In 1981 video killed the radio star and later on it also put Legs & Co. on the dole. In the early 1980’s you could still get an entire football team into the Top Of The Pops studio to mime away to their cup final song.
But as time went on the obligitory pop music video became the convenient and less embarrassing way for the teams to make a TV appearance.

Well I say less embarrassing…

The most famous (or infamous) football music video out there. The one that led John Barnes down that dark light entertainment path for which he never recovered. This is still the strangest and very unexpected football and musical song – and video, ever to be made. Whenever the subject of football and music comes up this is invariably the first tune that everyone thinks of and will name. One of these days I will do an investigation in to how this all came about. Unless there’s something already out there. But that is a search for another day.

As to the cup final this was released in time for – yes that’s right it was a FA Cup final song – the 1988 final where Liverpool faced Wimbledon and err… It was this single. It was a curse.

» A side note and addtional to the previously featured Crystal Palace and their 1990 FA Cup:
In that other post it was a chat show sofa-miming along to their song appearance by the team. In this one we have David ‘Kid’ Jensen, one of Palace’s biggest fans introducing the song on his 95.8FM Capital Radio show, as well as a clip of the players in the studio recording the single:

– We travel forward to 1994 now and somehow, for some reason those lovable Cockney rockers Status Quo got into bed with the ’94 Manchester United FA Cup squad for a reworked version of another of their songs: Burning Bridges (On and off and on again).

– Jumping ahead a couple of years and another FA Cup final for the reds. The people responsible for this headache inducing big fish/little fish/cardboard box effort were Topham Twigg, a production and songwriting team who worked at PWL with Pete Waterman.

It was a sterling effort by the Man U players in the video trying to mime along to the lyrics in the video.
For the record they were: Peter Schmeichel, Roy Keane, Gary Neville, David May, Tony Cotton, Gary Pallister, Steve Bruce, David Beckham, Denis Irwin, Andy Cole, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Paul Parker, Brian McClair, Ryan Giggs, Lee Sharpe, Nicky Butt & Eric Cantona.

Loved watching big Gary Pallister bouncing around in there.

– A year later and in the 1997 Cup Final we had a Ruud Gullit-led Chelsea team – featuring such names as Gianluca Vialli, Gianfranco Zola, Steve Clarke, Dennis Wise, Roberto Di Matteo, Eddie Newton, Frank Leboeuf, Frank Sinclair, Dan Petrescu, Mark Hughes… Up against a Middlesboro managed by Brian Robson and players such as Fabrizio Ravanelli, Juninho, Emmerson, Craig Hignett, Nigel Pearson, Phil Stamp, Robbie Mustoe…

Not only that but we were also treated to an FA Cup Final song video from both teams, one of them featuring Bob Mortimer (with music from Chris Rea) and the other from the Madness front man:

A good tune, good lyrics. Very memorable and singable thanks to Suggs knowing the rules of the football and music song by using a very simple chorus that even the players can remember.

…and the opposition strikes back with the original artist contributing to a cover version of his own song, but with Mr Mortimer fronting the video:

They take a risk by getting the team to sing a verse but they get away with it. The video like the one above is a nice mix of japing about as well as the players in the recording studio.

As to the final itself – Sadly that wasn’t one for the ages. Although it was for Chelsea because this was their first trophy in 27 years and the one that convinced a certain Russian oligarch to buy the team.

– The cup final a year later had Arsenal covering a Donna Summer disco classic.

You will never burn that image out of your head of Wrighty enthusiastically mouthing “Hot Stuff”. Not that he didn’t have form in this though. He did team up in 1993 with Chris Lowe from The Pet Shop Boys to Do The Right Thing.

For the record in that 1998 final they faced Newcastle team managed by Kenny Dalglish and featuring Shay Given, Alessandro Pistone, Nikos Dabizas, Steve Howey, Stuart Pearce, Warren Barton, Rob Lee, David Batty ,Gary Speed, Temuri Ketsbaia and Alan Shearer. Also coming off the bench was Steve Watson and John Barnes. But even with these galactic names they couldn’t stop Arsenal’s Invincibles.

– Everybody remembers the epochal FA Cup Final of 1999 with that great Harchester United team.
At the beginning of the season millionaire building supplies tycoon Jerry Block became the new chairman and was prepared to plough millions into the club. He signed Argentine sensation Luis Amor Rodriguez who ended up becoming the player/manager by the time they reached the cup final.
They produced an outstanding FA Cup Final song and video:

But tragedy struck as the players celebrated the FA Cup victory in front of the fans during a lap of honour, two gunshots rang out throughout Wembley. One of them wounded chairman Jerry Block’s wife Lynda in the head, whilst the other fatally wounded captain John Black.
» You can relieve your memories of the cup final and that moment at harchesterunited.com.

» Harchester United – The Purple’s Reign

Wrapping this up for now… There are some more but they are boring so stopping with the Chelsea FA Cup Final song from 2000:

Because of it’s sound and because it “borrowed” a line from the above 1997 Chelsea tune I sometimes mixed it up with Suggs song. If you listen to the song you will too think the same.
Many of the players who won three years earlier were still there, this time with Vialli as the boss.

I would like to think that one day there will be a return to the tradition of the FA Cup Final song, but with the way the teams treat the competition and only really take it seriously when it gets to the semi-finals. I can’t see that happening.

One Comment

  1. A really good article this Webbie. The FA Cup Final team song really used to mark the build-up to the game itself. They were hardly ever much good but that didn’t matter. But, even as a Liverpool fan, you’d do well to find anything that betters Spurs’ outings with Chas & Dave in 81 and 82.

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