Sean Casey's excellent documentary Liam Brady: The Irishman Abroad was given its television premiere on the suitable occasion of the soccer legend’s 67th birthday.

Brady, one of the greatest footballers ever to wear a green jersey, came across as a fine example of a thoroughly professional sportsman who also happens to be a decent, well-rounded human being. What seemed to surprise people however, even more than the fluent Italian, was an obsession with music and, in particular, a serious dedication to Bob Dylan.

Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks is just one of the albums on the carpet of Brady’s living room in a photograph taken by Bob Thomas sometime in 1970s. The others, if I remember rightly, are the first two Thin Lizzy records, three Horslips albums, one by Taste, and the essential Rory Gallagher Irish Tour ’74. It’s a photograph that not only dates and places Liam Brady, it also says quite a bit about his focussed and well-tuned sensibilities and so, back in 2018, I invited Liam to be my guest on Mystery Train.

As an Arsenal fan I was delighted when he said yes – even more so when he agreed to pick all the music.

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Almost immediately we were blasting out Brown Sugar by The Rolling Stones, taken from the very first album he ever bought – with his Confirmation money as it happens. After signing on schoolboy terms for Arsenal he had a little more money in his pocket and this too was spent on albums to be listened to on headphones back at his new digs. Of course, being London, the real thing was also available and he’d head off regularly, often on his own, to see The Who, Rory or Thin Lizzy and, on one memorable occasion, Frank Sinatra’s 1977 appearance at the Royal Festival Hall. Many years later years, on the night before a World Cup Qualifier against The Netherlands, he slipped away from the team hotel to see Neil Young. He wasn’t going to miss Neil Young.

Among his Mystery Train choices were Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Woodstock, Rod Stewart’s Mandolin Wine, Nils Lofgren’s Back It Up and John Lennon’s Woman. The Dylan choice was I Want You and Springsteen was represented by a glorious Born To Run. It was a wonderfully honest list with not the slightest hint of affectation or pose. It was as if punk never happened. He told me he’d been to see the Rats back in the day and, that for him, was quite enough of that. The only curveballs were a dash of opera to mark the Italian years and the beautiful Morricone theme to Cinema Paradiso.

Listen: Liam Brady's Jukebox - Liam's own Spotify playlist

Towards the end of the programme I asked Liam for his thoughts on any possible connections between musicians and footballers. Even as I asked it I reckoned it might be a very stupid question, and maybe Liam did too. It seemed to stump him for a moment but then he responded as follows: "I love showmen and I love footballers who are showmen. I probably had a bit of that in my make-up when I was a kid. George Best. Denis Law. Bobby Charlton was probably the best of the three of them, but the other two were showmen. Denis had that edge to him. Denis was probably the Bruce Springsteen of Man Utd. You want to entertain people. You want to show what you can do."