Dr. Frank Carlyle Interview

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For My Mother LCABarb and my dear departed Grandmother Margaret Kerr. BOTH huge Dr. Frank fans.

Been wanting to do this interview since footyscene.com started as I was introduced to the subject of today’s focus by my Grandmother and Mother and soon became an avid fan meself. Frank Carlyle grew up in Liverpool’s notorious Gerrard Gardens and today is world renown as an, dare I say, oracle of all things Scouse. He is an Educator, Broadcaster and Author and having gotten to know and see Frank at work over the past 6-7 years to finally get him here is an honour to me. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to introduce Academic Scouser and genuine Merseyside Icon Dr. Frank Carlyle.

LCAB; “Dr. Frank, welcome finally to footyscene.com. “

Dr. Frank; “Thank you David. Lovely to be here.“

LCAB; “How did this road start for you Dr. F??? Were you unusual in your family??? Were they all genii ???”

Dr. F; “Gerrard Gardens, as you know Lad. That’s a really good question actually as I come from a large Italian Catholic Family and we had a piano in the house and I am the only one who doesn’t play. So, yes, it was just me”

LCAB; “But also the only Doctor/Historian/Broadcaster/Author/Raconteur???”

Dr. F; “Those too I suppose but I grew up with Puccini, Nessun Dorma, I couldn’t play the piano but my uncle told me about the Risorgimento (The “ Rising Again “ or creation of modern day Italy) of Garibaldi and Mazzini and really caught my imagination. Anyway one day, I shouldn’t say this btw, I sagged school and went over to the Central Library, which was very close to where I lived and as luck would have it the first book I picked up was about Horatio Nelson, Admiral Nelson. I was about 10 or 11, and began reading and was fascinated by it. The thing though was, now I knew exactly where this section was so I went back and started to read about Julius Caesar, Napoleon despite him being an enemy, particularly funny enough seeing’s he will come up a few times today, of Nelson, Montgomery and his attitude of a line in the sand and we shall either win here or die here and I shall be there, and pointed to his Caravan. Marvellous and I was hooked.”

LCAB; “So that was the Eureka moment???”

Dr. F; “But then you have to have someone to inspire you personally. I had passed the 11 plus and gone to St. Francis’ College and a teacher there ignited my passion for Academia.”

LCAB; “Were you the only bookworm around Gerrard Gardens Lad??”

Dr. F; “I was. I was the odd-bod. I remember being a little older, one of me mates’ 21st, Chas Chambers the Lad’s name was. He knocked for me to go down Dale Street with the Lads. I said, “I can’t. I’m going the Empire.” He asked me what to see ??? I replied Macbeth. “Who is he???” He enquired. I did meet them later that night but that is a microcosm of that time for me.”

LCAB; “So how did you get to being Dr. Frank from Gerrard Gardens???”

Dr. F; “Honestly David, I wasn’t really inspired as a child. In the main the Teachers were middle class and were just looking to get out of the Scally areas as quick as they could. I had one Teacher at St. Francis’ who lit my imagination but it mostly came a bit later, at University. Two whom I must mention were Doctor Pope and Dr Dominic Williams. Fantastic and enthusiastic Historians whom provided the flame to the fuel that the Students brought with them.”

LCAB;”Go on ..”

Dr. F; “I took a year out which turned into 12 as I just went away to work, travel etc. I lived in the South Of France for a while, St. Tropez, Cannes. Lovely. I never got to University until I was 32.”

LCAB; ”Exactly the same age as I did it Dr. F. So go on..”

DR. F; “So I comes back and looking for something to do, I just went in to the Clock Tower, you know the Clock Tower on Brownlow Hill???”

LCAB; “Scene of the world’s first radio broadcast Dr. F (You told me that years ago too, btw).”

Dr. F; “Exactly David. Sir Oliver Lodge. Well I went in there and spoke to a Fella called Dr. Pope. He asked me what I wanted to do, so I told him and explained about my Archaeology course. He said, with respect, you can’t just walk in here and apply for a course…”

LCAB; “It is a R*d Brick University after all, Dr. F. You might live around the corner, handy an’ that but a tad more is required…”

Dr. F; “Precisely David, plus it had been 12 years since I was last in education. I would need to sit a paper, so I sat the paper but when it transpired that I had passed, the actual course I wanted was no longer running. Dr. Pope tried to convince me to go for Egyptology but I didn’t fancy Egyptology tbh, it just didn’t appeal to me and I was walking away. Dr. Pope then asked me to come and have a cup of tea with him. He asked would I wait 5 minutes or so and made me promise to stay, and returned with another Doctor, a lady and a double-first at Oxford (for those at the back that isn’t just one first from Oxford University but two), her name was Dr. Helen King. She then convinced me to take up at least the first term and if I didn’t like it she would have no problem if I transferred. Pope made me give my word, your word matters as you know David, so I gave it. And the rest, as they say…”

LCAB; “ You weren’t gonna say History then were you, Lad ??? #PleaseSayNo <<<

Seriously for a minute though, you know the Lottery and the Euro-Millions ??? Well the Euro-Millions is harder to win because it has extra balls. The odds therefore increase. Same as the Enigma machine, every extra rotor makes it infinitesimally more difficult, well go into the Bookies this afternoon and ask them what the odds were on a random series of events occurring to you which would change your life for its entirety in such a major way. You are now friend of the Glitterati, celebrated Academic, Broadcaster, Author, the man whom basically created Chavasse Park. You are the force that led to those horrible shops being removed from in front of the magnificent facade to Lime Street Station which is now the gateway to and from our City as was it’s original intention. Fantastic.”

LCAB; “OK I need to ask you a couple of questions on your Football Team, Dr. F is a K*pite incidentally.”

