Those of you who are able to cast your memories back to July 2014 will recall that the previous time this singer and song was featured. Today’s posting leans heavily on that occasion….

This song was brought to my attention via the exceptional Football and Music website. It is devoted to linking football and music and it does so to great effect, very often in the most entertaining and educational way and is the way that I came to learn about Lonely Tourist, the name adopted by Paul Tierney, a Glasgow-born singer/songwriter now based in Bristol (well, at least he was back in 2014).

mp3 : Lonely Tourist – The Ballad of Paul Tierney

The thing is, the song written by Paul Tierney the musician is about Paul Tierney the footballer. This is the summary from wiki:-

Born in Salford, Greater Manchester on 15 September 1982, Tierney signed for Manchester United as a trainee in July 1999 and as a professional 12 months later. He was loaned out to Crewe Alexandra (where he scored his first career goal against Blackpool), Colchester United, and Bradford City. He made his senior debut for Manchester United on 3 December 2003 against West Bromwich Albion in the League Cup. He signed for Livingston on 16 June 2005 having been released by Manchester United, but failed to impress in his first season at the club and they were relegated from the Scottish Premier League. He joined Blackpool on 2 June 2006 on a free transfer.

In July 2007, Blackpool manager Simon Grayson allowed Tierney to join Stockport County in a six-month loan deal. At Stockport he scored once against Macclesfield in the Football League Trophy. Tierney returned to Blackpool in January 2008, and in May 2008, he was released by the club. In September 2008 he signed for Conference National club Altrincham. However, he left the club after less than a month.

Tierney has also represented the Republic of Ireland at under 21 level.

Here’s the thing, Paul Tierney’s one first team appearance for Manchester United was alongside a few household names, with none more famous than Cristiano Ronaldo. As Webbie, the brains behind Football and Music said:-

Paul Tierney in his time did something we all dream about – playing football for an elite team. Playing football professionally and being paid for it.

It was during his spell in Scotland with Livingston FC that Paul Tierney the musician first noticed him and led to the writing of the song. It turns out that, via Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq, word got back to Paul the musician that Paul the footballer had heard the song, and not only did he like it, but he was flattered by it.

I picked up a copy of the song via bandcamp. If, having listened to via this posting and you find that you like it, I’d respectfully ask that you do similar.





I was tempted to leave my look at today’s Friend Electric until this coming Sunday so that it would tie-in nicely with the final of the 2014 World Cup….but I thought instead that putting it on the morning after the second semi-final was determined might help you with build up.

Football and Music isn’t a blog but a fully blown website managed and delivered by Webbie. He started it going in 2007 for a very simple reason and from what was a very modest undertaking he now is responsible for one of the best and most original things out there:-

Football and Music is run by a British Expat now living in North Carolina in the USA.

The website was born not by design but by accident.

One day for reasons unknown to me now I wanted to watch the Anfield Rap video again.
I think I wanted to remind myself of how craptacular it was.
After this I began looking at other football/musical items and then had that eureka moment. As I was looking I discovered there was much, much more out there than I imagined. I must tell people about this…

Over the years I’ve discovered some gems. But most of the time they are horrors. You will discover that football and music is a genre that shouldn’t exist. But it does. Something I thought wouldn’t last, but every day I find something new. This journey never seems to end.

The site is constantly changing to reflect the times…for instance right now ‘2014 World Cup Songs – Every Team’ does exactly what it says on the tin. There’s a great permanent section called ‘Find Your Team’ under which all his posts have been tagged – there are 300 teams/subject matters ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. As a Raith Rovers fan I have to highlight this particular post from September 2009, which is a mix of words, video and music so its much easier to provide the link:-

I’ll leave you to determine if that’s an example of the sublime or the ridiculous.

Here’s one of Webbie’s great postings from earlier this year:-

Tierney (A Ballad To…)

How many times have you been watching a match and you hear the commentator say…”the ex-Manchester United trainee there…”

Happens often doesn’t it. Well this is the story (and song) about one of those.

The player in the spotlight today is one Paul Tierney, the English-born Republic of Ireland Under-21 left back, who as mentioned was signed to Man Utd as a trainee. But like quite a few others it didn’t happen for him there.

The information I have about him is brief and comes from the Wikipedia entry, a couple of football news items – and mostly from the song.

That we’ll get to in a moment, but for now let’s look at the subject in hand:

Signed onto the Old Trafford books in 1999 and turned professional a year later, at first Tierney was loaned out to Crewe, Colchester and Bradford. But he did make an appearance for his parent club – Dec 2003: versus West Brom in the league cup.

Eventually Paul was released and signed for Livingston in the Scottish Championship, the second tier of the Scottish football leagues. That was only for one season, but a significant one because this is where a certain Glaswegian music took note of him…which I’ll come to in a minute.

Moving back down to England he signed for Blackpool, went out on loan to Stockport during that time and then after being released he joined the Alty… and that’s the last entry on his Wiki page. I don’t know where Paul is still playing now or if he’s still playing.

Looking at that journey, the appearances and the clubs it’s easy to make a Doc “Moonlight” Graham in the movie Field Of Dreams comparison. Like the young Archie Graham with his brief glimpse at the big league, Paul Tierney did make the Manchester United first team appearance in that league cup game alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. Also in his time at Blackpool he was part of the League One playoff final winning team.

He has a Wikipedia entry. His career stats are recorded on Soccerbase. Paul Tierney in his time did something we all dream about – playing football for an elite team. Playing football professionally and being paid for it. That’s more than you can say.

⇒ To the music then and as mentioned it was when Paul Tierney was turning out for Livingston that Paul Tierney noticed him. For obvious reasons.

This person, usually in the spotlight for something. In this case football. This person becomes your “other self” and you do wonder how your more famous other self is doing today. I myself have a namesake who is the lead singer of a big charting musical group and ever since discovering this I always look him up.

This other Paul Tierney is a Scottish singer-songwriter and he followed the fortunes of his footballing self, which eventually led him to record a song.

There is an excellent article over on the Daily Record from which I will borrow a quote:

It’s a bittersweet tale of early promise, career-changing mistakes, bad luck and unfulfilled potential.

Glaswegian Paul, now based in Bristol, said: “I knew a wee bit about Paul’s career because he had the same name.

“His story is sad in some respects, but the song asks the question, ‘Who would you rather be? Him or me?.’ To have been a footballer at any level, you have to be brilliant.”

Paul, who now records and performs as Lonely Tourist, recorded the song in Glasgow with Attic Lights’ guitarist Jim Lang.

Paul said: “I wasn’t sure whether anyone would hear it. But I got an email from Steve Lamacq saying he remembered Paul at Colchester and that he loved the song.

“It went from there to being played on Radio 6 to me getting an email from Paul’s brother-in- law saying he loved it.

“Then I got an email from Paul himself thanking me for it, saying that he wasn’t at all offended, that he thought it was genius and that he was going to get everyone to buy it.

“I honestly didn’t even think he’d ever hear it.”

mp3 : Lonely Tourist – The Ballad of Paul Tierney

….which you can buy via Bandcamp – and you can name any price to download this song.*

A beautiful, if slightly melancholy tune which perfectly describes the fortunes of the playing Tierney better than a Wikipedia entry ever can.


* just as I did when I stole this post – JC.

More Friends Electric tomorrow