For the very first time on the Football and Music website there is an actual proper podcast. This is a collaboration with our friends at Vincerà! The story of Italia ‘90 and features the gentlemen pictured above.
The name might not be familiar to you, but if it wasn’t for Mr David Bloomfield, the former Press Officer at the Football Association we wouldn’t have had New Order, Keith Allen or that magical John Barnes rap.
David, and there’s no exaggeration here, might have single-handedly saved the football and music genre and gave it some respectability. If it wasn’t for him we might’ve had Black Lace or James Corden release an England song. Well they did actually, but that’s beside the point…
I asked Mark from the @Vincera90 pod if he wanted to have a chat with David about that eureka moment with the England World Cup 1990 song, as well as obviously about Italia ’90 and his years at the F.A. »
Below is a transcript of the episode with the addition of music and video clips and links to other things mentioned by David in the interview. Click on the sections to read more.
Hello again Mark Godfrey here, your host of Vincerà! – the story of Italia ’90 podcast. After our final epic installment which concluded the series you probably didn’t expect to hear from us again. Well here we are, or a least here I am with the first of what may or not be occasional bonus follow-up episodes where we’ll expand further on Italia ’90 stories or look to tie up a few loose ends we didn’t get round to in the original series. This episode is actually the brainchild of Webbie – the chief of the brilliant Football and Music website who was a guest on Vincerà back in episode 9. Webbie kindly asked me if I’d like to chat with the man whose idea it was to marry England’s 1990 World Cup campaign with the music of one of the most respected indie bands of the era. The result of that lightning bolt of inspiration of course, was World In Motion.
MARK: On behalf of myself (Vincera90) and Webbie (Football and Music) I’d like to welcome David Bloomfield to the podcast. In case you weren’t already aware, David was the F.A’s press officer at the time of Italia ’90 and as well as having to deal with the demands of the bloodthirsty English media on the sometimes tetchy Bobby Robson and his players during the World Cup – he was also responsible for putting the wheels in motion on World In Motion: New Order’s iconic World Cup song. David. How are you ?
DAVID: Yeah very well thanks. And you ?
MARK: Not too bad under the testing circumstances we all find ourselves in… So David you’ve got a strong football background, your Dad was a former player with Arsenal and then went on to become the manager at Leyton Orient. Did this background influence you and sort of, push you on to becoming involved as the press officer at the F.A ?
DAVID: I suppose the short answer is yes… when I was born there’s a photograph of me I think at 2 years old – 2 days old in the London Evening Standard, I’m in the arms of my Mother and it said; ‘Arsenal’s inside forward has a son’ I mean hardly any reference to my Mother and that was on the back pages the sports pages of the Standard so I’ve been it’s a natural habitat for me from day 1.
I suppose I was a bit too young to see my Dad play, except for a bit later on in his career but I’d already played we always played football at school, we always talked about it. It was always the subject that we spoke about at home and it was my Dad’s job and it was just part and parcel of my brother’s life and mine. When my Dad got transferred in the latter part of his career he played for Plymouth, we would move down there and we’d all have new school’s, so moving from one school to another became a norm really.
MARK: Well your Dad was mentioned in a Fall song; ‘Enigrammatic Dream‘ – or at least it’s thought he was because there’s some possible confusion on the part of frontman Mark E. Smith.
The lyric we are referring to says that “Jimmy Bloomfield of Blackpool…” when your Father never played for them, but of course there was Jimmy Armfield who did famously play for Blackpool – who play at Bloomfield Road. So was that confusion ever cleared up ?
DAVID: I think I cleared it up because there’s a few versions… Mark E. Smith, of course you won’t be able to ask him what actually was going on, but there is a version where he talks about the dead Jimmy Bloomfield as being revived to host this jousting encounter in Blackpool, now I looked up at the date of that live recording and my Dad died in ’83… at that time Jimmy Armfield was alive and kicking, so at that moment he must have known who he was referring to, but I think perhaps when it was written initially he might have got confused between Jimmy Bloomfield and Jimmy Armfield with Blackpool playing at Bloomfield Road, that’s perfectly possible. When Jimmy Armfield actually did die about a year ago I did get some text messages from people commiserating me on my loss of my Father. There’s always a little bit of confusion during their career with their names and they actually knew each other and played for England under-23’s together so anybody that has that confusion it’s quite normal. But I think that Mark eventually, at least in the latter, live version of that, does know what he’s talking about.
MARK: Who were the bands that you were listening to and went to watch in your youth ?
