Arrivederci, it’s one on one

Arguably the greatest football song ever, New Order’s World Cup Italia ’90 hit ‘World In Motion’ set the standard for corny yet epic pre-tournament offerings. Now, 20 years on, it’s making for a comeback….of sorts.

The sight of Paul ‘Gazza’ Gascoigne juggling a football while singing to a song by New Order in a music video was the very definition of early 1990s cool, even if the image was somewhat tarnished by the sight of John Barnes uncomfortably miming a rap in the very same video.

England’s World Cup song for Italia ’90 remains the benchmark against which all novelty tournament songs should be measured, and it is again about to be brought to the fore with the news that Mars have contracted Barnes to reprise his role for an upcoming television ad.

As if it wasn’t cheesy enough in the first place, Mars have insisted on incorporating their brand into the rap, and Barnes will now sing “Three Lions on our Mars” as opposed to the original “Three Lions on my chest”.

Horrible stuff.

However, Barnes feels the legendary status of the song is more than enough of a justifcation for this reprisal.

“It’s a great song and it was an iconic moment in football and music history if you like, so it is a great idea (to recreate it),” Barnes told Eurosport.

“In 1990 it really helped the players and the fans to inspire the team and hopefully it can do the same this year.”

Barnes also explained that it was between himself, Gascoigne, Steve McMahon and Peter Beardsley for the gig.

Now whatever about Gazza trying to be Eminem before Eminem even existed, one can just imagine the awkward and lispy Beardsley or rigid hardman McMahon giving it a go.

Maybe Barnes’ effort isn’t so bad when you consider those alternatives.

The song was New Order’s only ever UK number one single, and also made it to number seven in the Irish charts surprisingly enough.

It was planned to have David Beckham perform the rap on a version released for the 2002 World Cup but those spoilsports at the FA shot down the idea.

The song returned to popular culture recently when James Corden’s character ‘Smithy’ from the hit tv show Gavin & Stacey broke into an impromtu rendition of the rap in an episode of the second series.

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
They’ll always hit you and hurt you
Defend and attack
Theres only one way to beat them
Get round the back
Catch me if you can
Cos’ I’m the England man
And what you’re looking at
Is the master plan
We ain’t no hooligans
This ain’t a football song
Three lions on my chest
I know we can’t go wrong

The Author

Neil Sherwin

Co-editor of Writes mostly on Premier League and A-League with contributions to other sites including TheFootballSack, InBedWithMaradona and Bloomberg's BSports. Has featured on The Guardian's Football Weekly.

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