Football and music rarely mix well. World in Motion was alright, I guess, but only the New Order bits. The bits that don’t feature John Barnes’ painfully bad rapping (more on that later).
The latest such footballer to attempt a crossover from football to music is Sunderland’s record signing Asamoah Gyan, who features on Castro’s tune ‘African Girls’. It’s basically the same woeful R&B that every footballer bar Gary Neville seems to listen to, but African. It’s alright, really, given some of the crap that footballers tend to release.
Speaking of which, here’s a brief recap of the history of cringe-making footballers hitting the mic.
Kevin Keegan – Head Over Heels in Love (1979)
Well this is just lovely. A nice bouncy pop number replete with strings and a slightly inappropriate guitar solo, that I’d love to think KK performed himself, but probably didn’t. It’s just weird listening to Keegan’s voice singing this: I mean, the guy went on to be England manager. You think Capello would ever put his name to something like this? Here’s hoping.
Tottenham Hotspur 1981 F.A. Cup Final Squad – Ossie’s Dream (Spurs Are On Their Way To Wembley)
“Spuuuuurs are on their way to Wembley!” This one’s a little better actually. Featuring an uncredited Chas and Dave, this was released before Spurs’ FA Cup Final win over Man City. It’s a lot less cringe-worthy when they’re singing collectively, rather than solo. Apart from Ossie Ardiles’ amusing “in the cup for Tottingham” line, of course. I think it’s safe to say, however, that the match will be remembered for Ricky Villa’s brilliant goal rather than this.
Glenn & Chris – Diamond Lights (1987)
Glenn & Chris being Hoddle & Waddle, which would’ve been a much better name to release this under. Waddle just doesn’t look like he wants to be there, like the sober fella being dragged up to karaoke by his pissed mate: mumbling something about diamond lights whilst Hoddle enthusiastically shouts “darling I love you!” A tad painful to watch, but a chucklesome performance all the same.
Liverpool F.C. – Anfield Rap (1988)
This, more than anything, is just bizarre. It’s tough to know where to start here. The anthemic You’ll Never Walk Alone is all stop-start. The guy at the start has a massively irritating voice: making the dubious claim that “they don’t just play but they can rap as well”. Some of the rhymes are ridiculously contrived: “Arsenal” is stretched to rhyme with “hell”, John Barnes mispronounces his own name so that it’ll rhyme with “bananas”. In case anyone took this particularly seriously, it’s exposed for the joke it is by some commentary at the end stating “I think they should stick to playing football … terrible”. I’ll second that.
Paul Gascoigne – Fog on the Tyne (1990)
Ah, Gazza. You gotta love him. In the late 80s and early 90s, hip-hop was emerging as a mainstream genre in America, and the era was thought of as rap’s ‘Golden Age’:. NWA, Snoop Dogg and the Wu-Tang Clan were all making names for themselves. Over here we get the Anfield Rap and Paul Gascoigne. “Setting my sights on g-g-goals” is possibly some of the most unnecessary studio knob-twiddling you’ll ever hear.
1996 Manchester United F.A. Cup Squad – Move Move Move (The Red Tribe)
Moving away from hip-hop and into dance music are Manchester United. The less famous, but ultimately worse, brother of Come On You Reds of two years previously, this is a horrendous watch for United fans. At least Cantona clearly looks disinterested, and still maintains a degree of cool, but Denis Irwin and Gary Pallister couldn’t look more out of place if they’d started up front against Liverpool in the final.
Andy Cole – Outstanding (1999)
Much like George Michael’s departure from Wham!, Andy Cole was always destined for greater things than Move Move Move. This one’s alright for a while. Well, it’s still bad, but a passable song. Everything that follows the words “Andy Cole, break it down”, however, is truly, devastatingly awful. In the video, Cole cruises round the streets, and might as well have a though bubble above his head saying “I’m really not sure about this … I wonder if I’ll get any stick for it?”
The line “got my kicks from hitting the net, not from drugs you bet” is socially-conscious hip-hop at its embarrassing worst.
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