DAVID: The first gig I ever saw was David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust mode, not the famous gig when he retired that character but a few gigs beforehand so that certainly set a very high benchmark for what I was looking for. I think Bowie, Roxy (Music), Velvet Underground, The Doors, they were probably my influential bands really that I like and still listen to. Suede probably of the newer bands, although they’ve been around quite a while. They were a band I think were pretty good. Flaming Lips I like and they are turning out some good stuff I think.
MARK: Were you at the Football Association when ‘All The Way‘ the Stock Aitken & Waterman produced song for England at the Euro ’88 competition was released ?
MARK: Yeah you are right about it being totally forgettable so… Would it be fair to say that your own musical tastes and also the failure to gain any traction of that ‘All The Way’ record for Euro ’88 – Did that inform your consideration process for when the the topic of making a song for 1990 came up ?
DAVID: Well all those influences actually come together but the background to it was… I was much more interested in I suppose if you want to categorise it as left field music and anything that football teams had put out up until that point had been uniformly naff. You did have people in the music business that were interested in football, Rod Stewart had gone on about it quite alot and when my Dad was the manager of Leicester City there were bands such as Showaddywaddy were followers of the team and a bit more credibility – a group called Family were big Leicester City fans so there was a crossover into in terms of interest, but I don’t think there was much in terms of actual collaboration, they were two distinct areas of activity.
MARK: So what point was it that Tony Wilson and New Order entered the equation ? I have to assume you were a fan of New Order.
DAVID: Joy Division fan primarily and obviously that evolved into New Order. The background to this is that late at night down in London, about half past 12 at night there was a programme that I think was put out in the Manchester area on Granada TV called ‘Best and Marsh‘ and this was George Best and Rodney Marsh coming up with some film clips from great matches and their own personal anecdotes. This is a pretty good programme but it was on the graveyard shift down in London and I caught it one night and then right at the end when they were rolling up the credits, there was this quite nice bit of bouncy of music when the credits are rolling and it said “music by New Order” and that instant I knew that tomorrow I would phone up Tony Wilson and ask New Order if they wanted to do the World Cup record. There was no discussion by anybody that I was aware of that there could be or should be a World Cup record because following that Stock and Aitken thing it was really totally dried up, nobody was interested and that but when I saw this programme it was a eureka moment but I think its informed by all those bands and slight connection with football had the music business and my two loves really, football and music and in that one moment I was able to bring them all together.
MARK: Did you even think about approaching anybody else or was it always going to be New Order after you listened to them ?
DAVID: On that occasion it was a one-off. Perhaps, if Tony Wilson had said no this is a complete non starter I might have had to, might have had another think about it but until you mentioned it I never thought actually of anybody else who could have done it and Tony was enthusiastic from the very first so nobody else was really under consideration… I must say, now you mention it – in the build up to the World Cup, probably about a month or so after I’d spoke to Tony Wilson there was somebody from erm… there was that track ’19’ by Paul Hardcastle was out, I did have somebody from Paul Hardcastle’s office phone the F.A. there was a vague degree of interest from them which would have been an interesting to pursue in actual fact but we were somewhere down the road with New Order and that was the only other interest that I can recall from anybody. That was quite a tempting prospect how that would have worked out.
MARK: How things might have been very different had that, if you’d gone with Paul Hardcastle instead. How difficult was it to get the whole project off the ground and getting to convince New Order, the Football Association and course, the England players all to get onboard ?
DAVID: Just thinking about the idea that’s almost the easy bit really but if you don’t have the idea, you don’t have what comes next. When I got to work the next day at Lancaster Gate, the headquarters of the F.A. in those days, I phoned up the Granada TV and just asked if Tony Wilson was about and he was and got on the phone and I said; ‘It’s David Bloomfield from the F.A. Do you think New Order would be interested in doing the World Cup song for Italia ’90 ?’ And in an instant, to be fair to him, all credit to him he said yes, let’s do it and then he’s got the job of persuading people at his end and I’ve got the job of persuading people at my end but Tony and I, right from the beginning, we were going to do this and any obstacles that were in the way we were quite determined to knock them out of the way because he thought it was a good idea, I knew it was a good idea and I knew really that we should put it all together. Then… those days, 1990 I mean goodness it’s 30 years ago now, the F.A. was a lot less corporate than it is now so I didn’t really have to persuade anybody at the F.A. about this, there wasn’t a department for it, there wasn’t a committee for it – there was just an idea I had and I was allowed to run with it because nobody knew that this thing could possibly happen when as nowadays it’s a little bit more corporate. In those days the England team they had their own commercial interests completely separate from the F.A. so my job then was really to contact the agent of the players pool and try to convince him, he was on board for it right away, I think on the basis that there was nothing else really doing the rounds, nobody was falling over themselves to get involved with this project, then in turn the individual players had to be convinced of it’s merits. Now, New Order in those days, they would have been quite left field – people would have thought that maybe they were some sort of doom gloom goths or something like that if they had any perception of them at all. A load of footballers in those days, maybe Phil Collins might be more their territory. Luthor Vandross, something like that. There was a bit of reluctance to get involved in terms of ‘Who on earth are New Order?’ World Cup records had a particularly bad name at that time. I think also at the time Gary Lineker was trying to put together a record himself, I’ve never heard it but that sort of the public persuading Gary not to turn up and we only had, maybe, seven or eight actual squad players turn up for the recording session for the band, so it was a degree of enthusiasm but you know, nobody knew if anybody had known what was going to happen they would have been queueing up… We had more than a handful of players there so it had enough credibility I think.
