Now And In The Future:
JB) So that City side and this City side. What do you make of the current City side. Going well in the League, could have that wrapped up in the next couple of games, with a small team from Salford coming to the Etihad, we could wrap it up there. Champions League, we’ve got Liverpool in the Quarter Finals, what do you think we could do this season?
JW) This season Manchester City have been, looking back at it now, arguably the best footballing team to watch in Europe, I think. And I’m not being biased in saying that, I watch quite a lot of football. I kept doubting at the beginning, thinking they can’t keep a run like this going. But they’ve kept it going for so long and keep playing brilliant football. Pep has put down the gauntlet to all the other teams that we’re going to play this way and you’ve got to try to find a way to beat it.
And they’ve been so good, so now I think, why can’t they go on and win the Champions League? I questioned it for so long but while they’re in such a vein of form why not? I can’t see why they can’t go on and do it, and win the Champions League. Right now, they really are very, very good.
JB) Going out of the FA Cup could be a blessing in disguise in the end. Because we’re allowing the players to have this warm weather break now. And, you know, they’ll come back fresh and ready to go. It’s almost like a winter break for them so we’ll see how that goes.
JW) Yeah, it is. It was unfortunate to exit the cup I mean you’d think they’d go out to one of the big clubs and not Wigan. But, they had ten men in the end and you watch the game and they still played like they had twelve! It was phenomenal possession and they just got caught by a sucker punch. But, you know, they’d still probably be playing today, and not score. It was just one of those games, unfortunate it was a knockout right then. Hey, that happens, but I think Champions League is the biggie for them and yeah they’re in great form so why can’t they win it?
JB) I think if they get to the Champions League Final, or even win it, I think Wigan will be just a distant memory then.
JW) Yeah you’re right, you’re right. Exactly, we’ll see what happens.
JB) Now, away from football, after retiring from football you’ve gone into other areas. Singing in a number of productions and exhibiting your artwork. Why don’t you tell us a little bit more about what you’re doing now.
JW) Well I kinda went into it because I’ve always sang as a kid. I was in the choir at twelve, thirteen years old. I played in a band, so I knew all about music. That was shelved for a while whilst I played football, but got back into it, singing some of the old stuff. It never grows old, Frank Sinatra stuff, Dean Martin any crooner kind of style.
But do you know what, people say it’s a different career, which it is, but it’s still performing. When I used to out on the football pitch, I’m a nice kinda guy, I think, to other people. But when you go out on the pitch to play football you have to put on a mask, so to speak. Be angry going into tackles, putting your foot in and you’re almost a different person. When you come off the field, you shake hands with the person you’ve just beaten, or whatever. And it’s almost like, let’s say, when I’m singing on stage.
You have to create a character and go into a different type of mode and you perform. Obviously it’s a smaller crowd and not the forty odd thousand you play with Manchester City but still, a rewarding and it’s a lovely thing.
I fell out of football for a while because I’d seen so many managers had been sacked, left, right and center. It just wasn’t the thing for me, so I came out of football to do something different, learn these skills like tap dancing, which is totally amazing to me. Learn these skills is great and, you know what, I got back into football again. I’m doing bits of commentary and various things for Manchester City, and that’s been quite nice to get back, and I’m coming back with fresh eyes, as opposed to the bitterness when I left.
JB) I think I saw you with Chappy on CityTV doing the monthly review. It was good to see you again.
JW) Oh right! I’m surprised you’d have seen that.
JB) Man City now are affiliated with, I guess the New York Yankees over here, because of New York FC. We have a channel called YankeeTV over here, predominantly for the baseball team, but every now and again I get to see CityTV and stuff like that on there.
JW) Wow, that’s incredible. I wasn’t sure that you’d see that.
JB) Yeah, tell Chappy he’s World famous! He’ll love it.
JW) Yeah, Chappy is known everywhere!
JB) Well, it’s been a pleasure talking to you Jim. I’ll let you go now, but I appreciate you taking the time, thankyou.
JW) Absoutly, no problem.
You can find out more about Jim Whitleys music and artwork by clicking here.