Sports Vs. Sounds: The Staff Of The Classical Runs Down The Best Post-Punk Sports Songs


During my discussion with the fellows behind The Classical, the forthcoming sports site named after the Mark E. Smith composition that reportedly cost the band a recording deal with Motown thanks to the slur about 35 seconds in, I asked why there aren’t many punk or post-punk songs about sports. They fired back with an impressive list of songs disproving that premise.

Said Classical member Tim Marchman, who’s written about baseball for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Sun (and disdains Yo La Tengo’s cover of “Meet the Mets”): “All those guys like Jon Langford, Mark Smith and John Lydon were huge soccer fans. My theory is that they didn’t write more about sports because they were obsessed with American culture and didn’t know how soccer fit in with that. Meanwhile, the Americans were generally fake Brits. Darby Crash would have written about Arsenal if he had Fox Soccer Channel.” More brains on punks on jocks below.

FREDORRARCI: There’s “Kicker Conspiracy” by The Fall, a kind of state-of-the-game address for early ’80s English soccer (as seen through the eyes of Mark E. Smith, anyway).

And then there’s Half Man Half Biscuit’s “Friday Night And The Gates Are Low,” almost an update ten years on, as the sport’s modernization was taking hold (“Stick a burger in my mouth / Shove a seat beneath my arse…”).

PETE BEATTY: “Walter Johnson” by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers.

“Lions (Linden)” by Pavement is about the Stockton CA metro area H.S. Football team.

“Cubs in Five” by the Mountain Goats.

There were also AFC/NFC concept albums by Peter Hughes, later of the Mountain Goats.

ERIC FREEMAN: The Fall’s “Theme from Sparta FC” is pretty cool.

TIM MARCHMAN: If “Champs” by Wire isn’t about amphetamines, there you go.

“Bedroom Athlete” by James Chance and the Contortions is the best-ever song about gymnastics, even if Chance is clearly all talk.

ERIC NUSBAUM: Dropkick Murphys fans all over Boston read this question and then stopped reading the article.