The 5 best (and worst) sporting popstars

By Jenny Smith

Phil Tufnell

Some people are just not satisfied with having it all. The Bryan Brothers, not content with being one of the most successful doubles pairings ever in tennis, winning seven Grand Slam titles and a Davis Cup trophy, have recently released their debut album, Let It Rip.

The guys recorded four tracks with singer-songwriter David Baron for the album and are set to release their fifth tune, Autograph, featuring raps from none other than Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.

However they are not the first sportsmen to have dabbled in the music biz. Here are our top five sporting attempts at rock ‘n’ roll stardom.

5. Rider feat. Terry Venables, England Crazy

In at number five is Rider feat. Terry Venables with England Crazy. Never a stranger to controversy, you might think El Tel was made and meant for the media storm that is the music industry. You would be wrong. Terry’s attempt at a Sinatra-style football song for the 2002 World Cup was pure cheddar.

“Everybody loves ya baby, we’re all going England crazy,” crooned El Tel. Unfortunately the music-buying public didn’t go crazy for the track, which came in at a measly 46 in the UK charts.

4. Matt Stevens performs Mack the Knife on X Factor: Battle of the Stars

At number four is former Bath and England prop forward Matt Stevens. He took an unlikely deviation from his rugby career to appear on X Factor: Battle of the Stars, raising money for charity. He went all the way to the final, where he was beaten by Eastenders actress Lucy Benjamin. Highlights included versions of New York, New York, Mack the Knife and Aerosmith’s I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing.

3. Phil Tufnell and the Wooden Urns, The Ashes Song

Number three in our countdown is Phil ‘the Cat’ Tufnell. He’s turned his hand to just about everything: jungle resident on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here, quiz show captain on A Question of Sport, TV presenter, hosting Simply The Best with Kirsty Gallacher, actor with guest appearances on Five soap Family Affairs, entrepreneur on Sport Relief does The Apprentice and most recently, ballroom dancer on Strictly Come Dancing. He also bowled a bit of left-arm spin at one stage.

This summer, Tuffers added to his already impressive CV with The Ashes Song, produced in conjunction with Marmite to raise money for Cricket for Change. An ironic reworking of Rolf Harris’ ‘Two Little Boys’ – it goes “two cricket teams with one cricket dream, fighting for a wooden urn” – the track is delivered with the Cat’s usual panache, with a few cheeky digs at the Aussies.

2. Yannick Noah, Saga Africa

A surprise entry at number two is former grand slam champion Yannick Noah, the last Frenchman to win at Roland Garros, back in 1983. Having conquered the tennis world, he retired early and set his sights on music. His first single, Saga Africa, went straight to the top of the French charts in 1991. The only truly legitimate recording artist in our top five, Noah has released seven albums and continues to tour.

Incredibly, he has managed to continue both careers on the courts and in the studio. Alongside releasing his debut track, he captained the French Davis Cup team to victory, leading the crowd in a rendition of Saga Africa ( . After launching his debut album, Black & What, he returned to tennis, coaching the French women’s team to a Fed Cup title in 1996.

1. New Order, World in Motion

And at the top of the charts is New Order with World in Motion, or as it is more commonly known, The John Barnes Rap. The midfielder’s combination of sing-song delivery and Dad dancing was irresistible and scored New Order a number one single for the first and only time in the band’s career.

Recorded and released for the 1990 World Cup, the track is considered by many to be the best ever football song. Actor and Comedian Keith Allen wrote the lyrics and also appeared in the video, while John Barnes’ starring role was backed up by cameos from Paul Gascoigne and the rest of the England squad.

And it seems we may be treated to Barnes’ vocal stylings once more, as New Order’s bass player, Peter Hook, revealed that the band has been approached to re-record the song for next year’s World Cup.

“We’ve just been offered John Barnes to redo the rap for next year,” Hook said.

You’ve got to hold and give, but do it at the right time, you can be slow or fast, but you must get to the line….


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