Blogs & Opinion

Striking a chord

Musical references to the beautiful game must hit the right note

Johnny Phillips - Johnny Phillips Posted 5th September 2011 view comments

One of the trickier jobs on Soccer Saturday each week is choosing the music for the opener - the montage of footage used to introduce the programme.

This task is generally left to whoever is making the piece but it's not unusual for the producer to open the floor to suggestions from the office. A good track can make all the difference and it's important to grab the attention of the audience at the start of each show.

Star duet: Graham Taylor celebrates becoming Watford boss in 1977, with chairman Elton John

Star duet: Graham Taylor celebrates becoming Watford boss in 1977, with chairman Elton John

Music polarises opinion and with the age range of our production staff it's not uncommon for a heated debate to ensue every time a track is put forward.

Our assistant producer Caroline Eccles reserves a pathological loathing for Abba which I've never quite understood. Ok, they're not everyone's cup of tea but there's worse out there.

On the other hand there are those of us forever trying to peddle our favourites, so I'm never averse to under-laying a piece with a choice offering from The Chemical Brothers. You get the picture. And that's before our presenter has weighed in with his favourites from the 50s and 60s...


Football and music have always seemed a good fit for each other. By that statement I'm obviously excepting the myriad of FA Cup Final and World Cup songs produced by actual football teams down the years - that's one for another column, preferably written by someone else.

My own favourite football lyricists are Birkenhead's finest Half Man Half Biscuit. The avid Tranmere Rovers fans often refused to perform on Friday nights as they clashed with home matches at Prenton Park in the 1980s and early 90s.

Johnny Phillips
Quotes of the week

There are plenty of bands out there who are only too happy to fly their club's colours. Most famously Oasis and Kaiser Chiefs spring to mind in the contemporary era whilst everyone is aware of Elton John's love of Watford. It was football that inspired The Farm's biggest hit 'All Together Now' which recalls the World War One truce of 1914 when Allied and German troops along the Western Front put down their arms on Christmas Day and played a game with each other.

Billy Bragg's 'God's Footballer' is about Wolves striker Peter Knowles who, in 1970, turned his back on a successful career to become a Jehovah's Witness.

Bragg is a Crystal Palace fan but musical followers of the old gold down the years include Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, who is now on the board at Molineux, and Edward Elgar. At the turn of the 20th century the classical composer regularly made the 60-mile round trip from his Worcester home to follow Wolves and could well lay claim to being football's first ever celebrity fan, although as far as I'm aware he never penned any odes to his team.

My own favourite football lyricists are Birkenhead's finest Half Man Half Biscuit. The avid Tranmere Rovers fans often refused to perform on Friday nights as they clashed with home matches at Prenton Park in the 1980s and early 90s. Their debut single The Trumpton Riots had a B-side which has gained in legend down the years. 'All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit' charts the pains of a schoolboy suffering at the hands of a playground rival who'd acquired the illusive strip for his Subbuteo team.


Whilst Friday night football and Subbuteo have all but disappeared from view, music continues to reference the beautiful game with tracks like Glasvegas's 'Flowers and Football Tops' and Catatonia's 'Do You Believe In Me?' which opens up with the line "I'm Andy Cole's tortured soul, lost again in front of goal." That always struck me as a bit harsh for a player who scored over 250 career goals. I wonder what they'd have made of Robert Rosario.

Today's players seem increasingly keen to get in on the act too. Florent Malouda has founded his own charity music festival called One Love. Wayne Rooney and Andy Carroll spent part of their summer at Glastonbury, although sadly not with each other, and last week Joey Barton tweeted from Creamfields where he said the highlight of his weekend was The Chemical Brothers set. The lad's got taste.

Comments (1)

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Nuno Miguel says...

Well, im not in the right place to talk about this, but in a channel like skysports, so know worldwide, i'm sad because i'm not find notting about FC PORTO. Europa league winners, portuguese league winners, portugal cup winners, it's a little sad. I'm a huge FC PORTO fan. Super Dragoes :) The true is that FC PORTO is at this moment the 3 best time in the world, should be second but ok, we do'nt have the money hat FC BARCELONA hav but we have a lot of quality, love for the sport and we have a big name in EUROPE! I just think that sgould talk more about Portuguese League, because is getting bigger and bigeer. Just wanna say that PORTO play mutch better than BARCELONA in EUROPE SUPERCUP, and if messi doens't play that game, we maybe have a chance to win. :) Just wanna say that i like very mutch skysports. Hope someone read this comment and answer please. And i'm sorry for my bad english xD

Posted 12:05 5th September 2011

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