MY DAD JOHN PEEL – THE FANATICAL RED
Tom ‘Dalglish’ Ravenscroft 13 October 2005
To commemorate the first ever ‘John Peel Day’, the late Liverpool-supporting DJ’s son explains just how fanatical his dad was about the Reds.
Today marks the first anniversary of our dad’s death and it’s only fitting that myself, my mum, my brothers, my sister and various other members of our family will be at the home of his, and our, favourite football club.
This afternoon the Liverpool Academy has kindly agreed to stage a football tournament in his memory. It has been organised by Peter Hooton of The Farm and it’s bound to be a memorable occasion.
Everyone seems to know about John Peel the DJ, but what is not as widely known is his love for Liverpool Football Club.
He was that fanatical about Liverpool, he used to drive up to Anfield from Suffolk every other weekend and would go to many of the European games with John Gorman of The Scaffold.
Of course, a lot out-of-town Reds do the same but his fanaticism went way beyond the norm. When myself and my brothers and sisters were born we were all given middle names in honour of the club!
Mine is Dalglish. My little sister is Florence Victoria Shankly, while the older two both have Anfield in their name. Initially he was going to call all his children Anfield but obviously he must have had a change of heart after two.
Personally, I was very proud to be named after Kenny Dalglish and I think I got the best middle name out of us all. I think he hoped to start a tradition by naming us after his heroes and that maybe when we all eventually had kids we’d keep it going.
One thing for sure though is that his passion for the Reds certainly rubbed off on us because we are all became mad Liverpool supporters. My brothers, my sister and I actually went to Liverpool University and he loved coming up to visit us so that he could take in a game at Anfield at the same time.
Along with Billy Liddell, Kenny Dalglish was his favourite player, while Robbie Fowler was always a big favourite of the whole family – a player we all really adored.
As for his all-time most memorable game I think it would have to be when Liverpool retained the European Cup in 1978. He used to have a vinyl copy of the commentary. He’d play it all the time at gigs. One minute he’d be playing some techno record then all of a sudden this commentary from that game would be played over the top of it.
This was before he’d finish his set with ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, as was always the case. Of course, you can imagine how well this would be received if he was DJing in Liverpool, but I’m not so sure it would have went down as well in the likes of London.
Down in Suffolk, everyone knew he was a big Liverpool fan and there’d always be a lot of banter flying about. Despite leaving the Merseyside area at a young age he always had a soft spot for the region and maintained links with the city.
Through his job as a radio DJ he’d always willingly promote Liverpool-based music and would be quick to jump on any good band that came out of Liverpool.
He loved doing gigs whenever he was ever backing up in the city. In particular I remember he compered at the Hillsborough benefit concert and I know that meant an awful lot to him.
On the radio he’d always be quick to mention a Reds win and he always enjoyed winding people up if they supported a side that had just lost to Liverpool. Taking the mickey, however, no doubt caused him trouble in later years and I don’t think he could travel on the tube in London because so many Arsenal supporters were after him!
At home my dad was a stickler for not having clutter in the kitchen. As a result there was no pictures at all on the kitchen wall apart from a framed photograph of Bill Shankly. He deliberately put it there so that Shanks could keep an eye over the whole family.
I also remember when it came to birthdays and Christmas my dad would quite often treat us with Liverpool-related presents. Even my mum would get them! I remember one time when he gave her a Robbie Fowler t-shirt that he’d paid a ridiculous amount for at some auction. I’m not sure it’s the type of gift a husband would normally buy for his wife and certainly not the type of thing she was expecting. It was more a present for him than her!
If he was still with us today I’m sure he’d be as excited as we are about the prospect of coming up to Liverpool to play at the Academy. The whole family are delighted to be here to commemorate the first John Peel Day.
There are various events going on throughout the country and I think it’s only right that something is taking place up here in Liverpool, because even though he had obvious links with London through his work, his heart was always in this city.
We were all very keen that Liverpool was involved somewhere along the line because we know how much this place meant to him. When Peter Hooton suggested a football tournament we thought it was a perfect idea to honour dad’s memory.
It’s something we know he would have loved. It’s going to be brilliant and we’ve all been looking forward to today so much.
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