Music and football, believe it or not, are intertwined across many fronts. You wouldn’t have thought it, would you ? Football is far too vulgar and classless for the art that is music, surely ? Cast your mind back to October 12th, 2018. It was Croatia vs England, a group-stage match at the Stadion HNK Rijeka in the inaugural Nations League- with a twist. Sanctioned by UEFA for drawing a swastika on the pitch during a Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy, Croatia were forced to play the match behind closed doors. What once was a fiery encounter with scores to be settled from the World Cup semi-final earlier that year was now a dull, lifeless affair. The game ended, predictably, 0-0. You’d rather have watched paint dry. In fact, no. You’d rather have watched dry paint dry.
It was a seminal match though. For arguably the first time ever, we had concrete evidence on the reliance of fans to football. What it also vindicated was the notion that songs, and for that matter music, still had their part to play in modern football. Cheering every now and again at a goal or a bone-crunching tackle can spur a team or player on, but what really creates the atmosphere at football grounds are the songs. The Stone Roses’ Waterfall covers, the Seven Nation Army renditions and a little more close to home, Nottingham Forest’s famous Mull of Kintyre cover. Songs like Mull of Kintyre, say, or Liverpool’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” are part of football folklore. Sung by tens of thousands of fans in tandem, it never fails to make the hairs on the back of you neck stand up.
Yet while Loyle Carner’s slow hip-hop tunes may never make it to the terraces, he certainly plays his part on the music-football scene, in many ways taking the baton from the Gallagher brothers and the 90’s Manchester bands. To commemorate the release of his new album “Not waving, but drowning”, Croydon-born Carner teamed up with Umbro to release his own football shirt- Loyle Carner FC. With only a handful made, to get my hands on one was a blessing. The shirt is a spin-off of the iconic England 2000 kit, arguably the greatest England top of all team, and one of the finest kits Umbro (a budget sportswear company by definition) has ever produced.
If Carner’s not in the studio, he is either watching football- he dedicated a whole song in his new album to England’s world cup heroics- or hunting down retro kits, with the outspoken Liverpool fan known for offering tickets to his gigs in return for a retro shirt he does not already possess. It’s worth it, his music is special.
Retro factor: 9.1
Overall rating: 9.2/10