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Mervyn King casts his mind back to Aston Villa's 1982 European Cup win

Bank of England governor selects "Rotterdam 82" song for Desert Island Discs

Mervyn King
Bank of England governor Mervyn King

Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King has revealed his love of Aston Villa to the nation – by picking a song devoted to the claret and blues on Desert Islands Discs.

Radio 4 listeners were treated to the tune, called Rotterdam 82, alongside other selections, which included compositions by Mozart, Beethoven and Bob Dylan’s Highway 61.

Sir Mervyn, the Bank’s outgoing governor, told host Kirsty Young the track, written by fellow Villa fan Doug O’Brien, would sustain him as a castaway by bringing back memories of the 1982 European Cup win.

An amused Young asked him: “Do you play that for pleasure at home?”

He replied: “I do, absolutely, and everyone I play it to says it’s the catchiest tune that will be on the programme.”

Young retorted: “Well you certainly can’t get it out of your head, that’s for sure.”

Doug, aged 53 and from Erdington, knew his track was to be played three weeks before the show was broadcast, but was sworn to secrecy.

“Sir Mervyn sent me an email and I was totally stunned when I first saw it,” he said.

Dennis Mortimer, Tony Barton and Peter Withe celebrate Villa's European Cup win in Rotterdam
Dennis Mortimer, Tony Barton and Peter Withe celebrate Villa's European Cup win in 1982
 

“I thought it was a wind-up.

“As a songwriter I wasn’t going to say no to an opportunity like that.

“I had the radio tuned in at home and I felt so proud when the song came on. It almost brought a tear to my eye.”

Doug wrote the song ahead of the final in May, 1982.

He wrote to Sir Mervyn, saying: “To have a song played on national radio alongside Mozart, Beethoven and Dylan was absolutely incredible. Thank you for making this happen.

Sir Mervyn replied: “I could not have left your recording out because otherwise it would not have been me. I hope it attracts attention from a new audience. Thank you for letting me play it.

“We will forever remember that day. Let’s hope for a better season next year.”

  • Sir Mervyn’s edition of Desert Island Discs was being repeated at 9am on Friday June 7.
 

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