Born Burnley: Boff Whalley speaks

Posted on April 5, 2010

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Chumbawamba frontman Boff Whalley, whose band formed in Burnley in 1982, is still enjoying life in the Premier League even as the side tumble towards the Premier League trapdoor at an alarming speed.

“Even though the last game (the 2-1 home defeat by Wolves) was absolutely awful, I’m still really enjoying it, because we never expected to get there anyway did we?” he said. “It’s all a bit of an adventure, it’s interesting.”

The singer still has a season ticket in the James Hargreaves Upper, and attends every home game. And he thinks the club have gone about their promotion to the Premier League in a way that will secure its future for years to come.

“If we go down then we’ve just had a great year,” he said. “And we haven’t bought loads of players, so we’re not going to go bankrupt and go slithering down the leagues like Barnsley and Bradford did.”

Like most Burnley supporters, Whalley has obtained a new-found animosity towards Bolton Wanderers since the departure of our now infamous ex-manager to Horwich.

“I really hope Bolton go down now. I don’t care if we do, but I want Bolton to go.”

Such hopes look unlikely to be realised at the moment though, as the “Coyle Effect” looks like it will keep our Lancashire rivals in the top flight for at least another season. Whalley doesn’t buy the biblical talk that surrounds the Scot.

“I don’t think he’s any of those things, he’s somewhere in between. I thought it was really sneaky. I thought the worst thing was when it was obviously actually happening and he didn’t turn up to the press conference and he basically got one of his underlings to say he’s had to go and see his family. And I thought that is really dirty. He could have at least have said I’ll be honest about it.”

At the time of the interview, the singer was still unsure of whether or not Brian Laws was the right man for the job.

He said: “I can’t tell yet, but we’ve stopped winning at home so it’s not great”.

One can only wonder what the last few games will have done to his feelings towards our embattled boss.

Whalley spoke of his affection for Burnley prior to his band’s gig at Passing Clouds in Dalston, London. Famous for their alcohol-soaked pop anthem to a night-on-the-town, ‘Tubthumping’, Chumbawamba have now changed musical direction and taken up folk music.

“I think when people come and see us now, they know that they’re not going to get that,” trumpet player Jude Abbott said. “When we went acoustic it didn’t really work, because it hasn’t really got much of a tune. It’s fine, most people have moved on from that.”

“It’s funny,” says Whalley. “When we did ‘Tubthumping,’ the people who used to come and see us for the ten years prior to that thought that was a big, new departure. And now that’s the old stuff.”

The band’s set, entirely acoustic, features plenty of numbers from their new album, ABCDEFG, as well as some older ones. The new songs are heavily influenced by the band’s left-wing politics, with lyrics attacking the likes of Margaret Thatcher and the BNP.

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