and please please do, here are the best episodes featuring footballers…
Respect, massive respect to Jack for picking Jimmy Nail’s Crocodile Shoes as one of his all-time favourites. The other highlight is when Sue Lawler mentions the words “long ball”, needless to say, Charlton is having absolutely none of that.
This is Gary the footballer, pre Walkers Crisps, pre-Match of the Day, pre-winding up right wingers on social media. It’s very much of its time, but a great insight into the best striker England have ever had.
Is there anything left to know about David Beckham? Probably not, but this is a lovely summary of what was a great career for the boy from Leytonstone, and he’s just so bloody nice isn’t he?
A slightly leftfield choice, considering the calibre of the other footballers that have been interviewed but Adams’ story is so much more than what happened on the pitch. His genuine affection (and regret for his misdemeanours) is extremely moving.
This is another one you shouldn’t listen to on a train; your eyes will start leaking, and everyone will think you’ve been dumped, but you’re not. You’re listening to one of football’s all time greats being himself. Recorded in the months after his disgraceful sacking at Newcastle, this is Sir Bobby at his very best.