The observant amongst you will have noticed that Viva Rovers has been a little bit on the quiet side this week. Don’t worry, we’ve not incurred the wrath of Football Data Co again, nor the FA, no instead we’ve been the victim of a much more evil entity; real life. Yes, until we begin selling Viva Rovers merchandise to people other than my family then alas this site will on occasion have to be nudged into the background whilst I do what I am actually paid to do. But fear not, we’re back now, and we’re back with a belter of an episode of Viva Video.
My initial idea for this week’s episode was to throw some prime examples of Neil Warnock’s hypocrisy your way. One clip showing him berating the match official at the recent Crystal Palace vs Wolves FA Cup tie for not spotting an apparent elbow to Alan Lee. And then clips of the flailing limbs of Crystal Palace players laying waste to Roger Johnson, Kazenga LuaLua and others. I even started to look, but my first YouTube search on that theme delivered a video titled ‘Neil Warnock Tribute; a Tribute to the Greatest Man Alive’ and I subsequently hurled my laptop out the window in disgust. Thankfully Viva Towers backs onto a bouncy castle so I was able to retrieve said laptop and try a different tact.
In the modern game footballers leave the pop-singing stuff to their wives, or ex-wives, and girlfriends, but it wasn’t all that long ago that they used to have a bash at it themselves. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan was Head Over Heels In Love, Chris Waddle and Glenn Hoddle brought us Diamond Lights and noted orators Andy Cole and Paul Gascoigne tried their respective hands at rapping with all the success you would’ve expected – none. Thankfully these individual chart attacks were quite rare, but there remained an annual threat to the eardrums in the form of the Cup Final song.
Every year, come mid April two groups of footballers would convene in separate recording studios and plot to take down music as we knew it. Sometimes the teams had a helping hand from ‘proper’ musicians like Manchester United with Status Quo in 1994, sometimes they were bereft of musical talent like Manchester United with Stryker in 1996. But no matter what dirge they put out it would be inexplicably snapped up by the fans, they effectively paved the way for Robbie Williams.
In the years before the Premier League media fish tank the Cup Final song also offered footballers a rare chance to get themselves on television. So in the week before the Cup Final they would pop up looking uncomfortable lip-syncing away in tracksuits on all manner of television shows. And that is the subject of this week’s Viva Video, as Crystal Palace prepare for the 1990 FA Cup Final like any self-respecting professional athlete would, by singing their own version of a Dave Clark Five hit on Derek Jameson’s television chat-show.
There’s plenty to enjoy in this clip, although even in his fleeting opening appearance you still get a great sense of how incredibly irritating Derek Jameson is, and how much he looks like a Spitting Image puppet of Bob Holness. Also for a long serving DJ its quite surprising how unfamiliar Jameson is with the name of the Dave Clark Five. John Salako has enough energy for two people, which is just as well given that Mark Bright manages to look more wooden than Jameson’s faux living room set, and for some reason Alan Pardew is played by an Australian soap actor. Also check the guest-list in the end credits, even against his past expeditions this must have been a particularly harrowing night for Sir Ranulph Fiennes.