The Great Big Spectral Nights World Cup 2018 preview

We’re very excited about the World Cup that kicks off in a month or so and we’ve decided to ask some football-loving bands, blogs and readers to offer their takes on what to expect in Russia next month – an an evaluation of how their club teams’ seasons have gone…

Who will win the 2018 World Cup?

Jack, Alcopop! Records: ‘England…? Ahahahaha. No I’m kidding, though ask me again in a month or so and I’ll probably convince myself we’ve got a squeak of a chance. I fancy Germany possibly, though I feel like Egypt and Poland could go further than people expect.’

Niall, The Spook School: ‘Iceland. And when they win they’re going to do that massive clap thing. It’s going to be super cool.’

Luke (Uncle Luc), Super Fan 99 Records: ‘France.’

Andy, Rose Coloured Records: ‘Germany probably.’

Oscar and Germain, Bops: ‘France, obviously!’

Sean, itoldyouiwouldeatyou: ‘Belgium are going to win the World Cup with a De Bruyne free kick. Everyone I’ve told this to thinks I’m an idiot as Belgium never seem to gel as a team (which is unsurprising given the entire history of Belgium itself), but as we have all seen this season, football has no fucking rules anymore, and Belgium strikes the balance between a surprise upset and what should logically happen given the depth of their squad. I just want Vincent Kompany to be happy so he doesn’t burst that dench vein in his head.’

David, reader: ‘Argentina, Messi to take them all the way this time.’

James, Fox Food Records: ‘Panama would be a deserved winner just for the hat related headlines it would generate.’

Dave, Horses Playing Harps: ‘Realistically, Germany. However I’m hopeful that Iran win as it may result in everyone realising that proxy wars are stupid and world peace breaks out….at least until Qatar 2022.’

Leo, reader: ‘Not us. Let’s say a Messi-inspired Argentina, ensuring his legacy as the greatest player ​in the world; if not of all time.’

Michael, Quiet Lions: ‘Brazil.’

Oli, Quiet Lions: ‘France.’

Sam, For the Rabbits: ‘My head says Germany, because they’re Germany. Looking at the teams though I like the look of France, plenty of ego and swagger and if they make it through without having a whole squad strop they could go a long way.’

Theo, Sports Day Records: ‘Argentina.’

Christian, Spielbergs: ‘I really want England to win the World Cup and will be cheering for you guys, but I do not belive you will win, sorry! Going for Argentina here even though they have been crap during the qualification.’

Stian, Spielbergs: ‘I could agree on Argentina but I’m going for Brazil.’


Who’s going to be the standout player?

Jack, Alcopop! Records: ‘You have to say Neymar really don’t you. He’s playing in a good team, and he’s been absolutely dynamite this year. Absolutely phenomenal footballer and will be ludicrously high on confidence. Then if he’s not as good as he should be he can shrug his shoulders, realise it’s not as bad as THAT Germany match and go back to swimming in pools of money a la Scrooge McDuck.’

Niall, The Spook School: ‘Zlatan Ibrahimovic. I mean technically he retired from international football and he won’t be registered to play officially but I can see him invading the pitch from the crowd and scoring a screamer before being arrested and dragged away to a Russian prison cell whilst advertising for VISA Credit Cards.’

Luke (Uncle Luc), Super Fan 99 Records: ‘Eden Hazard.’

Andy, Rose Coloured Records: ‘Antione Griezmann.’

Oscar and Germain, Bops: ‘Luiz Suarez’

Sean, itoldyouiwouldeatyou: ‘Robert Lewandowski has had an absolutely ludicrous season for Bayern Munich, 40 goals in 47 games in all competitions which frankly makes no sense. I really wouldn’t be surprised to see him getting the golden boot. I would love to say Mo Salah but he can’t carry his whole team. Other than that, as per usual, David de Gea is gonna be for the most part impossible to score against. Wildcard selection goes to Christian Eriksen; if they get out of their group I can really see him making the difference when it matters, as he has done for Spurs all season. I hope Christiano Ronaldo gets injured in the first minute of the first game, the bastard.’

David, reader: ‘Messi, cause come on even when he’s average he’s a standout.’

