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Footballing Musicians

We’ve all had a laugh at Footballers leveraging their fame to have a crack at making a flash-in-the-pan pop record. Gazza, Hoddle & Waddle and Andy Cole’s ultimately ironic cover of ‘outstanding’ spring to mind. But some top-flight footballers have taken things a little more seriously and have dedicated themselves to becoming pretty decent musicians. So have a read of some of the best (or if you’d prefer read some other footie articles or discover some useful knowledge about wine).

John Barnes – MC

A hugely skilful winger and sometime pundit John Barnes famously rapped on two massive football hits of the 80s and 90s – the Anfield Rap and World in Motion. But this footage apparently captured at ex-England defender Mark Wright’s 50th birthday party shows that more than 20 years later Barnsey’s still got it. Performing Rappers’ Delight like he was a member of the original Sugar Hill Gang with the dance moves to match, JB demonstrated all the swagger that made him such a firm favourite of Liverpool and England fans alike.

Tomas Rosicky – Guitar

Whilst playing in the Bundesliga for Dortmund Tomas Rosicky acquired the nickname ‘little Mozart’ for his ability to orchestrate games from the middle of the park. But it’s not classical music that Rosicky turned to for comfort in his darkest hour as a player. The gifted Czech missed the whole of 2008 and half of 2009 with a hamstring tendon injury. But Arsenal’s loss turned out to be Rock Music’s gain, as to relieve the boredom whilst recovering Tomas started taking guitar lessons. By the time he was back pulling the strings in midfield he got an offer to play with Czech band Tri Sestry live on Czech TV. Here’s the result.

Clint Dempsey – MC

Although John Barnes may claim to have some serious flow, he doesn’t go as far as having an actual rap alias. For a footballer to have that kind of musical hubris we have to look to former Spurs and Fulham utility man Clint Dempsey. ‘Deuce’, as he likes to be referred to in the hip-hop community, has a passion for rap music and in 2006 released this track ‘Don’t Tread’ with rappers XO and Big Hawk as part of the Nike promo surrounding that year’s world cup.

Dion Dublin – Dube

Always looking to defy convention (being a defender who became a lethal striker before reverting back to defence) Dion Dublin must be the only professional footballer to have actually invented a musical instrument. The Dube is a cubic percussion instrument, similar to a cajon (for those in the know). Dion’s been promoting it pretty heavily over the last year. There probably are plenty of ‘hitting the woodwork’ gags that we could put in here but we’ll let you come up with your own.

Ruud Gullit – Vocals/Bass Guitar

There was a time when you couldn’t imagine Ruud Gullit without a moustache and dreadlocks. Rampaging through any opposition’s midfield with the all conquering AC MIlan team of the mid-late 80s, ‘Captain Dread’ as he became known, cut quite the dashing figure. But when he wasn’t busy picking up world player of the year titles or European cups Gullit found the time to not only look like a bit like Bob Marley, but try and sound like him too. Ruud has such a love of Reggae music that he released a track as a solo artist:  ‘Not the Dancing Kind’ in 1986. It was understandably a flop. But this 1988 collaboration with Dutch Reggae Band ‘Revelation Time’ which looked to highlight the ongoing apartheid struggle in South Africa, actually made it to number 3 in the Netherlands charts.

Nolberto Solano – Trumpet

Nobby Solano will always be in the hearts of the Newcastle faithful for his displays as a tricky attacking midfielder over two spells and 314 games. But it wasn’t only on the pitch that ‘el Maestrito’ brought a little bit of South American flavour to Tyneside. A pretty handy trumpet player, Solano formed a Salsa band whilst in England which he imaginatively titled the ‘Geordie Latinos’. The band would regularly play gigs in the Newcastle area, and evidence of one such appearance can be seen below.

Alexi Lalas – Singer/Songwriter

Looking more like the lead singer of a wannabe indie band than an accomplished centre-back, it comes as less of a surprise that US international and star of the 1994 World Cup Alexei Lalas was indeed the lead singer of a wannabe indie band. The fame he acquired in the mid-90s with the world cup and then a spell in Serie A allowed him to release a whole album of original material, the gloriously titled ‘Ginger’. He even went on the road, briefly touring as a support act to Hootie and the Blowfish who at the time had a strong case to being biggest band in the world. Here’s a clip of him playing one of the singles from ‘Ginger’ – ‘Goodnight Moon’.

Petr Cech – Drums

The parallels between drummers and goalkeepers have long been made. At the back of the band or the team, looking out to the front, knowing that it’s the other people around you who are likely to gain all the glory, whilst you are only likely to be mentioned when you make a mistake. But never has the world of drumming and goalkeeping been so successfully straddled as by the Chelsea number 1, Petr Cech, who despite only taking up the drums in 2011, has played at a major music festival in his native Czech Republic and been tutored by Queen drummer and Chelsea fan Roger Taylor. Here’s Petr giving us his take on that musical sporting cliché –  the Eye of the Tiger.

Tony Adams – Piano

Tony Adams pianoWhen Tony Adams admitted his alcoholism and started a programme of abstinence, he famously devoted his energies into comparatively cerebral pastimes such as learning French and playing the piano.  As his long time room mate Ray Parlour explained “we went from closing the curtains at seven o’clock and trying to get rid of our hangovers from two days before, to Tony going all scientific!”. It got to the point where Adams brought a portable keyboard along with him on away game trips and played his latest piece to Parlour. Sadly no public video evidence of Adams’ skills on the ivories exists, but as living proof of the redemptive qualities of music, Tony Adams deserves a spot on this list.


Got any more suggestions for the list? Let us know in the comments below.

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