Never the best of bedfellows, officially, footy and music have always gone hand in hand for Scousers. Our football clubs have provided us with some fun and embarrassment over the years… as have our pop stars. Especially when they get involved with England. By Alan O’Hare.

There are all kinds of connections between footy and music. This site, for a start.

There’s the fashion and terrace aspect, too, which has walked arm in arm down the roads of towns and cities across the world for many years now. But footy and music interacting successfully on a regular basis… that’s tougher. Who remembers Glen Hoddle and Chris Waddle’s ‘Diamond Lights’? The Andrew Cole single? Rod Stewart having trials with Brentford? And so it goes.

When musicians come into the world of football, however, that’s a whole other story. With the news that Manic Street Preachers are to write and record the official Wales anthem for this summer’s Euro 2016 tournament, we thought we’d put the mic to the mouths of those who have come before them. A top five? We wouldn’t be so bold (there are six, anyway), but this selection – all with Liverpool links – certainly offers the do’s and dont’s of mixing footy and music. Take it away, Brian…

‘(How Does It Feel To Be) On Top Of The World’ by England United
You’ve got to be as cool as fuck to come out of this unscathed. Written by Ian McCulloch (we seem to recall Johnny Marr having a hand in it, too), and credited to a supergroup consisting of Echo & The Bunnymen, Spice Girls, Space and Ocean Colour Scene, this tune couldn’t be more nineties if it stumbled out of London’s Met Bar with Liam and Patsy, wearing Chris Evans’ Parka, clutching Chris Eubank’s monocle and swigging Zoe Ball’s Champagne. Did Mac get away with it? We’ll let you decide.

‘Three Lions ’98’ by Baddiel & Skinner & The Lightning Seeds
We’ll stick with the international theme for now and turn our attention to ‘Three Lions’… the follow-up. There’s no fun in going over old ground, everyone knows the 1996 order of events (England’s glorious failure, Gazza, Darren Anderton et al) by now, but who remembers the re-release? Updated with some very dodgy lyrics – and an even dodgier, jingoistic video (Kuntz, anyone?) – The Lightning Seeds once again stood beside Baddiel and Skinner as they tried to drum up the same spirit as Euro 96. England went out in the quarter-final.

‘Anfield Rap (Red Machine In Full Effect)’ by Liverpool FC
How Craig Johnston managed to talk the top brass at Anfield into this is remarkable. How he then got the likes of Alan Hansen, Steve McMahon and Steve Nicol to get stuck in for the video, too, shows how good the Aussie’s gift of the gab must have been. Every red of a certain age will be able to recite this to you – well, deffo’ Bruce Grobbelaar’s bit anyway – after a few drinks and somewhere, up the East Lancs Road, New Order were paying strict attention to the intro. The forgotten bit: it was released for the 1988 FA Cup Final against Wimbledon…

‘Here We Go’ by Everton FC
The blues were heading into the 1985 FA Cup Final as European Cup Winner’s Cup winners and Division One Champions… yet they still look absolutely ridiculous running onto the late Terry Wogan’s set to mime this vintage terrace classic. The lyrics were updated (great couplet of ‘team’ and ‘supreme’), but the tune remained the same – though you may struggle to hear it over those tracksuits.

‘World In Motion’ by England New Order
All joking and partisanship aside, we all know this remains the greatest football song ever released. Why? Well, it’s got nothing to do with football, the tune is just a classic New Order melody, with wistful lyrics from Bernard Sumner. It’s detached and doesn’t try too hard… a bit like a boss Brazilian full-back. Something to think about, perhaps? And speaking of Brazil, Digger hits back of the net better than any other time since the Maracanã.

… and finally. We’ve talked about the Hoddle and Waddle aberration above, but there is one footy song that sticks out above the rest as the most mawkish tune ever recorded. For Evertonians who remember the eighties so vividly (that includes this writer, by the way), it’s time to look away, as we’ll always remember this song through the golden haze of Howard Kendall’s glory days. For the rest of you, grab the sick bucket and try not to look through the window forlornly if it’s raining… it’s all aboard the good ship ‘Victory’, apparently.

‘Home & Dry’ by Everton FC

‘Skywalkers Bootle’
– Pic by John Johnson