While Liverpool fanatic John Peel was always more than happy to play football-related records such as 'All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit' by perennial favorites Half Man Half Biscuit, he also enjoyed the more esoteric side of football music, with selections from compilations such as “Flair 1989: The Other World Of British Football” and the “Bend It!” series finding regular plays on his show in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In April 1993, he introduced a regular slot for such items when sitting in for a week on Radio One's Jakki Brambles daytime programme.
“Flair 1989” focused on musical gems from the domestic game, but the “Bend It! series offered a more cosmopolitan smorgasbord of delights, after the success of Italia '90 and in keeping with the “Exotic Beatles” compilations of unusual cover versions of Beatles songs that were subsequently released by the same Exotica label (and also played by Peel).
4-2-4: The él Records Compendium Of Soccer
Peel's interest in football compilations covering a wide range of teams and players appears to have been sparked by the 1989 release of "4-2-4: The él Records Compendium Of Soccer" on the él label, part of the Cherry Red group. Playing a first track from it just 10 days after the Hillsborough disaster, he commented:
- "Next a track from an LP called "4-2-4: The él Records Compendium Of Soccer", with songs in praise of lots of teams and one or two players as well, and a sticker on the front of it reading 'This record was conceived last year, a tribute to the spirit of football. In light of the events at Hillsborough, all profits will go to the Liverpool Football Club Relief Fund.' And in the same spirit of football, I shall try to play you as many tracks from it as possible. Starting with this one, because I'm sorry to see West Ham going into the second division."
Due to the limited availability of Peel show tracklistings from the period, it is not known whether further tracks were in fact played in later shows.
Mike Alway, Brentford fan and guiding spirit of él Records, was subsequently involved in the "Bend It!" series of football compilations that came out on the Exotica label (see below). Cherry Red, co-founded by latter-day AFC Wimbledon director Iain McNay, would re-enter the fray with a "Football Classics" series of CDs focused on songs associated with individual clubs.
- (From 4-2-4: The él Records Compendium Of Soccer, LP, él, 1989)
- "A long playing compilation record, protesting about the introduction of identity cards for football supporters."
In the aftermath of Hillsborough, Peel played tracks from the album put together by the Rodney, Rodney and When Saturday Comes fanzines to oppose moves by the Thatcher government to introduce ID cards for fans. The controversial scheme was eventually abandoned after the release of the Taylor Report on the disaster. 
- (From Bananas!, LP, Rodney, Rodney!, 1989)
- 15 May 1989: Half Man Half Biscuit: I Was A Teenage Armchair Honved Fan
- 23 May 1989: Dub Sex: Voice Of Reason
- 26 May 1989 (BFBS): Waltones: She Looks Right Through Me
Peel appears to have played a significant proportion of the 46 tracks on the double LP released by the Confection label in 1989. On 16 November 1989 he also refers to a competition to win copies of it. The Educated Left Foot blog writes:
- “This was no greatest hits though instead it’s an attempt to capture the spirit of the post war period the records were recorded in. Thus the tracks are all selected for their unique value rather than chart success or the club that recorded them. It's a celebration of the musical maverick and individual which is reflected by the cavalcade of players who graced the cover."
- (From Flair 1989: The Other World Of British Football, 2xLP, Confection, 1989)
- 02 October 1989: Fisher Athletic F.C.: Come On The Fish
- 10 October 1989: Norwich City F.C. With Accent: Something To Shout About
- 18 October 1989: Argyle Squad & Mount Charles Band: Farewell 3rd Division
- 19 October 1989: Mark Lazarus With The Q.P.R.: Q.P.R. - The Greatest
- 30 October 1989: Fine Art: Sunderland Are Back In The 1st Division
- 31 October 1989: Wrexham Supporters & Arfon Griffiths: This Is Arfon Griffiths