James, Fox Food Records: ‘Hopefully one of the awesome Huddersfield Town players who are going to the tournament (the bald wizard Aaron Mooy, Jonas “Col” Lossl or Zanka Claus).’

Dave, Horses Playing Harps: ‘Well now I’ve thrown my weight behind Iran for no apparent reason, I’m going to have to say one of their players. They have a pretty nifty forward called Sardar Azmoun who has been described as “The Iranian Messi”, so not only is he pretty good, he’s probably just as adept at dodging taxes.’

Leo, reader: ‘Mohamed Salah is the fucking tits isn’t he? He brings me so much joy every time I watch Liverpool play.’

Michael, Quiet Lions: ‘Neymar.’

Oli, Quiet Lions: ‘Salah.’

Sam, For the Rabbits: ‘It’s all set up for Messi to finally do it on the international scene, but I’m backing Christian Eriksen. Great footballing brain, the whole Denmark team is set up to make the most of his talents and they’ve got quite an easy looking group.’

Theo, Sports Day Records: ‘Mo Salah.’

Stian, Spielbergs: ‘Son for South Korea.’

Christian, Spielbergs: ‘Very generous of you to pick a Spurs player. I could have returned the favour and picked Salah but I’m going for Messi (boring, I know).’


What’s the best football kit of all time?

Jack, Alcopop! Records: ‘EASY! Cameroon 1990. I bought one on eBay for an unholy amount of money, but it’s still one of the best buys I’ve made. The image of Roger Milla doing his thing on the corner flag will stay with me forever. It’s a classic kit for a classic era and a classic player.’

Niall, The Spook School: ‘Any of Mexican goalkeeper Jorge Campos’ jerseys. Amazing. So beautiful.’

Luke (Uncle Luc), Super Fan 99 Records: ‘Easy decision. Fiorentina home shirt 1998-99 season with Nintendo as the sponsor and Batistuta on the back. Second choice is my first Fulham shirt which was the 1997-98 season with Demon Internet as the sponsor. It still fits and I wear it now and again to games.’

Andy, Rose Coloured Records: ‘I always loved the old Crystal Palace sash one, but World Cup, Zaire 1974. Always love the Dutch orange when they are there.’

Oscar and Germain, Bops: ‘France 92.’

Sean, itoldyouiwouldeatyou: ‘It’s a bit of a bait suggestion, but I’ve always absolutely loved the 1998-1999 Fiorentina kit with that iconic Nintendo sponsorship. I’m an absolute sucker for any football shirt with a button and collar really, so the Wimbledon 1999-2000 home kit gets a shout out too. My good friend Mousa lent me that kit a couple years, and I’m yet to give it back. Boy, am I a bastard.’

David Maclachlan, reader: ‘Celtic home kit 1967.’

James, Fox Food Records: ‘The electric tie-dye away kit of the 91/92 season is mine and many a Town fan’s favourite. The fact the club paid homage to it with our 3rd kit this season (and my 5 year old son won’t stop wearing it) puts a rather large lump in my throat.’

Dave, Horses Playing Harps: ‘David Seaman’s Euro 96 goalkeeping jersey.’

Leo, reader: ‘Great question. Many people will have an opinion on this – most of which will be wrong. France ’84 – a true masterpiece.’

Michael, Quiet Lions: ‘Holland 1988 home shirt.’

Oli, Quiet Lions: ‘Liverpool’s 1996 3rd shirt with the dark green and white quarters was right up my street.’

Sam, For the Rabbits: ‘Peru kits are always the best, the 2014 Umbro number is particularly great. I love a good sash.’

Theo, Sports Day Records: ‘2002 Cameron sleeveless home shirt comes to mind, this year’s Nigeria home shirt and France away are quite lovely too.’

Stian, Spielbergs: ‘Brazil 82.’

Christian, Spielbergs: ‘Argentina 86.’

Football kits


Best football song of all time?

