The Lisbon Lions (w/ Shane MacGowan): The Best Day Of Our Lives

A far as soccer songs goes this ain’t too bad, kind of middle of the road (middle aged) rock with a big locker room chorus. Better then anything Man. U. or Liverpool or the Huns ever released.

The story of the Lisbon Lions is much better. It’s the story of 11 scrappy Glaswegians who had reached the final of the premier soccer club championship, “The European Cup”. The first “British” club ever to do so thirty five years ago now. Facing them on the football pitch was the Italian powerhouse Inter Milan, previous winners who were expected to destroy Celtic. Inter Milan’s tactics were to score quickly and then defend the remainder of the match. True to form Milan went one up in minuets and retreated into their defensive bunkers.

Celtic played a very different style of football to the Italians. Where the focus was on ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK for the full 90 minutes. Celtic manager Jock Stein believed that the only place Celtic should defend was the inside of the opposition’s penalty box. Celtic’s high pressure cracked the Milan defense once (Tommy Gemmell) then twice (Steve Chalmers) giving them a fantastic victory for Celtic, Scotland and Football.

The b-side will musically be of much more interest to S’n’O readers. Shane MacGowan joins the Celtic Chorus with the first original MacGowan release in a long time. True to form the music is a rip-off of the melody of “Kelly the Boy from Killane”, the style is still that Country’n’Irish sound of “Crock Of Gold” and Shane sounds positively blotto. Certainly not a classic MacGowan but still nice to hear something new(ish).

July 2002

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