First Touch

George Martin – I Read The News Today, Oh Boy

The sad passing of George Martin, fifth Beatle, might not immediately seem to have any footballing connection, but hold on there. For in thinking about his life and work, there are important lessons to be taken about the wider world and about this game if we choose to draw on them.

Liverpool players Steve McManaman, Rob Jones, Stan Collymore and Jason McAteer,dressed as the beatles
A new look fab four show off the new Liverpool FC away kit at Melwood Training Ground in 1996 However the Beatles this time consist of l r Steve McManaman Rob Jones Stan Collymore and Jason McAteer complete with Mop top wigs

George Martin Tribute

By Dave Bowler

Sophisticated, intelligent, urbane, Martin was the least likely revolutionary you could imagine, but, in tandem with John, Paul, George and Ringo, he transformed the world, largely because he held to the most important dictum of all – to thine own self be true.

The Beatles’ success did not come the modern method, espoused by Simon Cowell and his ilk, of seeking out the lowest common denominator and aiming squarely for the centre of it while dragging it just a little bit further down.

Instead Martin and the Fabs did what they believed in, followed the path that they saw and heard in their heads. They demanded that the world around them raised its game rather than them lowering theirs and they dragged the planet behind them to a place that nobody had hitherto imagined.


Football isn’t dissimilar when it’s at its incendiary best and has done plenty to illustrate the importance of doing the right thing rather than the easy thing many times down the years.

If we restrict our thoughts to just the post-war world, ponder the way in which the Hungarians confounded the world in the 1950s. Not only were they a sublime footballing oufit, but they became the very embodiment of the freedom of expression that a post-war world was grasping for, yet achieving that within the repressive eastern European system of the time. Get that in a thesis.

Or look at the way the Brazilians appeared to simply turn up and do what they liked. Painting football pitches with the same fervour, imagination and utter disregard for the rules of a Jackson Pollock, with the dayglo surrealism of a Dali.

Total Football

If you think “Tomorrow Never Knows” came from out of nowhere, what about total football? Who could ever imagine that your right-back might also be your left winger? Or that your centre-half could be your playmaker?

Whatever possessed Brian Clough to imagine he could win two European Cups from a tiny powerbase in the East Midlands? Or made Diego Maradona see the pictures in his head that enabled him to win a World Cup on his own? What made the denizens of Barcelona think that playing without a centre-forward was the way to destroy opposition defences?

The visionaries who made those footballing dreams real believed in themselves, in the voice in their head, in their heritage, in the strength they could take from one another.

They believed that just because nobody else was doing it, there was no reason why they shouldn’t. They believed that doing what everyone else was doing was simply dull, boring, wrong. And they believed if they went somewhere interesting, they’d take people with them. We believed we had something special, unique to offer. So did George Martin and The Beatles.

Rest easy George.

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