Caption: When sports stars grab the mic and let rip it can lead to surprising results
They are less of a phenomenon these days, but back in the 80s and 90s national sports team anthems were all the rage, whether they were being penned for a soccer team or to honor a cricket legend.
Here we break down the 10 greatest football anthems and songs ever recorded, with a couple thrown in that readers may not have been aware even existed.
Three Lions – Lightning Seeds + Baddiel and Skinner
Anyone from England will always tell you that this track, that was hobbled together by comedians Baddiel and Skinner and genuine rockers the Lightning Seeds, is the greatest sports anthem of all time.
Of course, as with any song made for a national team it has limited global appeal, but there is no denying that it captured the heart of a nation, whose people learnt its lyrics and kept repeating them long after Gareth Southgate scuffed his penalty and sent England packing at Euro 96 .
Rasputin Rebooted – Freddie Flintoff and Ricky Wilson
This is one that most readers will not have come across, as it went somewhat under the radar of music lovers and football fans in the leadup to the 2018 World Cup.
This time, it was Ashes hero turned TV show celeb Freddie Flintoff who decided to team up with Kaiser Chiefs’ front man Ricky Wilson to produce a catchy remake of Rasputin; a song originally made famous by Boney M.
Ultimately, the song did not hit anywhere near the heights that Three Lions did, but Freddie Flintoff at least put in a half-decent showing on the mic.
You’ll Never Walk Alone – Gerry & The Pacemakers
Sometimes a song is purpose-made for a club or national team and other times one just perfectly encapsulates everything a team stands for, so that fans adopt it without question.
Such was the case with the red half of Merseyside and You’ll Never Walk Alone, which went on to become not only the anthem sung at Liverpool FC but at Celtic Glasgow and Borussia Dortmund too.
Caption: The quality of a sports anthem is judged by its longevity, and whether it crossed over sufficiently in order to be sung by crowds in stadiums and arenas
Liebe Deine Stadt – Mo-Torres and Cat Ballou + Lukas Podolski
Love Your City is the direct translation of this ditty that was performed by German international striker Lukas Podolski.
The song is an homage to the city of Cologne and is about as cringe worthy as anyone would expect from a German rap track featuring a footballer. That said, it has over five million views on YouTube, which just goes to show that football and music can combine to great effect, even if a few ear drums have to suffer in the process.
Don’t Tread – Clint Dempsey
Dempsey was a trailblazing player for Team USA, launching them from being World Cup also-rans into a force to be reckoned with.
He took that never say die attitude into the recording studio, where he laid down one of the best tracks ever created by a footballer. It’s not a song that will be heard ringing round the terraces week-in and week-out, but as a standalone piece of music it’s actually not half bad.
These days the Nou Camp is plagued by something of a tepid atmosphere, as tourists flood the stadium to lay eyes on Messi without knowing a single word of a club song.
However, on big European nights – when season ticket holders actually use their tickets rather than selling them to touts – the song that still rings out around the huge amphitheater is Cant del Barça. In many ways, the song is both an anthem for Barcelona as a club, and Catalonia as a nation, and so is sung with extra gusto just before kick-off.
The Best of the Rest
Rounding out the top 10 are Man City’s Blue Moon, West Ham’s I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, Bayern Munich’s Stern Des Südens, and Si Senõr from Argentina’s River Plate. All of them are proper football bangers.