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English vetoed FA Famous World Cup song name because of drug reference

Anish Vij

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English vetoed FA Famous World Cup song name because of drug reference

One of the greatest World Cup songs of all time was almost vetoed due to a drug reference.

From Ricky Martin's 'La Copa De La Vida' for France '98 to K’Naan's 'Wavin Flag' for the 2010 South Africa event - there's been some unbelievable World Cup bangers over the years.

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Yet when it comes to the England national team, one tune certainly sticks out above the rest.

'World in Motion...' by British group New Order was famously produced for the England national football team's 1990 FIFA World Cup campaign.

The band itself were formed way back in 1980 by vocalist and guitarist Bernard Sumner, bassist Peter Hook and drummer Stephen Morris - Gillian Gilbert later joined on keyboards.

The originating members came from the Salford-based new wave band Joy Division, but regrouped and rebranded following the tragic suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis.

New Order were formed in 1980 following the death of Joy Division's Ian Curtis. Credit: Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo
New Order were formed in 1980 following the death of Joy Division's Ian Curtis. Credit: Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo

New Order took a completely different direction to the one Joy Division was going in and the band soon moved onto electronic and dance beats - soon cementing New Order as one of the most recognised groups in the world.

And because of this, David Bloomfield, who was press officer for the Football Association (FA) at the time, thought the band would be perfect for the England team's World Cup campaign.

Unfortunately, the 'PG' World Cup tune meant that the band would have to move away from the dark lyrics that came from their Joy Division days, and that's why they oped to employ comedian Keith Allen to help them out.

However, the comedian ended up pitching the idea for the song to be called 'E for England'.

Sadly, the FA weren't having any of that and decided to veto the title because it sounded like a reference to the drug ecstasy.

In 2010, Drummer Steve Morris told the Independent: “If it all went pear-shaped, at least we could say it was a joke.”

The song was originally pitched as 'E for England', but the FA weren't fans of the title at all. Credit: YouTube/neworder
The song was originally pitched as 'E for England', but the FA weren't fans of the title at all. Credit: YouTube/neworder

Liverpool’s John Barnes, who famously rapped on the song, told NME at the time: “If I thought it was going to be the same as the usual crap, why bother? But this is alright.”

He added: “It wasn't a typical 'here we go', arms-around-each-other football song. It was a proper group and that is why the song was good.”

Commenting on the music video in 2022, one fan said: "Not an England fan but this song converts me into one instantly. It's a song that brings back so many great memories of school and how we all loved this World Cup. The nostalgia sits deep."

Another fan commented: "Brings back some great memories. The hot, sweltering summer of 1990, Italia 90, the skills of Gascoigne, Lineker, Platt et al, and England's narrow/unlucky defeat in The World Cup semis.

"Also some great music, including this particular number, which spent two weeks at no. 1 in the charts. If only I had access to a time machine, I'd go back to the summer of 1990 right now!"

Someone else thought: "New Order was the first live band I ever saw. Birmingham Power House seems like a lifetime ago. This song has stood the test of time, it's still a cracking tune."

Featured Image Credit: New Order/YouTube

Topics: Sport, Music, World Cup

Anish Vij
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