MARK: So I think about the day of recording the song, we know that many of the players as you say, were less than enthusiastic. I can imagine dropping the likes of Paul Gascoigne into the recording studio environment and some of the others as well, I can sort of imagine the phrase ‘like herding cats’ might be appropriate on the day of recording.
DAVID: Collectively they don’t have a great deal of ability so they had to be steered in that regard but they don’t lack for enthusiasm. The funny thing about this when I read a lot of, when I’ve come across reports of the recording session it does sound like if it’s the Rolling Stones recording Exile On Main Street with the level of debauchery. I don’t really recall it like that at all. The fact of the matter was that we all met up relatively early, right about 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock one Sunday morning because that evening the England players were meeting up for an international match on the Tuesday or Wednesday of that week. There’s all reports about them being completely drunk and all this business, it was not the case, it was quite a sober affair because everybody the team, me included had to be meeting up at the England hotel that evening. It never really crossed my mind but I suppose I knew I couldn’t turn up with a load of drunken footballers at the England hotel because somehow some of the blame would have come my way. But it really didn’t happen like that it was a much more sober sensible affair, I mean Gazza is certainly excitable but there wasn’t any recklessness it wasn’t a festival of hedonism as sometime described.
MARK: How did you find working with New Order and Keith Allen ? Because the stories again, true or not, of difficult behaviour and of Allen’s, let’s call it, songwriting process are again, legendary but possibly greatly exaggerated.
DAVID: What you had really was some footballers there, obviously good footballers and you had a band who really knew what they were doing, so there was a degree of professionalism there underneath the surface so we had to work this out this was the only chance for the players to be in the studio with the band and I just… what surprised the first time I was in a recording studio, about the song, three or four minutes long it really is chopped up into so many different pieces almost like you know, a bricklayer building a wall, the musicians and the producers, they knew how to put this wall together and we just, we were like the bricks we were told where we were going to go… well not that I sang on it but the players were told which bit was theirs and how the whole thing comes to be constructed.
MARK: The early drafts of the song was to be called ‘E is for England’ I believe, contained lyrics which had pretty blatant drug references. First of all – How did you manage to put the kybosh on all of that and secondly – Do you know if there’s a hidden recording of this that nobody’s ever heard ?» Englandneworder – The B Side
Vocals [Naff Football Shouts & J B Impersonation] – Keith Allen
DAVID: I remember when I spoke to Tony Wilson right at the very beginning, I mean certainly aborting to the ethos that the artist must have complete liberty to record and say whatever they want so I said to Tony, you can do what ever you like but I don’t want any reference to hooliganism. I mean that was the blight of the English game at the time and in some cases you had politicians arguing that England shouldn’t even take part in Italia ’90. And of course English clubs in those days weren’t committed, didn’t take part in European club competitions. So hooliganism was the subject that I didn’t want to the song to have anything to do with, but apart from that I didn’t issue any stipulations in anyway, shape or form. But I do remember seeing the front cover of the NME around that time, with a big suggestion that there was going to be E for England and I thought “hmm..that’s going to be a problem for me, how am I going to explain that…” But by the time we came to the er… I certainly didn’t put any block or veto on that, by the time we came to the studio these mythical lyrics, it just wasn’t referenced at all and I must admit I had a sigh of relief personally that wasn’t there because I knew that would be something down the line that I had to attempt to explain. So there is not a recording of that because it didn’t make it as far as the studio on the day.
MARK: Well the song the video, the iconic John Barnes rap. Once it was all in the can – Did you ever think that not only had an instant hit that would accompany the 1990 World Cup, when let’s not forget the England team were not really expected to do that well, that would also something that would remain a cultural landmark for decades to come ?
