- 27 Jun 20
The musician and Liverpool fan received a message from the celebrated manager, who chats about the Pugwash song ‘It’s Nice To Be Nice’ and reflects on Premier League win.
The legendary status of Jürgen Klopp needed precious little enhancement, but it has nonetheless been added to by a video clip he sent today to Pugwash main man Thomas Walsh, who’s currently recuperating from illness in hospital. The video finds the Premier League-winning Liverpool boss discussing the Pugwash song ‘It’s Nice To Be Nice’ and reflecting on a remarkable week for the club.
A lifelong Liverpool fan, Walsh says he received the clip of Klopp speaking to him from a mutual German friend, who has been a Pugwash fan for several years.
“Just from being in Pugwash such a long time, I’ve built a great fanbase around the world,” he tells Hot Press. “I’ve got a fair few in Germany, but one of them is a guy called Arnd Zeigler, who works for the Bundesliga and Sky Germany. He has his own show over there, which is pretty big. He kind of slummed with Jürgen in the early years, because they’re big friends – they go back a long way.
“Then one day, Arnd sent me a picture of Jürgen making a meal or something. He said, ‘You know, I used to live with this guy.’ I was like, ‘What?! You never told me that! He’s our saviour.’ All that football stuff. This was a couple of years back, and Arnd said, ‘I’m just going to tell you, whatever happens, he’s the most beautiful man. He talks to people, he replies, he listens.’ I was like, ‘That’s great to hear – he better win something for us, or we’ll kill him!’
“But he just reflected what the guy seemed to be about. I said, ‘I’m very proud he’s managing Liverpool. I’ve been a fan since I was seven.’ I never go in for the football shirt thing – they won’t fit me anyway, for fuck’s sake. Anyway, Arnd kept in touch and would send me little bits from his radio show.”
Things developed dramatically, however, when Thomas posted a video from his hospital bed in the middle of last week.
“After Liverpool won the Premier League, I put up this video where I was quite tearful,” he explains. “I was like, ‘I’ve been in hospital, but we won the Premier League’ – that kind of stuff. I was in fucking horrible pain, it was one of those things. Then Arnd put a picture on my comments of himself and Jürgen on his radio show, laughing.
“So I replied saying, ‘Well, Arnd, you can organise that cup of tea with Jürgen in the future – you owe me one.’ He didn’t reply and that’s all I remember. But then this morning he sent me this message saying, ‘I’ve got something for you – you might like it.’ I’d just come back from the toilet. I sat down on the bed and seen this little message and replied to it. Arndt didn’t reply straight away, because he’s doing the Sky Germany stuff – he’s covering a Werder Bremen game, which is his team. It’s a big day for them, they might go out of the league.
“Anyway, he then sent me the clip. It was a message from Jürgen saying hello and talking about my song ‘It’s Nice To Be Nice’. I’m 50 years old and I openly fucking cried. It just brought home the fact that this is now the biggest thing in the world again. In the past year, Liverpool have won the Champions League, the World Club Cup and the Premier League. For a lot of fans, they’re back to where they were for a long time.”
Walsh also notes that in the hyper-connected world of the 21st century, Liverpool’s win has achieved even greater resonance.
“In today’s media, it’s a huge, huge thing,” he continues. “I just thought, ‘Isn’t the power of music an amazing thing?’ Because in the clip, when Jürgen talks about ‘It’s Nice To Be Nice’, he says, ‘I really like that. That’s the way I live my life.’ It’s beautiful, it really is.”
Your Hot Press correspondent – a Barcelona fan of many years – was a card-carrying Klopp sceptic as late as last year’s Champions League semi-final. With Barcelona enjoying a 3-0 lead from the first leg and Liverpool missing several key players, I couldn’t see Barcelona losing.
What followed was one of the greatest performances in the history of the competition, as Liverpool unleashed a ferocious performance and utterly demolished Barca in a 4-0 win. I had to finally concede Klopp might actually be onto something.
“You’re dead right about the missing players, and people tend to forget that,” notes Thomas. “The other thing as well was that, when he joined Liverpool, Klopp said, ‘Give me four years.’ And he’s won it all in that time. I just thought to myself, ‘That’s someone who knows what they’re fucking doing.’ Even last year, after they lost the league so narrowly, he said, ‘Look, we’ll just come back stronger’ – and he did.
“People whose belief is so powerful: these are one-off figures in sport, or music, or even politics. There are people who are kind of special. And we’re very lucky to have someone like that at Liverpool. I mean, let’s face it – Mourinho gets called the Special One, and that’s fine, but I think a lot of people would kind of go, ‘You can be special as a human as well as a sports manager.’"
It’s notable that in his media appearances, as well as radiating belief and intensity, Klopp also comes across as a genuinely warm person.
“That’s what Arnd has always said to me,” reflects Thomas. “He told me, ‘When I had my first kid, Jürgen was on to me from the dressing room at half-time. He’s one of those people – he’s just beautiful.’ What can you say?
“I mean, in terms of the song, ‘It’s Nice To Be Nice’ came out in 2005 and it’s had a lot of longevity. Brian Wilson heard it back in the day, and I met him and a lot of other people in LA who I still work with now. I also met Jeff Lynne who said, ‘I love that song.’ It’s a silly song about my mam – again, I don’t want to sound like a hippy, but it does show you the power of music.”