Jack, Alcopop! Records: ‘Eat My Goal’ is right up there as a feel-good anthem packed with absolute golden nuggets of footballing happiness. I’ll go ‘Eat My Goal’, though there’s obviously a personal love for Elephants’ ‘Ivory Coast (To Victory)# which we released for Aruna Dindane and his mob many years ago… Look it up if you’ve never heard it. It’s a crudely put together video but stitched with a LOT of love.’

Niall, The Spook School: ‘Put ‘Em Under Pressure” for Ireland in the 1990 World Cup.’

Luke (Uncle Luc), Super Fan 99 Records: ‘New Order ‘World in Motion’ is brilliant and I love hearing Fulham’s 1975 FA Cup single ‘Viva El Fulham’ too.’

Andy, Rose Coloured Records: ‘England 82 – ‘This Time’. Cos they have to be cheesy and this was the first world cup I remember and was well into it!’

Oscar and Germain, Bops: ”You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

Sean, itoldyouiwouldeatyou: ‘The best football song of all time is without question ‘Three Lions’. How is this even a question? The only possible suggestion of a better one would be the New Order 1990 theme as a Gabber remix, with the John Barnes rap sped up ‘Nightcore Remix’ style. I have very specific tastes. Fight me.’

David, reader: ”Goal! England’ by We Are Scientists.’

James, Fox Food Records: ‘There are two: ‘There’s a team that’s dear to its followers, Their colours are bright blue and white, They’re a team of renown, they’re the talk of the town,
And the game of football is their delight.
All the while upon the field of play, Thousands gladly cheered them on their way,
Often you could hear them say,
Who can beat the Town today?
Then the bells shall ring so merrily,
Every goal shall be a memory,
So town play up and bring the cup,
Back to Huddersfield!’


‘Those were the days my friend
We thought they’d never end
We won the league 3 times in a row
We won the FA cup and now we’re staying up!
We are the Town! Oh yes we are the Town!”

Dave, Horses Playing Harps: ‘I want to be contrary but it has to be ‘Three Lions’.’

Leo, reader: ‘A fight to the death between “World In Motion” and “Three Lions”.​ That keyboard leading into John Barnes’ rap; or the soundtrack to that (almost) perfect summer of eternal youth that will last forever in the memory. Quite simply, how can you choose?’

Michael, Quiet Lions: ‘Republica – Ready to Go.’

Oli, Quiet Lions: ‘Probably ‘Three Lions’ because Euro 96 was a great tournament.’

Sam, For the Rabbits: ‘I want to say something cool like ‘I Broke Up In Amarante’ by Los Campesinos! or ‘The Ballad Of Paul Tierney’ by Lonely Tourist – but it’s got be Three Lions hasn’t it.’

Theo, Sports Day Records: ‘3 Lions (98 version).’

Stian and Christian, Spielbergs: ‘Norway have qualified twice for the WC and with that there was made two songs “Bønda i fra Nord” and Alt for Norge/All for Norway. We both have quite a nostalgic connection to both of them but the first version of ‘Football’s Coming Home’ (‘Three Lions’ – made for Euro 96) must be the one for us.


Who are your club team and how did their season go?

Jack, Alcopop! Records: ‘Coventry City. Fantastic thanks Ryan. At the moment we’re edging toward the League 2 play off final – but jury’s out until we beat Notts County (please please please) on Friday night…’ (EDITOR: They managed to win – Jack’s going to Wembley!)

Niall, The Spook School: ‘Queen’s Park. I got to present the Man of the Match award once and I got a signed match ball! Oh and we’ve been relegated to League 2 in Scotland.’

Luke (Uncle Luc), Super Fan 99 Records: ‘Fulham FC, London’s oldest club. Pretty incredibly. We went on a record 23 match unbeaten run playing the most lush passing football the club has possibly ever played and booked a place in the play off final. We qualified last night in front of a sold out Craven Cottage that was the loudest I’ve ever heard it. I invaded the pitch at full time (of course) and it felt very surreal, a dream like euphoria reminding me what football is all about. A moment to saviour and now we’ll be at Wembley for the first time in my lifetime.’

Andy, Rose Coloured Records: ‘Bristol Rovers. Mid-table mediocrity.’

Oscar and Germain, Bops: ‘Liverpool FC. Pretty well!’

