THE Farm had many high profile fans when they were just starting out in the mid 80s.

They quickly caught the eye – and ear – of Suggs, who became their producer, and Radio 1 legend John Peel championed them on the airwaves.

But an instrumental supporter closer to home was Warrington’s own Simon Moran, who set up SJM Concerts.

Frontman Peter Hooton, of the Liverpool band behind All Together Now, said: “Simon came to early gigs by The Farm. He was a fan and he’d turn up to concerts in Liverpool dressed in a Sergio Tacchini top.

“We got to know him and the first gig he promoted was The Farm at Sheffield University. He was doing a business management course there I think so he said he’d put a gig on for us. I was in SJM’s offices in Manchester a few weeks ago and the poster is still on the wall.

Knutsford Guardian:

“Tickets were £1 in advance or £1.50 on the door!

“But it was a great gig and it gave him the confidence to do his next gig which I think was Smiley Culture.

“His next big one was New Order. After that, there was no looking back. SJM Concerts is now absolutely massive but Simon is still the down to earth person we knew. He was our tour manager on the Housemartins tour in ‘87. We treated him as a member of the band really so it’s amazing we’re going back to Warrington.”

Knutsford Guardian:

The Farm will be sharing a stage with Black Grape during Warrington Music Festival and Peter is looking forward to catching up with Shaun Ryder.

He helped the Happy Mondays get their first Liverpool gig and has known Shaun for more than 30 years.

Peter said: “They came to see us at a gig in Manchester at The Boardwalk. It was a great little venue and Shaun and Bez and all of them turned up.

“We’d done a thing called the Oxford Road Show for unsigned bands. It was a bit like BBC Introducing is now.

“They saw us on the show with cord jackets and tweed jackets and thought: ‘They’re just like us’. So they came to the Boardwalk and asked if we could get them a gig in Liverpool.”

So the two bands – from either ends of a supposed music rivalry between Manchester and Liverpool – ended up sharing a stage at The Picket in Liverpool.

Peter added: “We were encouraging everyone to go up to see the Mondays. They weren’t well known at the time so not many people went up but the people who did said it was loudest band they’ve ever heard.

“It was the ’87 period just before they’d released anything. There was a music rivalry between Manchester and Liverpool in the music press but not between the bands.

“It was just invented nonsense from various journalists. Then we played the Hacienda in 1990 and the whole Manchester’s hierarchy turned up for that – Shaun Ryder, Bez, Ian Brown, John Squire.

“After that we bumped into the Mondays every now and again but they asked us to play Elland Road with them in 1991. That was probably the high point of that movement.”

Peter is also well known for spearheading the Hillsborough Justice Campaign’s Justice Tonight Band, who toured with the Stone Roses in Europe in 2012.

He said the highlight was playing a Roman amphitheatre in Lyon.

Peter said: “It was absolutely incredible, a biblical setting. It was a lovely warm summer’s night and Eric Cantona got on stage to sing Should I Stay or Should I Go in support of Hillsborough.

“For us, as Liverpool fans, that was massive. It was before everything came out about Hillsborough and everyone became aware of what we’d known was the truth for many years.”

Performing alongside one of his heroes – The Clash’s Mick Jones – wasn’t half bad either.

Peter added: “The Clash were one of my favourite bands and I used to follow them around at various concerts when they were on tour. I saw them in Paris in the 80s.

“So to play with Mick was incredible. He said: ‘I don’t do Clash songs usually but Joe would have wanted us to do this. He would have been behind the Justice campaign. He’s here in spirit’.”

Peter is now looking forward to performing at Warrington Music Festival where new songs could be among the set.

He said: “When we play live now it’s like a window on that 80s and 90s period. But we have new songs and we have been recording recently because everyone’s families have all grown up and you start twiddling your thumbs and think: ‘What are we going to do?’

“Also we’re angry again. A lot of our debut album Spartacus was a bit of anger. We’d been subjected to 10 years of Thatcherism and that’s what a lot of the songs were about.”

Around eight songs are already in the bag towards a new album.

Peter added: “We released two or three songs on Pledge a couple of years ago and they went down great. But I think we’re realistic enough to know that a lot of people want to hear the hits – that time when you had to sell enough records to appear in the top 40 and it wasn’t about streaming.

“Talking of streaming, we’re very big in Brazil and Peru for some reason but our main stronghold for The Farm is in London. More people listen to us in London than anywhere else in the world.”

The Farm will be joining Black Grape for Warrington Music Festival at Golden Square on Saturday, May 4