Express & Star

The Big Debate: The greatest football song

With The Euros having kicked off, our writers hash it out over which footie song is the greatest.

Which footie tune is your favourite?

Vicki Jones: Sweet Caroline is a diamond

A good football song has the power to unite. And when things are going well, you can't beat the sound and sight of thousands of fans belting out the same song. It's a real feel-good moment.

For me, you can't beat Sweet Caroline. The Neil Diamond hit was written 50 years ago, but in the last few years has become something of an unofficial anthem of the England team.

In recent tournaments, fans have been joined by players on the pitch in singing the song. And it has been a song that has been picked up by supporters of both the men's and women's teams. A memorable moment after the Lionesses won the Euros final in 2022 was when an excitable Chloe Kelly ditched a pitchside interview to join the celebrations, singing Sweet Caroline into the mic before running off.

I think the key to a good football anthem is simplicity. It has to be one with straight-forward lyrics that can easily be picked up. There can't be many people who don't know the chorus of Sweet Caroline!

Matt Panter: World In Motion is top

Ah, Italia ‘90. Desmond Lynam hosting on the BBC, commentary from the likes of Gerald Sinstadt, Barry Davies and Motty, Luciano Pavarotti belting out Nessun Dorma for World Cup Grandstand’s opening credits.

And 1990 also brought the coolest football song ever – New Order’s brilliant World in Motion. I’ll grant you it doesn’t have the emotion of You’ll Never Walk Alone or the celebratory feel of Sweet Caroline.

You can’t sing it on the terraces or belt out “football’s coming home” from the anthemic track by David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and The Lightning Seeds – my number two choice.

But World in Motion always transports me back to that summer of 1990 which, as is always the case, was a roller coaster of emotion before ending with Gazza’s tears and glorious failure. That’s what a football song is about for me – illuminating memories. World in Motion was a real move away from traditional football songs and those slightly awkward squad sing-alongs like Back Home (1970), This time (We’ll get it right) in 1982 and We’ve got the whole world at our feet (1986), a leap into a new era of the beautiful game.

So good was the song it reached number one in the charts. Released on May 21, 1990, it entered the charts at number two before pushing Adamski’s Killer off top spot. Not only was it a great song but it also had an iconic guest rap from winger John Barnes. What’s not to like?

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