DAVID: I think my ambition from the very first was to turn out a decent song that can stand or fall on it’s own merits. If you link it with the football, fine, but it didn’t necessarily have to do that. There’s all the other examples that you have cited, if you didn’t listen to them in a football context it would be totally unbearable, its torture as it is but if you link them to football then maybe you can get through the three minutes of it. But with this one I wanted it to be able to stand alone and I think it does. I do remember at the end of the recording just as it was being wrapped up, when we were all in the studio Tony Wilson said to me ‘Ok David, your the guy who started this – What do you think?’ And I said I always knew it would be good. So right from the first knowing that the type of music that New Order put together, it couldn’t be anything other than good because certainly up until that I don’t think Joy Division and New Order had put a foot wrong. As to it being a cultural legacy you could see that pretty soon that during the tournament the sales of the record, even massive sales I believe in Germany. It started to have a life of it’s own and that was very pleasing. Nothing quite as pleasing to be honest as the moment the idea came into my head and I knew it was a good one that was quite a rush I have to admit.
MARK: If we move on to Italia ’90 itself now. What was that experience like for you having to balance the demand for access to the squad as I mentioned at the start, of the infamous English press, both the sports guys and the muckraking tabloid rotters with the fragile egos of Bobby Robson and the players because we know that relations between the two sides were strained to say the least.
DAVID: I don’t think that Bobby Robson had a fragile ego, the amount of stick that came his way I think anybody would react on occasion through it. For me personally it was an absolutely brilliant summer because I was out there with the team right there from the beginning, I mean I’m a young guy I’m a good Sunday league footballer and I’m knocking about with world class players. I’m at the hotel I’m going to the training, sometimes taking part in the training if they want somebody else to be in the defensive wall on the end of the wall getting the ball blasted at me, but that’s just great isn’t it I mean, you are partaking in something…
The media in those days you had terrific competition between the Sun and the Mirror in particular and I do remember one occasion I overheard two journalists talking and their instructions from their office was ok, you’re going to give Bobby Robson the benefit of the doubt and you are going to roast Bobby Robson so there was quite an aggressive atmosphere between the journalists more so perhaps the offices back in this country telling them directing them what kind of stories they should have. I mean it was my responsibility to structure a press conference each day and I thought to be fair to Bobby Robson he turned up and he would tend to take on all the questions, all the demands, all of the media from around the world, you know the players would have less time to be bothered to think about that and could go back to the hotel for a sleep that afternoon. It did reach some tetchy moments I suppose, there was one day when the players refused to talk to the press but that was in response to a story that had irritated them beyond belief that was totally untrue. What we really didn’t notice at the time was, there was a degree of support building for the team in terms of the performances and the results and the stories. Again it was 30 years ago it’s such a long time ago there isn’t any instant media, instant communication, we didn’t really know the groundswell of support that was building for the team and that’s best show in a way by when we came back to Luton Airport hundreds of thousands of people there. When we were in Italy, we couldn’t contemplate that degree of support for the team.
MARK: We all recognise the significance of the Premier League inception in 1992 but personally I believe football in England could be divided into pre and post Italia ’90 ages and you were right in the center of it all, so from your perspective inside the F.A. – Was the success and popularity of the 1990 World Cup and of course World In Motion – Was that ever properly capitalised on ?
DAVID: I think your division of before Italia ’90 and after is quite on the money there really, no pun intended. I think what Italia ’90 did and all World Cups do this, they introduce due to the coverage they introduce people that might be anti-football or neutral towards football and they show this sport to them at the sort of top end often people think yeah, hold on a minute there’s something going on here I quite like this. Other people still retain their empathy towards the sport but you will find a lot of people are introduced to the sport in a very positive way. You can see this with school kids, some kids are not interested in football, there’s a World Cup on…. see them five, six months later and they are playing football and really interested in the games. I do think World Cups do that and the World Cup record I suppose was an element in that in sort of taking football out of it’s immediate loyal supporter base and introducing it in other areas. I’ve seen that record used on lots of quite a few modelling assignments with people walking down the display area, the music’s going on in the background. So, in terms of the Premier League, you could get the feeling that there was something going on because the sort of director types that were with the England team were talking about it. I mean it’s much a bigger question if it’s good for the game or not, that’s a debit and credit analysis you’d have to make.
MARK: Is there anything that you would do differently in the context of either Italia ’90 or World In Motion ?
