The old tradition of releasing an FA Cup final song – or a World Cup-timed football chant – may be resigned to the past, but these hits have truly earned their place in footballing folklore.
Three Lions – Baddiel and Skinner with the Lightning Seeds (1996)
Originally released as England’s anthem to Euro 96, this went straight to No.1, shooting back there again following its re-release ahead of World Cup 1998. Featuring cameos by England legends past and present, the tune has become synonymous with English football and continues to chart each time England qualify for a major tournament. This is easily the most recognisable of the chants, and one of the better performances, unlike England’s in the ’96 Euro final.
World in Motion – New Order (1998)
Written for England’s 1990 World Cup team, this was – unbelievably – New Order’s only ever number one. With contributions from the entire squad alongside cameos from comedian Keith Allen and 1966 commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme, it’s perhaps best remembered as a showcase for the hidden rapping skills of John Barnes. Popular demand saw a 2010 re-release, which, whilst not as successful as the previous release, was still a large hit in the United Kingdom.
Fergie Time – Jim Daly (2013)
Star of animated YouTube football channel ‘The Football Special’, Daly’s song dedicated to Sir Alex Ferguson captures its subject perfectly. With reference to the (alleged) leniency Man United are given with regards to extra time, the razor-sharp lyrics successfully but gently poke fun at one of football’s sacred giants.
Anfield Rap – Liverpool FC (1998)
John Barnes first cut his rapping teeth on this record. Released ahead of Liverpool’s FA Cup Final Match, this ‘so bad, it’s good’ classic was a collaboration between Liverpool player Craig Johnston and singer Derek B.
With wince-inducing raps from the entire team, this Run DMC-inspired jam featured Scouse-infused contributions from Bruce Grobbelaar and legendary commentator Brian Moore. This song, being of a quality similar to Liverpool’s performance in recent years, is more often than not, enjoyed whilst not entirely sober.
Nice One Cyril – Cockerel Chorus (1973)
One of Spurs’ greatest ever players, Cyril Knowles’ popularity was such that this chirpy effort was dedicated to him ahead of the 1973 League Cup Final. The first song to celebrate a player as opposed to a team, it remains an important part of Spurs culture and means even more to their fans following Knowles’ death from cancer in 1991.