Dion Dublin and the Dube
01 January 2019
To say that Dion Dublin made some surprise choices since retiring from football would be a severe understatement. The former striker’s amiable demeanour has given him a range of TV opportunities, but some roles are far less conventional than others. In fact, his post-football career reads like a wind-up letter from the fan mail section in Viz magazine.
Starting his post-football career predictably, Dublin has been a regular pundit across BBC and Sky football coverage. He’s been a mainstay on recognised shows such as Football Focus, Final Score, Match of the Day 2 and Super Sunday. He’s also the occasional co-presenter of 606 on BBC Radio Five Live. But that’s where the predictability ends.
“I visited a hardware shop, bought some wood and nails, went home and put the 6 sides together – The Dube was born!”
In 2015, BBC announced that Dublin would join the original line-up of Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander for the nineteenth series of its hit show Homes Under The Hammer. He beamed, “I have a passion for property and look forward to meeting people on the show who share that passion.” Even today, it still sounds like the start of a joke. After some mixed early reviews, he has since taken to the role effortlessly.
A lightbulb moment
Most surprisingly of all is The Dube. Dublin has always had a passion for music, and after breaking his leg in 1992 while playing for Manchester United he took up the saxophone, among other instruments.
Years later while at Norwich City in 2006, he had a ‘lightbulb’ moment for a career in music after football. He recalls, ‘I visited a hardware shop, bought some wood and nails, went home and put the 6 sides together – The Dube was born!’ It comes in four different sizes and has four playable sides which all produce a unique sound. In case you’re wondering, this is absolutely true.
In 2014, Dublin used the instrument to create a World Cup song called ‘The Winner in You’, which sampled The New Radicals ‘You Get What You Give’. England’s official band, despite being barred from taking instruments into the stadia, bought a collection of Dubes for the tournament in Brazil.
Percussionists and drummers have taken it to their hearts. In the early days, Dublin joined Ocean Colour Scene on stage, and Dublin boasted some other famous owners include “Josh Devine from One Direction and Robbie Williams’ drummer”. Even Stevie Wonder has his very own Dube.
“I can’t get rid of you, you’re there every time I turn on my TV”
The former Villa striker has spent time teaching schoolchildren across the country how to play the Dube, and even claims that this is more satisfying than anything from his football career. Despite a goal-laden career, it’s not too surprising considering he broke both his leg and neck on the pitch at various points in his career.
Dublin’s omnipresence has brought the attention of his ex-teammates. An old friend recently told him, “I can’t get rid of you, you’re there every time I turn on my TV.”
He is never too far away from the public eye, and his Swiss Army knife career has served him well; if one thing doesn’t work, put it away and try something else.
Dublin’s outlook on football and beyond is a deeply refreshing one, “I enjoy life and try to achieve as much as I possibly can with a smile. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, it’s just a job.”