Just when you thought it was all over….
It’s easy enough to rattle on about music and football, especially during the World Cup when footballing anthems are dusted off, and replayed like Slade records at Christmas.
Post Punk gave us the odd footballing moment, from The Fall’s “Theme from Sparta FC”, to the offerings of Half Man Half Biscuit, but for chart topping, football-shaped, chune-smithery, we’re heading to Manchester.
The responsibility for the best Punk Girl contribution to football must rest on the shoulder’s of New Order’s Gillian Gilbert, who co-wrote the song “World in Motion” to coincide with the 1990 world cup in Italy.
Plenty of bands had written World Cup songs before, the results of which were usually dreadful, but “World in Motion” seemed to open up a whole new era for football songs, was probably the first “cool” match-day anthem, and was something that appealed equally to both football and music fans.
Looking back on it, it seemed like an unlikely combination, the sparse and downbeat New Order deciding to write an uplifting football anthem, but like any good set piece, or tournament, it was played in stages. The idea was initially kicked off by the FA press officer and Joy Division fan David Bloomfield. David had been toying with the idea of commissioning a new En-Ger-Land song in the run up to the tournament but had been put off by the dearth of utterly dreadful precedents which had been set by both bands, football teams and chancers in previous years.
During an unrelated television watching incident, and as the end credits rolled on “Best and Marsh” – a football chat show, he noticed that the theme music was credited to New Order. It proved to be something of a Eureka moment, and he decided to contact New Order manager Tony Wilson, who liked the idea and set about convincing the band to write something suitable.
Gillian Gilbert and Stephen Morris were integral to the development of the song, by adapting a track that they had already written for their side project “The Other Two” which was originally written for the BBC’s “Reportage” programme.
The England team were dubious about getting involved at all, the players were not familiar with the band, and seemed to share the same well-worn view that previous footballing songs had been awful. Gary Lineker refused to participate at all, preferring to go with his own single “If We Win It All”, not the only thing he’s remembered for in 1990.
After some extra lyrical contributions from comedian Keith Allen, and production by Stephen Hague, “World In Motion” set a new standard for football songs, and scored New Order their first UK number One.
It was a long way from “Transmission”, something the band has already noticed, lead singer Bernard Sumner told NME, “This should be the last straw for Joy Division fans.”