Several references in the 5th verse of "Look What The Good People Done"
are a bit cryptic without some background details. What Van sings in the
5th verse is "They put him on 'Wogan'" and then
"they put him on whisky"; both are references to an incident involving soccer
great Georgie Best:
This has to refer to a famous incident a few years ago when Terry Wogan
(the Limerick-born and Dublin-resident,
long time British housewives favourite radio DJ) had a 3-nights-a-week early
evening primetime BBC TV chat show. A huge TV audience witnessed an
interview with (my boyhood idol) George Best who was giggling swearing and
glassy eyed after getting drunk in the 'green room' on the pre-show
refreshments provided by the BBC. This made huge news in the UK at the time
where everybody already knew about George's alcoholism and most people blamed
the Corporation for allowing him on air in that condition. I know from friends
that Wogan is not popular in his native land and although I didn't see the show
I did catch an entirely sober George on Gay Byrne's RTE show from Dublin a few
days later when this Belfast protestant was royally received by the Irish people
who felt that he had been deliberately exploited in London.
Brian Hinton gives the same interpretation in his book
Celtic Crossroads, and the
incident is also mentioned in an Amazon.com review of George Best's most
In 1990, Best - arguably the most extravagantly talented footballer the
UK has ever produced; certainly domestic football's first and brightest
superstar - irrevocably redefined himself in the public's mind as a bloated,
foul-mouthed, pitiful drunk with that appearance on the prime-time TV chat show
Wogan. "The worst thing was that I thought I'd got away with it, that though I might
have been a bit tipsy, I had come across as reasonably coherent. But when I saw
the recording the following day, it was obvious that I had been completely out
of it ... it's awful to see yourself coming across as some mumbling drunk."
In the chorus the line "he's on a hiding to none" is slang for a good beating (in
football terms losing heavily): 5, 6, or 7 to nil.