For five years Mike Joyce was the drummer in one of the most seminal bands of all-time and this will always define him. He knows this. The Smiths were far too good and mattered far too much and to be part of that gang of four destines him to forever be introduced as ‘Former Smiths drummer…’
Yet, as if helming The Queen Is Dead and developing a style that is widely aped today wasn’t enough, the affable Mancunian went on to achieve infinitely more. He’s played with Sinead O’Connor, Julian Cope, Johnny Lydon – it seems Mike is drawn to mad genius – while away from the kit he has forged a respected career as a DJ and broadcaster.
Outside of music and family his passion was, is, and always shall be, Manchester City and at Focus Wales in Wrexham last week we caught up with the legendary sticksman to discuss all things blue…
Your first game?
Can’t remember. I used to go with my sister who was a MCFC bootgirl. She had a pair of white skinners on, a pair of docks, and she used to ‘welcome’ the away visitors. So I used to go down with her. I didn’t really go for the football, I used to just watch my sister beating up away fans. It comes with the Joyces.
Favourite ever player?
Rodney Marsh. There’s that great story of his when he was playing for England and Alf Ramsey said “If you don’t do anything good then at half-time we’re pulling you off” and he said “At City we only get an orange”. He never played again.
There are better footballers but I just liked the flamboyance of the man. It’s like the Balotelli thing – I like that in a player.
Do you miss Balotelli?
I just don’t think he’s ever had his team. City were playing with a lot of passing and no lone striker and when we did the striker was part of the build-up play. So he didn’t fit in and when he doesn’t fit in somewhere…I mean I saw him giving the Vs to Mancini during one game and you can’t have players doing that.
Your all-time City highlight?
I went to the 6-1 demolition. That was great. We were up in the top of the stands near the boxes. When it got to six it was unbelievable and I turned around and there were all these guys in the boxes really pissed off apart from one bloke who just lifted up his shirt to reveal a City top. Punching the air but very quietly.
Your all-time City lowlight?
When we thought a draw was enough to stay up v Liverpool and Niall Quinn was running about saying we had the wrong information. There’s too many to mention really (laughs)
When The Smiths were at their peak and you were travelling the world were you and Johnny Marr able to attend many games?
No. I was obviously following City but we couldn’t go. It was just music, music, music. We didn’t even have weekends off. It was just the band all the time.
How will you feel if Pellegrini leaves this summer?
It’s a difficult one because the signings he’s made – Mangala, Sagna – I don’t get it really. Even the Lampard thing – I don’t know how much influence he had on that but when you’re meant to be battling with the big boys in the Champion’s League how can you be when you’re bringing on Frank Lampard as an alternative striker?
We’ve got four world class players whereas Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, and Barcelona have eight or nine. That’s why we get found out in Europe no matter who is managing.
So who would be your dream summer signings?
The Isco thing has been running on and Sterling….he’s making a lot of waves but probably not doing himself any favours there.
We’ve got Bony now and again, in terms of Europe, is he a world class player? We should be looking at Europe but I’ve heard we’re going to start concentrating on domestic because there is a lot of money in there and with FFP we can’t go around buying all the best players. It’s going to be tough for City. We need to bring in a lot of players and a lot will be leaving.