DAVID: I certainly think I would like Chris Waddle’s shot that hit the post, go in. I don’t know if you can remember there was an episode of a programme called Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) this detective programme, where one of the detectives was actually dead and as a ghost but he was able to… he wore a white suit he was able to influence events and there was one episode I think where he was sitting on a crossbar and he managed to deflect a shot that was going in… and to enable his team to win so something like that would have been nice to sort of knock his shot into the goal rather than to hit the post. What could have we done different ? Well certainly wouldn’t have done different with World In Motion, I think that’s stood the test of time. England’s performances, that’s sort of established itself in people’s minds. Particularly the West Germany game I mean that was just a fantastic game of football whether you are watching football for the first time or it’s your passion.
MARK: Yeah I don’t think I’ll ever watch a game as dramatic and as breathless as that one.
DAVID: The Cameroon game and the one against Belgium they were full of drama as well, but I think in the terms of the quality and the drama you literally had everything in that West Germany game.
MARK: Is it true that you are responsible for a line in ‘Three Lions‘ ? And if so what was the line and what is the story behind it ?
DAVID: By the time Euro ’96 came around there started to be a commercial department at the F.A. and a guy from that department, I remember him calling me up I’m in the press office and he says; ‘David. Can you show me the file on World In Motion ?’ And I said, well there isn’t one. It was a couple of phone calls and that was it. And he was completely bemused about this coming from a slightly different background. I can remember there was committees and all this kind of malarky… and these lyrics came in to Lancaster Gate and because I had a bit of experience about this the guy from the commercial department said ‘What do you think of these lyrics’ ? And certainly the opening remarks I think that were made by Alan Hansen, he’s ripping players to shreds and I said, I think this is a bit too negative and you can have a bit of fun, saying someone is useless or that sort of thing but this is… it was too nasty and I said why don’t you just put in there; ‘I know he can play’ because that’s quite a universal observation in football if somebody is any good you might say like with Gazza – ‘Oh he can play’ so that line right at the beginning I think voiced by Alan Hansen ‘I know he can play’ which is a much more positive observation than the ones that were originally written down, that did actually make it. The Lightning Seeds done it, it was somebody else’s baby within the F.A. and I think actually when you hear it at a football match, it actually does a job better at a ground than World In Motion. I think World In Motion sounds better on the radio but Three Lions is a fantastic song actually to be played at a ground and it was fantastic during Euro ’96 itself when that came on and the crowds voiced the words, it was great.
MARK: World In Motion is very much of its time, sort of the indie music, dance music to listen to in a club as you said on the radio. Whereas Three Lions is very much of its time, the whole lad culture, Britpop culture from the terrace and that kind of stuff, so yeah… Two records of very much of their time but they are never going to be topped I don’t think in the terms of England football songs or indeed any football songs I can imagine surpassing the success of those.
DAVID: It would have been interesting if we’d qualified for the 1994 World Cup because I did have an idea in my mind… and this is an exclusive – I was going to contact Aphex Twin because I thought that if we were going to do this again you had to go a little bit more left field and I think that would have been an interesting combination Aphex Twin might have done with it.
MARK: Indeed. Were you still at the F.A. when it was decided to record a single with Echo & The Bunnymen, the Spice Girls, Ocean Colour Scene and Space for the ’98 World Cup ?
David: No no, I’d just about left then so I didn’t have any influence over that at all. Again I’m vaguely familiar with the song you are talking about but it not etched up here is it. It’s not quite the same.
MARK: No to be honest, me either.
DAVID: Actually there was Keith Allen and his ‘Vindaloo‘ that’s in the playoff zone I think that one, that’s quite interesting, Keith and his Vindaloo.
MARK: Well David it’s been fantastic to speak to you about World In Motion, Italia ’90 and your experiences at the F.A. I hope you’ve enjoyed reminiscing with us and taking this 30 year trip down memory lane. We really appreciate your time.
DAVID: It’s been great, it’s good to put some of the records straight because you do hear some weird and wonderful tales. Maybe they are better than the truth, but it’s been a chance to redress that I think, but thank you.
MARK: Fantastic. Thank you David.
MARK: That’s your lot for today. Thanks very much for tuning in to this one. Remember the original 24 part day-by-day Vincerà series is still available to download wherever you get your podcasts from and you can still follow us on Twitter and Instagram @Vincera90. So don’t forget to keep an eye out there for news of any more potential bonus episodes in the future. You can follow today’s collaborators Football and Music on Twitter @FootieAndMusic and their website is www.footballandmusic.co.uk so please check that out because it really is a great resource to find out more about football songs throughout the decades. Well we hope to see you again soon for another bonus episode of Vincerà! the story of Italia ’90. So, ciao….