Glossary entry for

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 review of George Best's most autobiography Blessed:

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.

Contributed by David Carney

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