The world lost a musical icon today as Meat Loaf, the singer, actor and Hartlepool United fan, passed away. He was 74 years old.
Today, we pay tribute to the performer by recalling how he came to support the English club when he was invited to appear on British television.
A music legend
He was a massive star of the 70s and 80s, dropping hits such as ‘Dead Ringer for Love.‘ However, his popularity continued into the 90s, buoyed by the success of the album ‘Bat out of Hell II.’
Meat Loaf also tried his hand in the world of acting, starring in films such as ‘Fight Club,’ ‘Roadie,’ and ‘Focus.’ In addition, he featured in popular TV shows, making appearances in ‘Glee’ and ‘House.’
So, how did a legend of rock, who spent most of his time in America, end up supporting Hartlepool United?
Choosing a team
After an invite to go on Soccer AM, Meat Loaf was looking for a way to steer clear of generic celebrity fan responses.
He said: “That’s boring. It’s just like a celebrity to go on and go, ‘Oh yeah I’m a Liverpool fan’ or the teams that are always at the top.”
In an interview with TalkSport, the singer explained how he dared to be different. While looking through the football league teams, one side’s name caught his eye.
“So I started looking… down to the third division. There’s a cool name, Hartlepool.”
After this, he found out an old tale about the city. In a macabre mix-up, Hartlepool locals hanged a monkey that had washed ashore, thinking it to be a Frenchman. This popular legend stems from the Napoleonic War, although there are significant doubts over whether a monkey was actually hanged. More sinister reports suggest the hanged could have been a young cabin boy.
Nevertheless, the monkey story had the singer sold.
“I thought that it was perfect.”
Meat Loaf: Hartlepool United fan
Meat loaf had his team for his TV appearance. However, the fascination didn’t stop there. He learnt all he could about the club and went as far as signing up for the email bulletin.
“I started researching…When I went on the show I knew all the players, the top scorers.”
The love affair continued for the singer, with reports at one point that he was even looking to move to the seaside town. Unsurprisingly, this turned out to be nothing more than a rumour.
Fans of his music around the world are devastated by the loss, but for Hartlepool the loss of their beloved supporter hurts just as much.