Upstarts and Sham 69) publically identified themselves as football fans.
Some quietly kept the faith, though. Specials frontman Terry Hall was another boyhood Best worshipper, and even uprooted from his native Coventry to Manchester in the early 1980s to be closer to his team.
And yet, in the late 70s and for much of the 80s, the worlds of football and music seemed tuned to totally different wavelengths. When footballers did admit to listening to anything, it was all distinctly naff MOR: the names of Luther Vandross, George Benson and Phil Collins frequently appeared in player profiles in Shoot! and Match Weekly.
Those on the pitch who kept the flame burning, like United’s Brian McClair and Chelsea’s Pat Nevin – men who admitted reading the music papers and going regularly to gigs – were considered laughable eccentrics among their team-mates.
Managers were similarly intolerant of players who dared to be remotely different. Smiths City-supporting guitarist Johnny Marr remembers being rejected by the Blues, despite impressing in a trial.
“I was good enough for City,” he once said, “but they didn’t follow up because I was probably the only player out there wearing eyeliner.”
"I’ve been seen once or twice on the terraces... I once bought a Manchester United hat, which I think was 12 shillings, and somebody ran up behind me and pulled it off."
- Morrissey, The Smiths