Olly and Cody were smash hit duo!
HE MAY have spent the summer rocking some of Europe’s biggest stadiums alongside Robbie Williams – but singer Olly Murs still remembers his time in Non-League when the only front man he was interested in a duet with was Gillingham’s Cody McDonald!
Murs, who has had four number one hits since finishing runner-up on The X-Factor in 2009, has just finished a sell-out European tour with Port Vale fan Williams.
It was when he played for Witham Town, however, that Murs – currently at number 29 in the charts with Dear Darlin – found his old pal McDonald to be something of a Troublemaker towards his prospects of progressing beyond the Ryman League!
“I’ve always been proud to talk about the fact that I played semi-pro because it was a big achievement for me as a young lad,” said the 29-year-old pop heartthrob, who left the Essex side after three seasons when he suffered a knee injury in 2008.
“I might not always have played as much as I’d have liked, but unfortunately I was in a team with Cody, and he’s gone on to play at clubs like Norwich, Coventry and Gillingham.
“He was a year or two younger than me and we scored goals for fun together on a Sunday, which was how I knew him in the first place. A load of us young lads from Witham played for Valley Swifts in the Braintree and North Essex Sunday League.
“But he was in the team scoring loads and has gone on and proven that he’s a professional football player. Obviously football wasn’t for me, but singing is.
“It’s crazy how back then we were an unknown centre-forward partnership, but nowadays people know who we are for our different careers.”
Murs’ latest single, out today, is Right Place Right Time from his third album of the same title.
“Being an old centre-forward myself, nine times out of ten I used to be in the right place at the wrong time,” laughs Murs, an ambassador for the FA’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
“But in my music career so far it’s an apt phrase. I think this album is a true representation of who I am right now, where my music is going and what’s next.”
And that could involve emulating Sir Elton John, who helped Watford rocket up the Football League and to an FA Cup final in his time as Hornets chairman.
“It would be great, when my career goes a little bit quieter, if I can be like Elton John and invest some money into Witham Town and take them up the leagues,” he adds.“I might be a football chairman – the Roman Abramovich of Non-League football!”
ROCK ‘N’ GOALS: Olly Murs in concert and Coby McDonald playing for Gillingham