ufoThose in the know will realise RUSHONROCK‘s Self Made Man leads a double life as a sports journalist.

And this week he looks at those rare moments when his two worlds collide – and football rocks out.

Check out the musings of our resident classic rocker exclusively right here every week!

Martin O’Neill is a Led Zeppelin fan.
Not only that but the new Republic of Ireland boss actually saw them live at the O2 Arena when they reunited for one night only in 2007.
Then in charge of Aston Villa, the Irishman had been offered a ticket by club owner Randy Lerner and, being a rock fan, wasn’t going to turn down such an opportunity.
I once had a quick chat with O’Neill about the gig after a Sunderland press conference last year and during our very brief conversation, I learnt two things.
One, watching Zeppelin live in what was probably their last-ever show, was an experience he would never forget.
And two, his all-time favourite band is Jethro Tull while he’s also partial to a bit of Pink Floyd.
In all my years as a sports journalist, I think that’s the only time I have ever chatted to a manager about their musical tastes.
I may be wrong but of all the managers I’ve encountered in my professional career – and having covered the North East region for 26 years, that’s an awful lot of them – O’Neill is the only one I can think of who’s a big fan of classic rock.
Bobby Robson loved Frank Sinatra, Steve Bruce once revealed he listened to Radio Two all the time while I can recall Peter Reid singing the praises of Van Morrison.
I seem to recall Gareth Southgate telling a story of how his England team-mate Stuart Pearce tried to drag him along to a Sex Pistols reunion gig.
Then there was the infamous tale of Terry Butcher, when he was a player at Rangers, smashing up his Simple Minds collection when he heard that Jim Kerr was a huge Celtic fan with nationalist sympathies.
(Hopefully the newly-appointed Hibs manager has changed his tune since because he’ll find most fans of the Edinburgh outfit have similar allegiances!)
Anyway that’s not a lot of musical anecdotes from almost three decades on the beat.
What I can safely say is that rock music and footballers are not natural companions.
I’ve lost count of the number of times a player answers “Heavy rock” to the question in the matchday programme which asks them which music genre do they always switch off.
The latest “culprit” was Newcastle’s Cheick Tiote in the Chelsea programme though the fact AC/DC and Rush aren’t exactly big in the Ivory Coast offers him the best possible mitigating circumstances.
I remember once driving into the car park at Boro’s training ground with Deep Purple blasting out when I was nearly attacked by a very excitable Manu Pogatetz.
“Had I given him a four out of ten in the paper?” I asked myself, fearing a verbal tirade. I need not have worried.
The Austrian defender had heard the strains of Highway Star and just wanted to chat about music, informing me nearly all his team-mates were into rap, dance and disco and so he could not connect with them whenever the conversation turned to music.
At the turn of the millennium, an Argentinian called Christian Bassedas played for Newcastle though I use the verb loosely. He was not the club’s best-ever impact and lasted little more than two years.
But the likeable Bassedas was an AC/DC nut and took an instant liking to the two reporters with similarly excellent tastes. Did we “mark him up” when dishing our merit marks? I could not possibly comment.
Newcastle’s latest Argentinian recruits have fared rather more successfully than Bassedas.
Fabricio Coloccini and Jonas Gutierrez have been at St James’s Park now for four years and I’ve interviewed the pair many times.
One particular question to Gutierrez, however, went down like a lead balloon and led to quite a lot of ribbing from my fellow journalists.
Because of Bassedas’ liking for heavy rock and the fact that AC/DC had just released an album entitled Live At River Plate, I kicked off my interview with this question: “So Jonas, what do you think of AC/DC’s new album?”
The rest of the media pack looked at me quizzically, Gutierrez just stared back blankly before enquiring: “Who?”
Just another football person who doesn’t like rock music.
Still, the fact his preferred musical genre is Salsa does, I suppose, place him above most of his team-mates.
Ian Murtagh