"I don't want to be a professional singer," said Pelé fourteen years ago when working on Ginga, his debut album of twelve self-penned songs. "I just want to leave something for people to remember."
Ginga is a distinctive Brazilian characteristic. It's the hip-shake shimmy that's common to dancers and talented footballers.
Like many kids, inspired by the athletic genius of Pelé, I once briefly entertained the notion of being a professional footballer. Some hope.
But, as luck would have it, I was a witness when they tried to bring ginga to Irish football.
That night in 1988 when Scotland's Garry Mackay stuck one in the Bulgaria net I was in Mulligan's of Poolbeg Street, celebrating Ireland topping their group and qualifying for the finals of a major international tournament for the first time. We couldn't have predicted the effect that late goal would have on our lives.
A few months later, when I received a late Saturday night phone call to go to Windmill Lane Studios the following morning to join in the recording of an Ireland squad anthem for Euro 88, I immediately phoned a few mates.
And so a bleary-eyed, if unlikely, posse was waiting to greet the squad on Sunday morning. Rovers' men George Byrne and Robbie Foy along with Athlone Town historian Declan Lynch and myself hovered as Mick McCarthy, Packie Bonner, Niall Quinn and David Kelly arrived with physio Mike Byrne.
The music production boys were still working on the analog backing tracks in the control room as more players arrived and stood around the studio looking decidedly ill at ease.
Sensing their discomfort, I checked with the producers and learned that they team wouldn't be needed for recording for at least an hour. It was then that I suggested taking them around the corner to The Dockers.
Mick Byrne approved the move and off we jolly well went.
For the record, Packie was drinking mineral water. The others relaxed with a pint of something or other as conversations began.
By the time we got the production call the players had shed their inhibitions. Or so we thought.
Back in the studio, the players were arranged in front of some overhanging microphones and handed lyric sheets. "You'll wonder where we've been, when you see the Boys in Green…"
My old friend from Dublin beat group The Others, Mick Carwood had written We are The Boys in Green as a fundraiser for charity but the squad were looking a bit stilted as the cameras filmed them singing along.
I told Mick I had an idea. I suggested we bring a bit of the terraces to the occasion.
So I whispered to my chums, "Right lads, on the count of three we drop our keks and moon the players."
The stunt had the desired effect. As we wobbled our backsides like Brazilian dancers, the squad fell about laughing. This wasn't meant to be a solemn occasion. It was the interface between football and, dare I say, rock'n'roll.
Thankfully, we managed to pull the trousers back up before the cameras caught sight of our pallid buttocks. But the ice was broken and the fun was good. A few takes later, the recording and the video were in the bag. And we repaired to The Dockers. This is where I made a mistake.
My colleagues were known for their high stool fitness. But, and I'm not rat-ing on anyone here, some of the Irish squad appeared to have hollow legs.
I got stuck in a corner with a gang that included John Anderson and Paul McGrath and the yarns that were swapped were, to my ears, sensational.
It was very late when I rolled home. I had a music business meeting in London the following morning and, frankly, felt worse than if I'd been partying for a week with Ozzy Osbourne and Mötley Crüe.
The team went on the perform brilliantly in Germany. When Ray Houghton scored the goal that beat England in Stuttgart, no one in The Hill would believe me when I tried to tell them I played a part in enabling the team to express themselves.
The country went bonkers as, under Jack Charlton, Ireland got on a roll. Despite the carping of some pundits, things just got better.
Despite a qualifying group that included teams, such as Northern Ireland and Spain, that could damage our chances of reaching the World Cup in Italy in 1990, Ireland finished second to Spain and there was a run on Credit Unions all over Ireland.
As football fever was building up, I got another call.
Would I be happy to allow Larry Mullen re-cycle the guitar riff from Horslips' song Dearg Doom for an Irish football anthem for the Italia 90 campaign. Does the Pope wear a big hat, dude? Of course.
Not for the first time, Larry played a blinder.
Mashing up the blistering stomp of the old Horslips' favourite with the football chant Olé Olé Olé and an audio sample of Jack Charlton urging, "Put 'em under pressure", Larry created an inspired terrace anthem and floor filler which ranks as probably the greatest football anthem ever. And I'll arm wrestle anyone who disagrees.
By now it seemed, not just the Ireland squad, but the entire country had discovered the secret of the elusive Brazilian ginga. And, bloody hell, although we didn't score many goals, we came close that year.
Toto Schillachi spoiled our party with a goal for Italy in Rome. But that didn't stop us celebrating. As the bloke on TV might say, "Ginga, baby."
A few months later, my phone rang again.
Paul Keogh, the dynamic MD of Polygram Records was planning to make a record with Paul McGrath. Was I in? You betcha.
I recommended Carole and Maria, two jazz-playing football fans who now trade under the name Zrazy, for the musical side of the equation. We kicked around a few ideas and lyrical couplets ("He's the greatest defender in the whole wide world…Nobody can beat him. He's a one man wall…") and presented the label boss with a rough demo a few hours later. He gave the thumbs up.
Paul McGrath's agent at that point was the suave South African businessman Krish Naidoo, known to some as the "King of the Discos." An admirer of the footballer's great talent, genial Krish's involvement was purely altruistic.
Before I played Paul the demo, he protested, "I can't sing."
It wouldn't be a problem. I devised a short spoken piece for Paul to recite and we'd get Paul Cleary to sing the lead vocal. What could go wrong?
McGrath would be available on the Sunday before a mid-week international friendly at Lansdowne Road. We'd record the track on the Saturday and be ready to record Paul's piece and film him in Lombard Studios on the Sunday. And we'd have a group of fans ready to chant "ooh aah Paul McGrath" for the chorus.
Unfortunately, with the track recorded, Paul Cleary discovered it was in the wrong key so, late on Saturday night, Maria Walsh took over vocal duties.
On Sunday, when there was a power outrage, someone asked if they could take Paul (McGrath) to the pub on the corner.
Looking back, it mightn't have been a great idea.
I think it was nervousness (certainly not his knees) that created difficulty for Paul with the timing of his spoken piece. It took a while, and several edits, to get it together.
By then, the film crew, complaining that Paul looked too nervous to film, had packed up and split. As I set about mixing the track, footballer's friends whisked him away.
The next time I saw Paul was on the TV news a few days later in what looked like a hostage situation. He was sitting on the bus with Jack Charlton trying to persuade him to join his teammates for a match with Turkey. It seemed Paul McGrath was in meltdown. It was a frightening scenario.
But you probably know that, thankfully, Paul recovered, and went on to propel Ireland to qualify for the World Cup Finals in USA 94 and, although carrying a shoulder injury, put in a superhuman man-of-the-match performance as Ireland defeated Italy in Giants' Stadium.
By then our little record, Ooh Aah Paul McGrath, credited to "Watch Your House" featuring Paul McGrath, had been No.1 and had become a match day favourite at Villa Park. I still have the gold disc to remind me. As if I'd ever forget coaching Ireland's greatest footballer.
Virtuoso violinist and noted Aston Villa fan, Nigel Kennedy once told me it was one of his favourite records. So, yes, sometimes, even if you can't kick a ball, you can win the World Cup