Rock legend Rod Stewart has finally hung up his football boots at the grand old age of 69, so he can avoid getting injured before his Bloomfield Road gig this summer.
Ardent Celtic fan Rod, who has played footie all his life, went out on a high with a narrow 3-2 win which saw his Sunday League side, based in LA, reach fourth in their league.
“It was beginning to impinge on my work, playing on a Sunday then having to do a concert at Vegas in the evening,” he said.
“But I’ve had a great run. I’ve played all my life. The lads gave me a good send off. And now I’m assistant coach to the assistant coach.”
Stewart returned to songwriting with his latest album Time – his first album of original material in two decades. It was a big hit and forms the heart of his five-date tour across the UK, which brings him to Blackpool on June 20.
Quite fittingly for a fella who loves sport, all five gigs are at stadiums – the tour kicking off, if you’ll pardon the pun, at Brighton and Hove Albion’s Amex Stadium on June 13 before dates at Stoke City’s Britannia Stadium, Falkirk FC and Somerset Cricket Club.
“I really am surprised how well the album’s done. It got to number one, which is an amazing success.
“It has given me great confidence,” he said.
“In fact I am starting to look at writing a follow-up to it as we speak.
“It’s because the album’s so successful that I’ve decided to play at sporting stadiums. There’s a demand for me to be there.
“I tend to go to the same places every year, Manchester, Glasgow, London, so it’s nice to mix it up and go to other places.
“Singing and performing is what I do and I love doing it. I’m smiling all over the place when I’m up on stage. It’s a wonderful way to earn a shilling.”
The venues chosen this summer have also brought back memories of Rod’s early days as a musician, days when he toured the country in vans working to make it to the big time.
Not since December 1974, when frontman in legendary group The Faces, has he last rocked Blackpool.
He is keen for a Faces reunion, though it is proving a little tricky.
“The keyboard player Ian McLagan has said he wants a Small Faces celebration first. Ronnie (Wood) is in Australia with the Stones and I’m doing what I’m doing here,” explained Stewart.
“We talked about trying to leave the year 2015 free. We can’t leave it too much longer.”
Rod also expresses his admiration for some, though not all, of today’s musical artists.
“I like all sorts of music, though at this stage of the game it is difficult to be influenced by it,” he said.
“I was influenced by all the great blues artists.
“These days one person I really like is John Newman, he is very good.
“There is some good stuff out there, but there’s a lot of rubbish as well. The good stuff always rises to the surface.”
To get your hands on tickets for Stewart’s Blackpool gig, head to www.ticketline.co.uk or call the box office on 0844 888 9991.