Bolton Wanderers loan ace Neil Danns is on song
WANDERERS fans have not been getting much Boom Bang-a-Bang for their buck at the Reebok of late but Neil Danns might be just the man to get them back in tune.
While it hasn’t been “nul points” on home turf, a run of six winless games for Dougie Freedman’s side, including a frustrating draw against Sheffield Wednesday last time out, means there has been little cause for Congratulations.
Enter Danns; undefeated since his arrival on loan from Leicester City last month, the guitar-toting Toxteth midfielder has exactly the right DNA as Wanderers go prepare meet their Waterloo against Ipswich.
Web savvy Whites followers may already know that the 30-year-old former Crystal Palace man is a hit on YouTube, regularly belting out his own tunes.
But it may surprise some to hear his father – also named Neil – is somewhat of a local star back in Liverpool.
“He was a backing singer in the Eurovision Song Contest,” Danns told The Bolton News. “And he was European skateboard champion – so I don’t know why I’m so messed up!
“He’s very well respected in the community where we’re from. We came from fairly humble beginnings but my dad seemed to find something that was just different in those days to the stuff other people were into.
“He got into skateboarding and became very successful at it, gained a lot of respect, but his brothers were off singing and dancing and I think he wanted a piece of that pie as well so he went to try his luck at Eurovision.
“I’m really proud of him. There aren’t many people who can say their dad has done that kind of thing.
“I definitely think that’s where I get my madness from anyway.”
Mr Danns’ journey into Euro pop was not exactly successful, with Rikki’s 1987 effort Only The Light managing a then-record low of 13th spot. But his exploits on a skateboard and since in charity work and athlete mentoring suggests the new Whites midfielder had an interesting upbringing.
But then Danns is definitely not the archetypal footballer, citing poetry, video production and song-writing as some of his hobbies. Contrary to his Wikipedia article, he points out, he has never released a single.
“A few people have got that mixed up,” he smiled. “I’ve never done that.
“From an early age I’d like doing poetry so I just thought why not put the two together and learn the guitar, then took up writing songs as something to do in my spare time.
“It’s well documented that us footballers get a bit of spare time, so I thought why not do something crazy like my dad?”
Danns is only three games into his Wanderers career but already has a goal under his belt after scoring the decisive strike at Birmingham City before the international break.
After being frozen out of the first team picture at Leicester, he has found a new lease of life under a former team-mate in Dougie Freedman.
“I have to get used to calling him gaffer now, which hasn’t been easy,” he said.
“The things is, I’m playing under someone who knows my strengths and my weaknesses. That has been a big boost for me.
“I’m not claiming to be fully fit at the moment, I’ve only played three games and then there was the international break, but I am getting there.
“I think there is a lot more to come from me but I’m pretty happy with the start I have made here.”
Danns’ loan from Leicester runs until January and the midfielder admits he is out to win votes between now and Christmas to try and earn a move to the Reebok.
While supporters are making their mind up, Danns hopes to get Wanderers moving back up the table.
“I can only affect what is happening right now,” he said. “That’s Bolton Wanderers are trying to get us going back in the right direction, starting Saturday and Ipswich.
“I can’t affect whether the gaffer signs me other than doing the best I possibly can on the pitch.
“If that is good enough to influence their decision then great but I’ve said since I have been here the one thing you will always get is 100 per cent from me.
“Whether that’s enough – it never is for everyone every time – but I’m certainly going to try my hardest so that people warm to me and that can lead to big moves like Bolton Wanderers.”