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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 June 2006, 12:14 GMT 13:14 UK
Punks slate rival World Cup songs

By Chris Charles

Sham 69 singer Jimmy Pursey
Pursey fears none of the competition

Veteran punk rockers Sham 69 have laid into their World Cup song rivals as the gloves come off in the battle for the number one spot.

Singer Jimmy Pursey branded Embrace's official song, World At Your Feet, "embarrassing" and insisted Sham's Hurry Up England would blow the rest of the competiton out of the water.

The raucous anthem, a reworking of the band's 1978 top 10 hit Hurry Up Harry, has received the backing of music paper NME and The Guardian and is one of several England songs tipped to top the charts.

Pursey, 51, told BBC Sport: "We have called our song 'The People's Anthem' and if it goes to number one it's because the people want it to go to number one."

The single features former Blur guitarist Graham Coxon and is produced by Stephen Street, who worked on the Kaiser Chiefs' debut album.

"It's great to have them both on board," Pursey said. "They're both big Sham 69 fans and they were the final touches to the best World Cup song by far.

"I think the official effort by Embrace is embarrassing. As a football fan supporting England I'm not roused by it. The unofficial songs are always better than the official ones and this year is no exception.

"A good World Cup song has to relate to the people. We can't all afford to go to Germany and are just happy to sit in the pub with a pint of beer watching the tournament on the telly."

Hurry Up England is not released until 12 June, a week after most of its rivals - including World At Your Feet, the Tonedef Allstars' Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Jurgen Klinsmann? and yet another re-release of Three Lions.

Skinner and Baddiel
It's coming home - again

Pursey said he was not interested in the competition, adding: "Do you remember The Victory when it took on every other ship at the Battle of Trafalgar? That is the way Sham 69 feels about all the other bands doing World Cup songs.

"They've all had a broadside and I wouldn't come any closer if I were them. Ours is the greatest punk football record ever made and that's the end of it."

A number one song would top off an interesting few months for Sham 69, after another of their punk classics, The Kids Are United, was used by Tony Blair as his walk-on music at October's Labour Party Conference.

"That was shocking!" admitted Pursey, "but at least I know I've got the Prime Minister behind me as well as the country. All I need now is the army!"

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