- 01 November 1989: Portsmouth Players & Southampton All Stars Orchestra: Pompey - City With A Start
- 06 November 1989: Coventry City FC: Jimmy Hill's Sky Blues
- 08 November 1989: West Bromwich Albion: Albion's Day
- 09 November 1989: Clyde FC with Fraser Bruce: Song of the Clyde
- 15 November 1989: Edward Ebenezeer And Supporters: Come On Ipswich Town
- 20 November 1989: Alan Martin interrupted by Bobby Knutt: I'm Following Sheffield United
- 21 November 1989: Maidstone United: The M.U.F.C. Club Song
- 22 November 1989: A.F.C. Bournemouth & Foursite Saga: Here Comes The Cherries
- 27 November 1989: Peterborough United Players With The Graham Walker Showband: Are We Posh
- 28 November 1989: Bernard Bagin And Take 5: Hit The Road To Wembley
- 04 December 1989: Ron Harris With Players And Fans: C.H.E.L. Sea
- 05 December 1989: O's & OK Band: Fantastico
- 06 December 1989: Dave Ismay with the Holte End: A.S.T.O.N V.I.L.L.A
- 07 December 1989: Newcastle United Players And Bobby Webber: United Newcastle United
- 13 December 1989: David Shaw: Faded Flags Of Glory
- 18 December 1989: Potters: We'll Be With You
- 19 December 1989: Leicester City Football Club: This Is The Season For Leicester
- Snapdragons 1989: Hartlepool FC: Never Say Die
- 01 January 1990: Bradford City Football Club: You Know We're Going To Win
- 03 January 1990: Seagulls: The Old Brighton Blue
- 08 January 1990: Mansfield Football Club Players: Mansfield Magic
- 10 January 1990: York City Football Club: Here We Go
- 10 January 1990: Burton Albion Supporters: Here We Go
- 11 January 1990: Jimmy Whelan, Pete Quilty And The Notts County Choir: County's The One For Me
- 15 January 1990: Norbitones: Those Nearly Nearly Glory Glory Days
- 26 April 1990: Fine Art: Sunderland Are Back In The 1st Division
Peel is known to have played numerous tracks from "Bend It! 91", "Bend It! 92" and "Bend It! 93" but none from subsequent releases (the Exotica Records website lists at least one further compilation in the series). The label describes the collections in the following terms:
- "The Bend It! series was conceived and lovingly crafted by enigmatic record producer Mike Alway. Between 1991 and 1994 Exotica Records released four seminal albums packed with sound bites, commentary and songs celebrating the world of football, which through their scarcity, achieved cult status."
- (From Bent It! 91: How to Resist? Fantasy, Romance, Flair, Football …, CD, Exotica, 1991, until indicated)
- 30 November 1991: Saint Etienne 76: Allez Les Verts
- 01 December 1991: Luis Alberto Del Parana Y Los Paraguayos: Pele - El Rey
- 07 December 1991: Johan Cruyff: Oei-Oei-Oei-Fantastico Cruyff Barcelona (JP: "I can't tell you who it's by, but it's on the CD Bend It '91 from Exotica.)
- 27 December 1991 (BFBS): Saint Etienne 76: Allez Les Verts
- 04 January 1992: Her: The Toto Scilacchi Espresso
- 05 January 1992: (unknown artist): Futból Argentino
- 18 January 1992: Club De Regatta/Flamenco with Frankie Howerd: A Goliada De Samba
- 26 January 1992: Rainbow Choir: Roger Milla Is My No.9 Dream
- 02 February 1992: Bochum: We'll Never Be Champions
- (From Bend It! 1992: Exotica Presents … Football À La Carte, CD, Exotica, 1992, until indicated)
- 13 November 1992: Soccer In The Sixties: The Young Scene
- 14 November 1992: George Best: George Best's Dreamhome
- 20 November 1992: George Best: Advertising Grooming Aids
- 21 November 1992: Rainbow Choir: Ryan Giggs We Love You
- 22 November 1992 (BFBS): George Best: George Best's Dreamhome
- 27 November 1992: Jane Asher: Jane Asher's Football Pitch Party Cake
- 28 November 1992: Romaine: Gary Goals
- 29 November 1992 (BFBS): Billy Sanders: Gib Dem Ball Zu Uwe Seeler
- 04 December 1992: Billy Sanders: Gib Den Ball Zu Uwe Seeler
- 05 December 1992: De Scalzi Brothers: Sampdoria Formazione (JP: 'You don’t get an awful lot of that in the Premier League, do you? That’s another bit from the CD Bend it 92.')
- 06 December 1992 (BFBS): Lord Kitchener Fitzroy Coleman Band: City and United 1956: The Manchester Football Double
- 07 December 1992 (Ö3): Franz Beckenbauer: Du Allein
- 11 December 1992: John Arlott: Cardiff 1 Arsenal 0
- 02 January 1993: Nolan Sisters: Blackpool! Blackpool!
