Culture

Rock ‘n’ roll football – Bootlegger immortalised in song

06 Dec 2020 5 minutes Read
Karl Phillips and Iestyn Jones. Photo by Karen F

David Owens

If headlines are to be believed, it’s Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny who have put Wrexham AFC on the map.

However, there is one larger-than-life fan of the club who may disagree with that conclusion.

Wrexham fan Karl Phillips, better known as Bootlegger has certainly played his part in elevating the fortunes of the club currently undergoing the Hollywood treatment.

He has become something of a social media sensation with his matchday vlogs, posting various videos of him sinking pints and attending Wrexham games, home and away gaining him a cult following.

He has an impressive 315K followers on Twitter where he has become a huge hit thanks to catchphrases such as “I’ve had an absolute grueller” and “It’s gonna get tasty baby”

He is also something of an enviable brand, his name adorning his own line of Pilsner and Salami crisps.

You can even request a video message from The Captain, as he’s known to his army of fans, via the Cameo platform.

‘Different’

Now Welsh musician Iestyn Jones and his band Josgins have afforded Bootlegger the ultimate accolade by recording a single in his honour.

Recorded in English and Welsh, ‘Tasty’ / ‘Poethi’ is described by Iestyn as:  “A perfect collision of old and new traditions. Tasty is a battle-cry for Welsh football and for football all over the world.

“It was inspired by the living legend known as ‘Bootlegger’ and we’re hoping this song could be a ray of light that helps us through those long winter months.”

Karl Phillips. Photo by Karen F

This particular story begins in October 2019 when Bootlegger had shared a video of himself on Twitter.

“It was on a Friday and he’d just finished work,” says Iestyn. “He’d come out of the shower with a beer in his hand and shouted his catchphrase “Well I’ve had an absolute grueller of a week!”. He had this 80’s TV theme music blaring in the background. ‘This is different’, I thought.”

For Iestyn it was Bootlegger’s status as a social media anti-hero that intrigued him.

“He’s famous for his drinking prowess, but this wasn’t the attraction for me,” says the musician. “I just saw Bootlegger as the ultimate anti-hero to all of the pouting pretty boys and Barbie girls that swamp social media.

“It was his uniqueness. I loved his online temperament. I noticed a few online trolls trying to rip him and he just managed to swipe them away like an Aikido master. He seemed really down to earth – there wasn’t any fakeness.”

Iestyn confides there was a little personal mission behind the recording of the single.

“To be honest – by Christmas 2019, I wanted to meet the man in person, so this was a good excuse,”  he says.

“It was originally going to be a track for the 2020 Euros, but the more I immersed myself in the song, I knew it was becoming more about him. I wanted to celebrate ‘The Captain’. I wanted to share his good vibes.

Contacting Bootlegger on Facebook, Iestyn tagged him in a song he’d recorded for Euro 2016, ‘Mint Sauce’, posting “If I’m doing another song, I want this guy involved!”

Within minutes, Bootlegger replied with “Let’s do it.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

Karl Phillips. Photo by Karen F

Football

The return of football and a liberal sprinkling of the man’s main catchphrases pepper the song’s lyrics.

“There’s about four of his catchphrases crowbarred in there, so that’s why we’ve got him on board as a songwriter,” says Iestyn.

“It’s a song about the return of football. This was penned during the lockdown, so it’s fitting that football is back. My favourite lyrics are those in the intro/outro:

‘Burning through screens like a laser beam,

‘Shooting video like a superstar.

“I like these words best because it confirms how addictive his videos are for me and for thousands of fans, he’s a Welsh ray of sunshine. For me he’s the full package – he’s a superstar.

“That smile as well – it’s so infectious. He’s like your older brother’s best mate. He’s that person that you want to be out on an all dayer/all nighter with. He is the ultimate wingman.

“And he’s got his own line of Pilsner, and Salami crisps out.”

Karl Phillips. Photo by Karen F

Tasty / Poethi is out on all download / streaming sites on Friday. December 11.

Find out more via @josginsband on Twitter.

You can follow Bootlegger on Twitter via @bootlegger1974.

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