A Chat With ‘Lincoln City For Life’ Creator Lee Love Affair

This week, we’ll be making some noise for the boys, and we’re not the only ones. Garage punk rock ‘n roll band Lee Lover Affair are making some noise for the boys as well, and they’re doing it in a far more melodic way than many of us could ever imagine!

Imps supporter Lee Manning is one of the men behind the song, and I caught up with him this weekend to discuss the new track. He started by explaining how the song came about.

“The idea first cropped up when a good friend of ours (and long-time supporter), Jon Clack, said that BBC Lincs and the supporters’ board were talking about the idea of local musicians, bands or songwriters doing a tune for the club. Knowing I have albums of published and released stuff with my semi-pro band (The Hip Priests) he mentioned it to me, so I couldn’t turn down the challenge.”

Lee isn’t coming into the project blind – he’s been an Imps supporter for more than a decade and remembers some of the darker times.

“My wife and son have going to City for about 11 years now (I think it was Gary Simpson was the manager when we first started going?). We’d moved up to Lincoln 17 years ago, and, to be honest, I’d not been into football for years because of what I felt was the Premiership nonsense – Sky TV, overpaid tourist players and too much money.  Starting to go to watch the Imps I got a real sense again of what football was about.”

Lee then likens the Imps experience to something he is more familiar with; band life.

“In a way, I got the same sense of occasion; (class) community and shared experience that I’d been getting my fix from rock ‘n’ roll, punk rock music and being in bands for years.”

Football songs can be a hazard. There are good ones, as we know, but many are cringeworthy. How did a lifelong musician approach the task of writing something that might appeal to fans?

“Most football songs are all a bit crap – honourable mentions can only really go to New Order’s genius  ‘World in Motion’, The Lightning Seeds ‘Three Lions’ and that one that the Manics did a few years ago for Wales.

“I knew the blueprint had to be: the perfect tempo and speed (which I set exactly to the crowd ole ole ole ole ola – oooooh Lincoln city chant), simple chords, and a few other fundamentals. We wanted the iconic references in (obviously red, white, Imps, Sincil Bank, drums siren and Alan Long’s ‘make some noise for the boys’. We needed crowd noise, but had to be careful not to mention players and date the track. Also, it had to feel authentic rather than a novelty song. 

“After that, I wrote in and recorded it at home in about 20 minutes – sent it off to Jon, who sent it around the supporters board, and I sent it to Jake at the club. The reaction was great.”

That wasn’t the end of the matter – Lee and the band were soon in the studio, putting it down properly.

“We finally got round to doing a proper ‘band’ version in our studio in Nottingham some weeks ago with mates from my day band, Austin ‘Rocket’ Smith playing guitar, and Luke ‘The Boss’ Moss playing drums; I’m on vocals and bass. Austin and Luke are both originally Lincoln boys (Cranwell and Branston) with old club links. Austin’s Grandad, Dennis Barkworth, once played for Lincoln City and Luke‘s Dad, Ged Creane, also.”

That’s the story of the song, but what about the odd band name?

“I’ve been called Brother lLee Love or Lee Love for years (after the Kenny Everett preacher), and a mate said the ‘solo’ stuff I do had to be called ‘Lee Love Affair’.  I loved it, too as it sounded like the mod bands I used to Love (Secret Affair etc)”

That’s the story behind the track, but what of the music? Check it out for yourself below!