That way, they could win the game, celebrate it, then drift slowly into crippling alcoholism. It worked. But, as with every successful system, a few young rebels felt it necessary to buck the trend, and now Gary Lineker has made it perfectly acceptable to have a successful career running in tandem with your sportiness. Even this weekend, Rio Ferdinand thought it time he showcased his magazine editing skills, taking over Observer Sports Monthly for a one-off no one even knew footballers could read five/ten years ago.
And it’s not just the media that has benefited from this sudden surge in multi-talented centre forwards. No sir. The hardcore rap scene is having a field day. Below are the four greatest examples of sporting rap stars
1. Andy Cole, centre forward
Anyone who supported football in the 1990s already knows everything about Andy Cole. He was the goal scoring machine, who was ruthless on the pitch, yet shocked the world with his strange nasal, almost childlike, voice during post-match interviews. It didn’t match the face like when James Blunt opens his mouth, and The Queen’s voice comes out. Still, none of that stopped Andy enjoying underground success in 1999, with a Hip Hop masterpiece called Outstanding. On the track, he pioneered simple rapping, rhyming words like “Cole” with “goal”, and ingeniously “hard” with “hard”. It just missed the top 40, which makes it a cult classic.
2. Ryan Babel, Winger
It can be petrifying for foreign players arriving at Liverpool Football Club. On their very first day, they’re confronted by crowds of men coughing, sniffing, snorting, hacking but they needn’t be afraid, it’s just the way Liverpool locals speak, they’re saying “hello”. Luckily Ryan is from Holland, where the throat is equally important when chatting with friends. Or, indeed, rapping. In his native land, he’s been known to rock the mic whenever he’s in town using the ghetto moniker, Rio. And judging by what we’ve heard, there is no Dutch translation for “motherfucker”. Which seems weird.
3. Anton Ferdinand, defender, and Nigel Reo-Coker, midfielder
Hey man, rapping isn’t just about huddling with a group of your closest friends telling one another poems that you wrote, it’s also about drawing pictures on train tracks, and, most importantly, dancing. Anton and Nigel are both tremendous rap dancers. So good, in fact, that they thought it completely worthwhile to film themselves bouncing around to some tight beats, then stuck the results on YouTube. They look fly, baby.
4. Liverpool FC
Back in 1988, the Hip Hop world was brought to its knees by The Anfield Rap. Featuring hardcore MCs like John Barnes, Alan Hansen and Steve McMahon, it took what The Beastie Boys and LL Cool J were doing at the time, and took it up to a whole new level. The video caused a major stir as well, mainly because of Bruce Grobelaar‘s terrifyingly huge hands. It made it to number three in the UK charts.
This slice of genius has been a guest blog from the mighty Josh Burt from Interestment.co.uk