You live in Brazil these days. How’s the World Cup?
Bonkers. The Brazilians love their football, but the things that FIFA insisted on angered a lot of people here. Brazil still has a lot of civil problems, and a lot of money was invested in stadiums that won’t get used again. Like Manaus, for example, where England played Italy. That place is right in the middle of the jungle. They attract four or five thousand people for a home game, yet they built a sixty-thousand-seater stadium. Ridiculous. It’ll be in ruins within a couple of years.
What angers the people is that there are problems with schooling, hospitals and other things, so why not put the money into things that are needed? That’s why there have been lots of demonstrations and trouble over the last year or so. Though I have to say that as soon as the bloody thing kicked off, that was all forgotten. And Brazil won the first game by an obvious fix. That was all political. If they’d drawn or lost that game, they knew there might have been more trouble.
What about your own love of football?
I’ve been supporting Liverpool since 1965. I was born and raised in Bristol, and remember being on the school playground a few days before the Leeds-Liverpool FA Cup Final. You had to pick a team, of course. I was seven years old, and my best friend was Clive Brewer, who actually came from Liverpool. So in support for my mate I picked Liverpool – and made the right choice. I have to thank him for making me become a Liverpool supporter. One of the reasons I went to live there in ’77 was because of that.
Did you play at school?
I was a handy footballer and loved playing it, but I was never going to make it. I don’t think I was good enough or had the dedication. Then when I got to thirteen or fourteen, T.Rex and girls came along. So I thought, yeah, that all looks good.
What about other sports?
I watch the odd game of tennis, but I certainly don’t go out of my way to watch it. I’m not a cricket or rugby fan and I don’t watch the Olympics. Actually, my wife says I’d be absolutely perfect if I didn’t like football. She’s Brazilian and doesn’t like football. I suppose that in a country where everyone watches the game, one way to be cool is to not like it. She’s an actress and has friends in the theatre. And in my experience thespians and football tend not to mix.