Dr. F; “Go ahead.”

LCAB; “Who were the opponents at your first game ???”

Dr. F; “ Middlesborough, a midweek game in about 1960 or ’61. Brian Clough played for Middlesborough. I was in the K*p. I was with these coupla Lads who knew the score, from the Boys Pen to the K*p at ¾ time.”

LCAB; “ That would have been the Second Division then Dr. F???”

Dr. F; “ It would indeed David but that was it, I was a R*d, and thankfully greater things were to come.”

LCAB; “That, Me Arl Mucka is a matter of opinion tbh. Shankly was the Master, the first Football Spin Doctor in my opinion. You are a big R*d, you must have a Shankly story.”

Dr. F;” I’ve got a personal one. I actually met him once, at Lime Street Station in the ’60’s, just sitting on the bench. We had a Cup game at Leicester which kept getting postponed due to weather-pitch conditions at the last minute, and Shankly had come out and said it was wrong, the expense for the Fans, taking days off work etc. I didn’t have any in-depth conversation with him, just said, Alright Bill, but it was testament to who he was. The Socialist he was. That’s my Shankly story.”

LCAB; “ Your greatest moment as a R*d ???”

Dr. F; “Rome 1977, without a doubt. For me personally of Italian descent on my first trip to Italy, to Rome and my connection to the Roman Empire, Rome was its citadel, everything. Two ambitions in one day were achieved. Don’t forget this is 1977, with Lads from around here. So they said to me, “What will we do when we get there???” I says, We’ll go the Colosseum. They says, “ What kind of a Club is that??? Are there Strippers on???” Me, No. It’s Roman ruin. Them, “A Roman ruin??? What’s a Roman ruin??? We wanna go to the F*kn Strip Clubs !!! A Roman ruin…” True story btw.

LCAB; “Best goal you’ve ever seen???”

Dr. F; “Terry McDerm*tt header in a 7-0 defeat of Spurs.”

LCAB; “I remember it. I went to Manchester United for the first time on me own that day. I remember the K*pites in Lime Street.”

LCAB; “Are you a Rodgers Fan???”

Dr. F; “I am not David. He had a chance of a lifetime last season and with the greatest of respect, he messed it up. His buys haven’t hit the mark. Steven Gerr*rd came out and said Big Clubs do not sell their best players. He meant Suar*z. He was right.”

LCAB; “Hillsborough Dr. F.”

Dr. F; “ The Media and one organ of it, and I use that term carefully came out with lies, scandalous lies, and it was not just an affront to Liverp*ol Football Club it besmirched and was an affront to the people of Merseyside and that’s why I said last week that the truth will come out and justice will prevail but the most telling aspect of the whole episode has been our unity. Fighting shoulder-to-shoulder, not just the Families but every citizen in Liverpool, every Merseysider, ex-pat’s, friends of Merseyside, against injustice. That is our epitaph.”

LCAB; “Amen, Dr. F.”

LCAB; “Gimme an Everton story Dr. F.”

Dr. F; “I used to go to Everton every other week David, as many did in those days. I saw the greatest sight I ever saw at Goodison Park, with the World Cup, League Championship Trophy and F.A. Cup (The Charity Shield 1966). I also saw Stanley Matthews play there, and also saw the greatest player I ever saw at Goodison, Pele.”

LCAB; “Edson Arantes Di Nascimento, Dr. F.”

Dr. F; “The same fella, David.”

LCAB; “ So you now have your own show on Mersey Radio ( App’ required) Mondays 10-12am, and I assume the Walks are still going strong???”

Dr. F;”Over-subscribed David.”

LCAB; “As per, have you anything else going on locally in the imminent future???”

Dr. F: “I am involved in a project by a Lad who won Stars In Their Eyes as Phil Collins, Liam Moore. Liam has a project called Voices From The City. I shall be contributing. It is basically an Anti-Drugs/Gangs/Rascism initiative.”

LCAB; “Superb, keep me informed please Dr. F.”

Dr. F; “ Will do, David.”

LCAB; “ OK, in conclusion, 3 Liverpool facts. First, tell me about Fenwick Street, who had assignations in the upstairs apartment facing Victoria’s Monument???”

Dr. F; “ That was Lady Jane Hamilton and our mate Nelson again, David. The Admiral never actually officially visited Liverpool but used to moor the Victory at Parkgate and say to the Lads, I’m goin to see the other one. I’ll e back in a couple of days… Sound, Skipper…”

LCAB; “ Last questions though they both pertain to one man , Charles Dickens. Chapter 5 of Hard Times opens with a description of an Industrial Wasteland, dark and unforgiving. Where was he describing Dt. F???“

Dr. F; “ The view from Everton Brow, David. As you well know. He was looking towards the Canal as it was obviously more visible in those days.”

LCAB; “ Last one and again Dickens, he used to eat Everton Mints, which by definition makes him a Toffee in our eyes. This is true, yis???”

Dr. F; “ Haha. I dunno about him being a Blue but he definitely used to buy the sweets from Molly Bushell for medicinal purposes.”

LCAB; “ He was just blaggin’ Dr. F. He had a tattoo of the Tower in his Leg, Lad

Dr. F. Thank you very much for enabling me to finally grab this interview and allowing me to fulfil an ambition in bringing my intellectual role-model to footyscene.com.”

Dr. F;” Thank you, David. It was a pleasure. Enjoyed it Mate.“

Ladies and gentlemen of footyscene.com, Dr. Frank Carlyle, genuine Merseyside Icon and the man whom I want to be when I finally grow up, thank you very much it was indeed both a pleasure and an education, as is the way when we meet.


Peace out.

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