A comment was left recently on the Cloughy Was A Boot Boy post by ailbhe in which he wrote:

“What about Sultans of Ping F.C? their song “Give Him A Ball (And A Yard Of Grass) takes its lyrics almost entirely from Clough quotes,,,”

I didn’t include that one because all the tunes mentioned in that entry were songs done specially about Brian Clough. As ailbhe mentioned the Sultans of Ping track is almost entirely taken from things old big ‘ead said so I could have included it in the Clough podcast. But again I didn’t.

I did however have a very old post which did feature the Sultans of Ping but I unpublished it because it was very old and because the writing was a bit crap.

Renewing again thanks to that comment – and to @greasepaintpeel (David Pascoe) who wrote on his blog about (at first) the ‘Kick Me With Your Leather Boots’ track, but mentioned in the article that he’d not heard all the tracks in the Peel Session first broadcast 8th March 1992.

With my other gig @keepingitpeel – I occasionally extract tracks from old John Peel shows and upload them to YouTube for the world to hear. I try to find the rare, unreleased Peel Sessions and through David’s blog I discovered that the Sultans of Ping FC session wasn’t around. I then went and rectified this situation.

After that long explanation then, here is a biography and some tunes from Cork’s finest:

The Sultans of Ping FC are an Irish band formed in 1988 by Niall O’Flaherty, Pat O’Connell, Paul Fennelly and Ger Lyons. The band’s name is a play on the Dire Straits song “Sultans of Swing”, dating from a time when “it was sacrilege to say anything whatsoever funny or nasty about Dire Straits.”

The band came to the attention of the UK and Irish music press, when “Where’s Me Jumper” was released. After several other independently released singles, the band signed to Epic Records.

With Epic, the band released their debut album Casual Sex In The Cineplex, which included the songs “Back in a Tracksuit,” Give Him a Ball (And a Yard of Grass),” “Kick Me with Your Leather Boots” and “Where’s Me Jumper?”

After releasing two more albums the band split in 1996 but reformed again in 2005.

John Robertson
The very famous tune for us football and music aficionados is the one that involved quotes from Brian Clough when he was talking about his son, Nigel Clough – or it was about Roy Keane ? No in fact it was Clough describing the skillful Nottingham Forest winger John Robertson.

The quote from Brian Clough which gave inspiration to the band to write the song was in the typical Cloughy style:

“John Robertson was a very unattractive young man. If one day I was feeling a bit off colour, I would sit next to him. I was bloody Errol Flynn compared to him. But give him a yard of grass and he was an artist. The Picasso of our game.”

This and another quote: “If God had wanted us to play football in the clouds, he’d have put grass up there” made it into the lyrics. The track was included on the Casual Sex In The Cineplex album. Which if you don’t have I highly recommend you purchase.

As mentioned in the opening I like to track down unavailable Peel Sessions and I managed to find and compile the full Sultans of Ping FC session. Here are the relevant football and musical tracks:

» Sultans of Ping FC – Give Him A Ball (And A Yard Of Grass) – Peel Session 8th March 1992

» Sultans of Ping FC – Kick Me With Your Leather Boots – Peel Session 8th March 1992

…or if you like, the full Peel Session including these two tracks:

Bonus tracks – live and another session track:

» Sultans of Ping FC – I’m In Love With A Football Hooligan (live)

» Kick Me With Your Leather Boots (live)

“Socrates and Selnopenhaur are really very nice.
Told you ’bout Ardiles and you said you’d read him twice.
Your stunning social conscience has me running round the bend.
Kick me with your leather boots,
Kick me hard again.”
» Sultans of Ping – Give Him A Ball – Live at the Savoy Theatre Cork 2005

and finally from a live session recorded in 1990 in the 2FM studio, sourced this – and thanks to them – from The Fanning Sessions.

» Sultans of Ping FC – No More Plastic Pitches – live in the 2FM studio

“QPR” “Got a lot to answer for”
“Preston North End” “Got a lot to answer for”
“Luton Town” “Got a lot to answer for”

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