Music and football.
I’m guessing those two recreational carry activities some importance to you? Well, at least one must matter as you wouldn’t be reading this blog otherwise!
Their ability to provide a kaleidoscope of emotions make them the ideal escape from everyday grind. Good or bad, people turn to their favourite tune or team for comfort.
Sometimes they intertwine with other parts of your life, forming a constant back drop to daily events. It is that clash of football and music – or more accurately Everton and the Beatles – that forms the basis of Toffees fan Neil Roberts’ book, appropriately titled: “Blues and Beatles”.
The book is an honest and heartfelt account of his life so far, the ups and downs, the highlights and lowlights, the joy and pain, with his passion for Everton and Liverpool’s favourite band resonating throughout.
But this is no normal autobiography, because unlike when you read the ghost-writings of some random celebrity, Neil’s journey carries events and emotions we can relate to and emphasise with.
Not just the emotion and trauma of parental break-ups, the beginning and ending of relationships or the magic of fatherhood, but the power music has on your emotions, as well as a no holds barred ride on the Everton rollercoaster and the influence it has on his relationships.
Even an early trip across the park to Anfield couldn’t sway his Blue loyalties, with Neil openly admitting that Liverpool fans “really weren’t my kind of people”. But upon a trip to Goodison a week later, Neil had “found happiness” and came to the realisation that “Everything Everton had to offer was better than ANYTHING Liverpool could.”
Neil is already my kinda guy!
Not that Neil has had a ‘normal’ life either. Aside from his journey with the blues not many people can also say they have had the chance to interview some of the most famous names in the world. For Everton fans they don’t get much bigger than Duncan Ferguson, Howard Kendall or Alex Young, but Neil had the chance to meet them all. Paul McCartney proved more elusive, and you have to read the book to see whether he eventually achieves his dream of meeting his musical idol.
The book has extra resonance with me as not only am I an Evertonian but I am also a budding journalist, so to hear his fascinating tales from his time as reporter on the Liverpool Echo and the Evertonian magazine are inspiring, but also turned me green with envy!
But Neil’s working life wasn’t restricted to just Merseyside, his journalistic endeavours took him as far as Bermuda and back, to London and national news papers the Sun and News of The World as well as broadcasting giants the BBC and ITV.
And while friends and girlfriends come and go, omnipresent throughout Neil’s journey are his twin passions, Everton and the Beatles. He may not have seen the great band live as one, but he is one of the lucky ones to actually see Everton win the league and watch in person arguably the Toffees greater ever side, the likes of Gray, Sharp, Sheedy, Southall and Ratcliffe.
But what goes up must come down and like many of us he shared the club’s decline, with the twin great escapes against Wimbledon and Coventry, the end of Peter Johnson and the revival under David Moyes – and yes he met him as well.
I recommend the book to anyone who has a passion for anything – be it football or not. As passion is what makes us feel alive and while Bill Shankley was wrong when he said football is more important than life and death, it certainly feels like it at times. And anyone who has ever felt like that will share in Neil’s journey.
If you want to know a bit more about Neil and his book visit his facebook page and follow him on Twitter: @neiljroberts1.
To celebrate the launch of ‘Blues and Beatles’ we also have a copy of the book to give away! All you need to do is answer the below question:
Who was Everton manager when they won the league and European Cup Winners Cup in 1985?
Send your answer via the contact form here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The competition closes at midnight UK time on Thursday 30th November and the winner will be chosen at random the following day.
If you are not the lucky winner of the book you can always buy it from Amazon by clicking here.