Sean, itoldyouiwouldeatyou: My team is Fulham FC! Last night we overcame a 1-0 deficit to beat Derby to the Championship Playoff Final, and this season we smashed our unbeaten record to make it 23 without a loss, so being a Whites fan feels pretty damn good right now. Shout out Ryan Sessegnon – he’s one of our own, y’know (and should definitely be on the plane to Russia, he’s only going to get better so what do we have to lose?). As I’ve mentioned we’ve had a cracking season, and only missed out on automatic promotion on the final day (fuck you, Birmingham City) despite being in about 14th around December time. Even if we don’t get promoted in the Playoffs I couldn’t be more proud of what Jokanović and the boys have done this season. We’re a team with real heart, and usually very low expectations, which makes victory all the more sweeter. Furthermore, it makes the potentially ‘Fulham-ish’ end to our season sting a little less than supporting someone like Aston Villa or Middlesborough, who probably expect to be in the Premiership.’

David, reader: ‘Celtic FC. Domestically it went great although not as good as last year’s invincibles. They are on course for a second domestic treble. Europe was a bit of a mixed bag, they qualified easily for the champions league but struggled to match the levels of last year in the group stages with some pretty big spankings dished out by PSG in particular. Expecting a big squad overhaul in the summer.’

James, Fox Food Records: ‘Erm… Certainly the best season for me as a town fan. Arguably the best season the club has had in living memory. It has been that good. UTT.’

Dave, Horses Playing Harps: ‘Oxford United. Not great. We started off OK, flirting with the playoffs for a while. Then we fired our manager and plummeted down toward the relegation zone. The search for a new manager seemed to go on for forever. Sol Campbell got annoyed we didn’t hire him, and I got annoyed we didn’t hire Craig Bellamy. We ended up with a new club owner instead, and eventually stole Charlton’s manager. We managed to avoid relegation in the end, but it was a lot closer than anyone would have liked. I miss Michael Appleton :(‘

Leo, reader: ‘Queens Park Rangers. It went ok, and after a couple of nothing seasons I have a team that I like and that I want to watch. It’s MY team again. We need to take our medicine after wasting the Premier League opportunity we waited 15 years for (during which time we squeezed in two relegations, administration, a failed merger with Wimbledon, a meningitis outbreak, guns in the boardroom…). That could have set the club up for the next 5-10 years; instead, we will be living in the shadow of those poor decisions for some time. The positive? It will force us to cut our cloth accordingly and run as a proper football club.’

Michael, Quiet Lions: ‘Swansea. Abysmal!’

Oli, Quiet Lions: ‘Blackburn. Wicked!

Sam, For the Rabbits: ‘The formerly mighty Leeds United, it’s all been down hill since Rod Wallace left. It’s the hope that kills you as a Leeds fan. A promising start under the dashing and exotic Thomas Christiansen, then Samu Saiz spat at someone and it all unravelled into mid-table mediocrity, and Paul Heckingbottom. The only plus point was getting to call Ezgjan Alioski the Macedonian Messi to anyone who’ll listen.

Theo, Sports Day Records: ‘Queens Park Rangers. About what was expected, I’d grade the season as a B. Lots of promising young talent coming through the youth team and some exceptional home form couldn’t overcome massive swings in overall performances. The starting XI was a week to week prospect. The defence was porous and unstable. Like a lot of mid-table sides we were unpredictable, which kept things interesting but was also infuriating at times. Dynamic central midfielder Massimo Luongo is one to watch for Australia at the World Cup next month.’

Stian, Spielbergs: ‘Liverpool! Liverpool’s season has been great, and could end up  incredible if we win the Champions League final! But even if we do not, Salah, Mane and my man Firmino have made this season a memorable one.’

Christian, Spielbergs: ‘Tottenham! I am really happy finishing third. Of course, it is good finishing above Liverpool (again), the Arse and Chelsea as well. Not too bad after playing 38 away games. I got through the 90s supporting Spurs though, so I am just happy to see my team win more games than they lose and score more than they concede. Really enjoying this football manager reality we’ve been in since Pochettino took over. Never leave, Poch!’


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