World Cup sees Warner hit high note with Gollum

The SJA’s archivist, after many hours research, suggests that this may be a first: one of the Association’s members has teamed up with Gollum from Lord of the Rings to release a record for the football World Cup.

Gollum. Or Andy Serkis. Listening to the latest World Cup song?
Gollum. Or Andy Serkis. Listening to the latest World Cup song?

Adrian Warner, who has covered five World Cup finals as a reporter, is among the chorus on a new recording, Hope and Glory, which has been released ahead of the 2014 tournament which gets underway in Brazil next week.

The former SJA Sports News Reporter of the Year is a tenor in the Crouch End Festival Chorus who sing on the track.

The song, a recreation of Eve of the War from Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds concept album, has been put together by London film producer Phil Harrow and features the renowned actor Andy Serkis.

Serkis’s roles have included playing Moors Murderer Ian Brady, the title part in a bio-pic of Ian Dury, one of the lead apes in the latest Planet of the Apes movies, and creating Gollum in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit series of films.

As can be heard from the song (clipped below), Harrow, Serkis, Warner and the chorus have neatly sidestepped the use of the original War of the World lyrics in an England World Cup context: “The chances of anything coming from Mars, are a million-to-one, they said”.

Warner is a former Reuters and Evening Standard sports news  correspondent who is shortly to be made redundant at the BBC, where he was the Olympics correspondent at BBC London. Warner took part in a recording at Abbey Road at the end of April which involved a 30-strong choir and a 48-piece orchestra.

The song was released this week and has already won praise from The Guardian. “This one is genuinely bonkers,” Michael Hann wrote. “It could be the Cameroon-in-1990 of World Cup songs – a little fancied outsider that captures the public imagination.”

According to Warner: “It did feel a bit bonkers, really, with sopranos having to learn how to sing ‘En-ger-land’ with three syllables. But it has been a wonderful distraction for me as I hunt for a new job. I do think the song could take off because it’s simple and easy for fans to pick up.”


The Crouch End Festival Chorus, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, is also going to be singing at the Royal Albert Hall in July in a special BBC Sports Prom.



Mon Sep 8: SJA Autumn Golf Day, Muswell Hill GC – non-members very welcome

Thu Dec 11: SJA British Sports Awards, sponsored by The National Lottery, at the Grand Connaught Rooms