I’ve been alone with you inside my mind
And in my dreams I’ve kissed your lips a thousand times
I sometimes see you pass outside my door
Hello, is it me you’re looking for?
I can see it in your eyes
I can see it in your smile
You’re all I’ve ever wanted, my arms are open wide
‘Cause you know just what to say
And you know just what to do
And I want to tell you so much, I love you …
Last Friday night, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and his girlfriend spent an evening bathing in the luxuriously sensual sounds of former Commodore Lionel Richie. As he should have been. Rodgers’ stunning mouthful of teeth shouldn’t be wasted on heavy metal.
Richie, 65, performed at Liverpool’s Echo Arena as part of his latest tour, All the Hits All Night Long.
Rodgers, who met the pop legend backstage, joins a long list of Premier League players who have come out as Richie groupies.
At the end of last month, Wayne Rooney and his wife Coleen made an appearance as Richie kicked off his UK tour at Manchester Arena.
Manchester City’s Frank Lampard shares the same birthday as Richie. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.
And it isn’t just current Premier League players.
Alan Shearer is a known Richie fan. There’s video of the former Newcastle and England legend voluntarily singing “All Night Long,” clearly not under any kind of duress.
Liverpool cult figure Robbie Fowler also paid tribute to Richie on Twitter back in 2012, conveniently right in the middle of the Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra fiasco. That was timely.
But perhaps the best Premier League story involving Lionel Richie involves Chelsea’s England John Terry. Because of course it does.
Chelsea’s captain adores Richie. Either that, or his wife, Toni, strong-armed him into paying 250,000 pounds to have Richie perform at the couple’s wedding in 2007.
But that isn’t even the best part of the Terry-Richie tale. Apparently, after Richie sang his first song at the reception, Terry’s rowdy lad-friends began to create some ambiance, much to the chagrin of the former “Three Times a Lady” singer.
According to nebulous reports, sourced from a now-defunct website, an eyewitness confirmed that the scene wasn’t pretty:
“It was really embarrassing. Toni was looking very anxious about the lads making a real fool of her. When he started singing ‘Hello’ the boys started chanting back to him as if they were on the football ground terraces. They had downed so much champagne at the reception the guests became really lairy and started shouting over his set.
“In the end he asked the crowd to be quiet and said, ‘I’ve only got two more songs, please stick with me.’ When he came off stage he moaned to one of the organizers, ‘I imagine this is what it’s like at a working men’s club.’”
The idea of people disrespecting Lionel Richie in England, at Blenheim Palace of all places, is a travesty. But thankfully, Brendan Rodgers isn’t that kind of man. Rodgers respects history. He respects the institutions that came before him. He’s shown nothing but respect for Liverpool since he joined the club in 2012. And with his showing at Echo Arena, he’s shown the utmost respect for another Premier League institution, Lionel Richie, just like Shearer,
Fowler, Terry, Rooney, and surely countless others.
If you need a takeaway, let it be this: Brendan Rodgers is a goddamn gentleman. Now someone get me a guest list or some footage from England John Terry’s wedding and we can hunt down those who sought to disparage Nicole Richie’s father.
Long live Brendan Rodgers, and long live Lionel Richie, clearly the real King of England.