- 08 January 1993: Anfield Kop 1964: She Loves You / Anyone Who Had A Heart
- 15 January 1993: Pele & The Young Giants: I Like To Be The Best
- 29 January 1993: Vernons Football Pools Girls: We Love The Beatles
- 31 January 1993 (BFBS): Pele with the Young Giants: I Like To Be The Best
- 06 April 1993 (John Peel Is Jakki Brambles): Johan Cruyff: Oei-Oei-Oei-Fantastico Cruyff Barcelona
- 07 April 1993 (John Peel Is Jakki Brambles): Franz Beckenbauer: Du Allein
- 08 April 1993 (John Peel Is Jakki Brambles): Il Generale: Non è un miraggio (Roberto Baggio)
- 09 April 1993 (John Peel Is Jakki Brambles): St Etienne Football Team: Allez Les Vertes (LP – Bend It '91) Exotica
- (From Bend It! 93: Soccer-Boppers … Pop Explosion … Football-Style ..., CD, Exotica, 1993)
- 28 August 1993: The Lira: It Only Takes A Second...To Score A Goal
- 03 September 1993: Franz Beckenbauer: 1-0 Für Deine Liebe (1-0 For Your Love)
- 10 September 1993 (BFBS): Franz Beckenbauer: 1-0 Für Deine Liebe (1-0 For Your Love)
- 10 September 1993: Antoine: Le Match De Football (Love Is Like A Football Game)
- 11 September 1993: Unknown: Pelé At Aston Villa
- 17 September 1993 (BFBS): Antoine: Le Match De Football (Love Is Like A Football Game)
- 25 September 1993: Franceso Baccini & Fabrizio De Andre: Genoa, Red & Blue
- 01 October 1993: Corrado Lojacono & Orchestra: Messina Punto E Basta
- 09 October 1993: Rainbow Choir: The J League Freakout
- 15 October 1993 (BFBS): Corrado Lojacono & Orchestra: Messina Punto E Basta
- 30 October 1993: Johnny Cobnut: Ipswich Football Calypso
- 06 November 1993 (BFBS): Johnny Cobnut: Ipswich Football Calypso
You'll Never Walk Alone - The Hillsborough Justice Concert
On 1997-05-10, Peel compered the concert held at Liverpool's Anfield stadium as part of the campaign for justice for the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. He subsequently played several tracks from the album released to document the event.
After the original verdict of accidental death was finally quashed in December 2012, an inquests jury concluded in April 2016 that the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the Hillsborough disaster were unlawfully killed.
- (From You'll Never Walk Alone - The Hillsborough Justice Concert, CD, V2, 1997. List compiled with thanks to Lorcan's Tracklistings Archive.)
- 28 May 1997: Stereophonics: More Life In A Tramps Vest
- 29 May 1997: Smaller: Wasted
- 03 June 1997: Smaller: Giz A Life
- 04 June 1997: Dodgy: You've Gotta Look Up
- 10 June 1997: Dodgy: Good Enough
- 11 June 1997: Space: Me & You V's The World
- 12 June 1997: Space: Female Of The Species
- 17 June 1997: Manic Street Preachers: Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head
- 18 June 1997: Manic Street Preachers: You Love Us
- 19 June 1997: Beautiful South: Rotterdam
- 24 June 1997: Beautiful South: Lean On Me
- 25 June 1997: Lightning Seeds: Lucky You
- 01 July 1997: Lightning Seeds: Sugarcoated Iceburg
- 02 July 1997: Holly Johnson & the Lightning Seeds: Ferry Cross The Mersey
- 03 July 1997: Bootleg Beatles / Stereophonics / Smaller / Dodgy / Space / Manic Street Preachers / Beautiful South / London Community Gospel Choir / Holly Johnson / Terry Hall / Frank Skinner / Lightning Seeds: You'll Never Walk Alone
During the 1998 World Cup in France, Peel played at least a couple of tracks from the "Football Africa" various artists album released the same year on the Realworld label. "Les artistes africains chantent le foot" ('African artists sing football'), proclaimed the French-language version of the CD cover. The Sterns online catalogue outlines the idea behind the album:
- "Songs by Youssou N'Dour, Thomas Mapfumo, Sam Fan Thomas, Papa Wemba and ten other artists celebrate the qualification of five African national soccer teams for the 1998 World Cup."
- (From Football Africa, CD, Realworld, 1998. List compiled with thanks to Lorcan's Tracklistings Archive.)
- 07 July 1998: Amayenge: Lelo Balesia
- 08 July 1998: Thomas Mapfumo & The Blacks Unlimited: Soccer Lions
Singing The Blues: The Songs Of Ipswich Town F.C.
Ipswich Town were Peel's local favourites in East Anglia and very much the top team of wife Sheila. Peel had previously played tracks linked to the Portman Road side from Flair 1989 and Bend It 93. His airing of the title track of the club compilation on Cherry Red came after Ipswich Town had beaten Barnsley 4-2 in the play-off final at Wembley to secure a place in the Premier League for the 2000-1 season.
- JP: "Alright, it's not a great record, but I've never seen the Pig happier or Suffolk if it comes to that."
- (From Singing The Blues: The Songs Of Ipswich Town F.C. , CD, Cherry Red, 1999.)
- Educated Left Foot blog: Flair 89
- Exotica Records: Bent It
- Interview with Jim Phelan of Exotica Records
- ↑ See Peel Is Brambles.
- ↑ Exotica also put out several Manchester United-themed releases, but Peel is not know to have given airtime to any tracks from them.
- ↑ For further details, see Cherry Red website. Peel is not known to have played many tracks from these club-themed releases, although he was apparently scheduled to pen the sleevenotes for "You'll Never Walk Alone," a CD of songs linked to his favourite Liverpool team. (It has not been confirmed whether he actually did this.) One track that was played was 'Singing The Blues' from 'Singing The Blues: The Songs Of Ipswich Town F.C.' on 30 May 2000.