Friday Fives: When Footballers Get Musical

Its the second day of the 2014 World Cup and Hyponik aren’t ashamed whatsoever to admit that we’re more than slightly drunk on the spirit of it all. Determined to write about the tournament in some capacity, this feature was dangerously close to becoming a list of World Cup moments before we saw sense and remembered that we’re a music website. Therefore we turned our attention to somehow combining our two great loves, deciding to cast our minds back on the legions of footballers who’ve dabbled in music over the years. There were undeniably a few high points – John Barnes and New Order’s Italia 90 anthem ‘World In Motion’ being the obvious choice, but what really intrigues are some of the more obscure and surprising efforts from footballers. Read on to witness what happens when narcissism, dangerous amounts of free time and lots of money combine…

Sandro sings ‘I Got A Feeling’ 

The mononymous Brazilian midfielder is renowned for his tough tackling style of play – so much so that Tottenham fans have taken to affectionately calling him, ‘The Beast’. There is nothing beastly however about this cringe inducing cover version of Will.i.am and co’s ubiquitous mega hit. Sat besides a Christmas tree, acoustic guitar in hand, Sandro plaintively strums out his interpretation of the tune – adlibbing as he sees fit. Whilst the aforementioned clip was a minute and a half of my life that I will never get back, my club allegiances allowed me to retain an open mind regarding the Brazilian’s musical abilities-which is a good job as well, because this performance is considerably better. Sung in his native tongue and with the assistance of his mate on the tambourine, Sandro displays reasonable chops, and I have no doubt that if Gilles Peterson weren’t a Gooner the two would be collaborating on a project right now.

Andy Cole – ‘Outstanding’

Prolific during spells for Newcastle and Manchester United, this 1999 single was emphatic proof that Andy Cole’s talents didn’t extend beyond the pitch. Somehow allowed to massacre the memory of The Gap Band’s early 80’s classic of the same name, Cole trudges through the track in his accented monotone-spewing out couplets that wouldn’t impress a group of stoned teenagers freestyling in a car park, with ‘Got my kicks from hitting the net/Not from drugs you bet’ my personal favorite (although it is genuinely hard to choose). Whilst Cole’s unprecedented treble winning season with United probably took away some of the sting, ‘Outstanding”s failure to crack the Top 40 has served as the embarrassing warning facing all footballers harbouring similar dreams of chart success.

Vinnie Jones – ‘Bad, Bad, LeRoy Brown’ 

Arguably most famous during his playing days for his rather enthusiastic fondling of Gazza’s testicles, life off the pitch has proved a breeze for Vinnie Jones. Milking his hardman reputation for various Hollywood roles – the most notable of which were of course in ‘Lock, Stock…’ and ‘Snatch’, Jones has also appeared in a Westlife video, written a book, been on Celebrity Big Brother and even aired his rather forthright views on immigration, since he hung up his boots. Perhaps one of the most surprising chapters in his post-football career though was his foray into the domain of Blues and Soul, releasing an album with Australian vocalist Grace Knight back in 2002. Jones was clearly in a musical mood that year as he later found himself on Top of the Pops belting out a cover of Jim Croce’s famed ‘Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown’. If you get past the bizarre spectacle of a man once renowned for maiming his opponents crooning in an open collared shirt with a full band backing him, then you can probably arrive at the conclusion that Jones possesses a largely agreeable voice. But that’s a big ‘If’…

Christian Murphy 

Tomáš Rosický Playing Rhythm Guitar

Another surreal video sees Arsenal midfielder Tomáš Rosický strumming along with a drummer, two guitarists, a bass player, an enthusiastic saxophonist, a violinist and an accordion player. Not forgetting a thuggish looking front man donning multiple gold necklaces and a Liverpool shirt. Maybe he was unaware that Rosický plays for Arsenal, or maybe is actually part of the Urchins. The suspicion aroused when he nudges Rosický ‘accidentaly’ at 2 minutes 57. It’s interesting when we realise certain footballers have abilities outside of what is immediately apparent. Tomáš holds a steady rhythm and plays the background well. What’s most apparent here is not the fact that he’s an international superstar. It’s Tomá’š comparative youthfulness that’s so pronounced. His fellow band-mates seem like distant elders he only associates with once a year during the festive season.

Manveer Roda

Dion Dublin presents The Dube

As a lifelong follower of Aston Villa FC, the news of Dion Dublin launching The Dube (a revelatory cube shaped piece of percussion) was like Christmas come early… twice.

The former Coventry City and Aston Villa striker has spent much of his life “tapping what I can tap, making rhythms, making music.” So much so that one day, in an attempt to satisfy those rhythmic urges, he took a trip to his local hardware store and picked up six pieces of wood, a hammer and nails, and The Dube was born. The instrument is now played by famous musicians such as One Direction percussionist Josh Devine, Robbie Williams and even Stevie Wonder!

In a recent Vice interview Dublin was asked whether he would prefer to make The Dube an international business or win the World Cup with England…

“The Dube hands down. Every single time. ”

Josh Thomas