The Cutter understands that Wigan Athletic are making plans to follow Fulham’s bizarre decision to place a Michael Jackson statue outside Craven Cottage by erecting one of their own, also to a much-loved musical legend.
Trinidad-born cheesy soul merchant Billy Ocean, best known for such hits as Caribbean Queen and When The Going Gets Tough (The Tough Get Going) has no prior connection to the Lancashire club and is believed to not even be aware of the Latics’ existence.
However, when we approached chief-executive Simon Greenall and put this to him he became defensive and was indignant at the accusation that the club were jumping on the bandwagon. Or perhaps, more aptly, the soul train.
‘A football club paying tribute to a musical genius is currently in vogue. I’ll give you that. But we thought of the idea first – we can show you the dated committee minutes as proof – and believe that the crazy Egyptian somehow got wind of it and trumped us by employing an inferior sculptor who knocked up a slap-dash rush-job. Have you seen their Jacko? It looks like Leona Lewis after a minor stroke.’
‘Whereas we have taken our time finding the right fella, a wonderful sculptor from nearby Bury, and will shortly unveil our eight foot bronzed erection to a R&B/soul crossover legend.’
But why Ocean, we persisted, and what connection does he have to football?
‘The town of Wigan has a rich musical heritage and we wanted to reflect that’, Greenall continued, not entirely answering our query.
‘George Formby was born and raised here and during the seventies we hosted tremendous boogie entertainment on the pier.’
‘But we chose Billy because several of the board members are such huge fans of his output. Get Out of My Dreams (And Into My Car) always gets us up and shaking our thang at corporate shindigs and wedding receptions. In fact, when David Pleat was a guest of honour at a recent event he couldn’t get enough of the song. He kept pestering the DJ to play it on repeat and was punching the air to the chorus as if it meant the world to him.’
The Cutter suggested it would be perhaps more appropriate to pay homage to a football legend who is closely associated with the pie-eating capital of the world. But when neither we, nor Greenall, could think of a single potential candidate our interview drew to a close.