Q - Please can you start by introducing yourself
A - Hello I am me, Webbie (of #keepingitpeel and Football and Music fame) - I never use my real name. I am a 40 something 80's throwback. I'm originally from Manchester but I now live in North Carolina in the USA. I am a freelance website developer. There are a few clients that keep me on a retainer to assist them with their website, I do consultancies. I love building new sites and discovery of new methods. (Parallax is currently my favourite, but haven't found anywhere to use it yet.
Parallax demo: http://themify.me/demo/themes/parallax/ )
Q - When did you move to the USA and why?
A - I moved here about 10 years ago because I am married to an American and we were living in the UK, but she got homesick. I've spent most of my life travelling but not to the U.S, so I was curious and wanted to explore.
Q - Which teams do you support and why?
A - Manchester City and Barrow AFC. City - because I could hear the noise of the Kippax from my bedroom and that's the first place my Dad took me. Barrow because I ended up working there (in the shipyard) for a few years in the early 80's and you get really close to football when it is non-league.
Q - How often do you get to a match?
A - Nowadays, never. My nearest MLS team is DC United which is a 5 hour drive. I try to watch as much football online as I can.
Q - How does watching football in the USA compare with what you were used to whilst growing up?
A - Actually with the timezones I see more games than ever. The EPL kicks off early morning - lunchtime, there are some mid afternoon and sometime early evening matches (my time). When I was growing up it was only when CIty were at home (we were poor, couldn't afford to go to away matches)
Q - What the best things about watching football in the USA?
A - As mentioned, the timezones. You can watch the Prem and still have the rest of the day to do stuff. Also with the growing interest in all things football (soccer) many people I've met as soon as they hear my English accent, talk to me about the EPL and football. Their knowledge about the game is impressive. When they discover something they read up and study everything.
Q - And the worst?
A - It's still not everywhere (the football). I'd like to see more MLS teams, maybe at least one in each state. Where I live here in North Carolina it's a college basketball state, so the coverage isn't all that great. But when you drive past the schools you can see loads of football pitches. The generation growing up now, I'd say in 10 years the USA will be as obsessional as we are about the beautiful game.
Q - There is a popular misconception that Americans know nothing about football, please dispel this myth once and for all.
A - As I said the U.Sians (as I call them) are great students of the game. If you look at some of the online friends -
Maxi at Futbolintellect: http://futbolintellect.com/
Elliot at Futfanatico: http://www.futfanatico.com/
and Miriti at Nutmeg Radio: http://www.nutmegradio.com/
all great writers.
Q - When and why did you start your website, Football and Music?
A - I started F&M in about...2007, I think. At first it was because I wanted to watch the Anfield Rap video again (I don't know why now!) This was when YouTube was in its infancy. It was also because of a couple of blogs I followed occasionally posted a football and musical song - but there wasn't a website out there that just did football and music... so...
Q - Which have been your favourite stories covered and why?
A - Robin Friday: http://www.footballandmusic.co.uk/the-greatest-footballer-you-never-saw/ Because if you know his story, or read about him you'll know the legend. There's talk about getting a movie made about him (don't know the progress). This will have to be one everybody should see. The other favourite was with The Hitchers and Strachan: http://www.footballandmusic.co.uk/strachan/
This is the very dictionary definition of a great football and music song and how they should be. I post lots and lots of rubbishy F&M songs (because usually they are!) but occasionally you dig up a diamond.
Also coming up - when I get some time, it's getting harder these days - I've got a semi serious post to do about Thatcher's government and their attempts to introduce the football ID card. Yes there is football and music involved with this one.
Q - What is Keeping It Peel and why bother?
A - The title of Keeping it Peel was one I stole from the BBC. A year after John Peel died they staged a John Peel Day, which they said would be annual. It wasn't. A couple more years rolled by and I saw there were some independently staged John Peel Day events, but again from the Beeb - nothing.
I then thought about what I could do from here, from 3000 miles away. I couldn't put on an event obviously. I couldn't play an instrument, obviously, all I did was listen.... I listened... that was it ! Something for those who listened to him rather than the performers. This is something I could do from here and could get everybody to join in. All those like me who discovered so many bands, so much music because of John Peel.
Q - When did you start Keeping It Peel?
A - It was only a few years ago, as I mentioned above it was because of the BBC's inactivity and because the number of John Peel Day events were dwindling. I couldn't put on a live show, I could stage an online event.
Q - What did John Peel mean to you whilst growing up?
A - We were poor and back then there were no TV's in your bedroom, no phones, just the radio. At night I used to have this small transistor radio and an ear piece. I used to listen to him and some of that racket late at night and fall asleep (only to be woken suddenly when he put on some thrash metal or something). But occasionally like The Hitchers song above, a diamond would appear. Growing up, football and music was all I had. John Peel was literally my teacher for both.
Q - What is your favourite John Peel anecdote?
A - I remember there was this one night... I can't remember when now... memory has faded... it was long ago... Peel came on and said that there's a fire alarm going off in the building and he might have to evacuate so he'll put on this long record just in case. After the record had finished there was a bit of silence - and if the silence goes on for too long an emergency back up tape would kick in. Just as the back up started: "... Sorry about that, we didn't have to evacuate in the end. I was in the corridor seeing which way people were running, in case I had to run at the last minute - and I nearly did !"
Q - Who will be participating in this year's Keeping It Peel?
A - I know of a few that are taking part (including you), but it isn't until the actual day that I get notices, usually. Mostly it's with people Tweeting with a Peel Session video, or John Peel memory, which is fine because Twitter is an instant and fast moving social thing. More interactive than blogging or Facebook really.
Q - What sort of response do you usually get for Keeping It Peel?
A - Usually it's good. Two years ago there were mentions in the media - including The Guardian, which is a proud moment.
Q - What do you know about Thailand?
A - I have a friend who lived and worked there - always getting updates on his Facebook page. He's in Singapore now though.
Q - What do you know about Thai football?
A - A bit more, thanks to your site! I know that football fandom in Thailand is just as fanatic as everywhere else in the world.
Q - If you could ask Thai football fans a couple of questions about Thai football, what would they be?
A - Do you think that Thai football will reach a standard where they could qualify for the World Cup or aren't there enough teams, players, leagues for this to happen ?
Tim B - The skills are undoubtedly available,whereas the commitment,fitness and mindset are solely missing and until the Thai players embrace those key and pivotal assets, no World Cup qualification beckons. Thai top players moving to play in Japan,S Korea and Australia will help and all the talk of Europe bound players is wasted, although a couple of seasons in the top leagues within ASEAN will definitely be a step in the right direction. Although whether players will leave the comfort of the TPL is another matter.
A - Are there any Thai players that should be noticed who should be playing in one of the top leagues ?
Tim B - There are a few individuals who could definitely play within ASEAN, although the longer term future for the national team is in the hands of the academy players at clubs like Chonburi.Hopefully, they will develop the key assets of commitment, fitness and mindset. In addition, it is hoped that the Thai FA and TPL will stop behaving like 5 year olds and help provide the overall infrastructure that will develop the players of tomorrow and a league that fosters that goal.
Q - Anything else you'd like to add?
A - Keep the spirit of Peel going by discovering new bands, listening to new music. With the world wide web it is far easier now to hear music, the only problem is though that there's not this one person that could point you in the right direction, so just be your own John Peel.
Twitter, website - the usual suspects:
With thanks to Webbie and Tim.