Top 10 Soccer-Loving Rock Stars
Today (June 12), the World Cup, the planet’s biggest sporting event, kicked off in Brazil. Here’s some soccer-loving rock stars you can be sure will be watching all the action, as 32 teams from six continents will compete in the month-long competition for the right to lift the Jules Rimet trophy and call themselves the champions of the world’s most popular sport.
As you’ll see on our list of the Top 10 Soccer-Loving Rock Stars, many of our favorite British rockers have often professed their love for the game, and some have even incorporated it into their work:
‘Four-star caviar daydream / Think I’ll buy me a football team.’ Roger Waters was being sarcastic when he wrote those lyrics in ‘Money,’ but if he could choose any team to purchase it would be his beloved Arsenal. And if he keeps making the annual list of the world’s richest rockers, he just might be able to make that happen.
The members of Def Leppard have their loyalties split between the two clubs in their home city. Joe Elliott is a Sheffield United fan. Rick Savage, meanwhile, supports Sheffield Wednesday, even though he was briefly in United’s youth academy. Vivian Campbell has often played on the senior team of Hollywood United, a club founded by L.A.-based British celebrities. As with Iron Maiden (see No. 6 on our list of the Top 10 Soccer-Loving Classic Rockers), they’ve been known to play in charity matches whenever possible.
On the cover of his 1978 album ‘Backless,’ Clapton is wearing the scarf of West Bromwich Albion. That same year, he sponsored a match of theirs against Turkey’s Galatasaray. It has also been rumored that he has often used “W.B. Albion” as his hotel room alias.
Newcastle United count local heroes Sting and Mark Knopfler among their rocking supporters, but we’re giving the nod for biggest fan to AC/DC’s singer. In the early ’80s, he was even asked to invest in the club. “[T}hey wanted me to put half a million pound in the club,” He told Absolute Radio. “Which at the time was a fortune and for that they were going to make me an honorary board member with no decisions and no say. I realized that it was just a big, big stitch-up by these greedy men who wanted more money from some silly pop star dude who would just throw in to it because of his love for the club.”
The metal legends’ rallying cry of “Up the Irons” is a tribute to West Ham United, who are located in east London. As a teenager, Steve Harris was briefly in their youth academy, and their logo can be found on his bass. The band even sold a t-shirt designed to look like a West Ham jersey on their ‘Brave New World’ tour.
Like Roger Waters (see No. 10 on our list of the Top 10 Soccer-Loving Classic Rockers), the Rolling Stones frontman is an Arsenal fan. But it’s on the international scene where the jet-setting legend makes his mark, and hardly a major tournament goes by without cameras capturing him cheering on some national team. Unfortunately, his record at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was even less successful than ‘Jamming with Edward.’
According to Paul McCartney, the Beatles weren’t “keen on football,’ but another son of Liverpool, Elvis Costello, has proudly worn his support of the Reds on his sleeve since 1962. He penned ‘Turning the Town Red‘ in 1984 as the theme for ‘Scully,’ a British TV series about a teenage boy’s attempts to get a tryout with Liverpool. This also prompts the question: would Fernando Torres’ career trajectory been different if he had heard Costello’s ‘(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea’ before leaving Liverpool?
Robert Plant credits his lifelong support for Wolverhampton Wanderers to club legend Billy Wright waving at him at a game when he was five. The wolf on the cover of his 1988 solo album ‘Now and Zen‘ is believed to a nod to the team commonly known as “Wolves.” Percy is currently a vice president of the club and recently paid £900 for the chance to play in an exhibition match in honor of retired defender Jody Craddock.
The only Scot on our list of the Top 10 Soccer-Loving Rock Stars, Stewart is a huge fan of Glasgow’s Celtic club, and sang, “You’re Celtic, United / But baby I’ve decided / You’re the best team that I’ve ever seen” in ‘You’re in My Heart.’ So deep is his love for Celtic that he was even caught on camera crying tears of joy when Celtic beat mighty Barcelona in Nov. 2012. He still regularly kicks soccer balls into the audience at his concerts and even has a full-length field at his home in Los Angeles.
To bring this as full circle as a soccer ball, Elton John did buy London’s Watford FC in 1976, which led to an unprecedented run of success for the club. Although his busy schedule led him to resign as chairman, he still owns a portion of the team and is their Honorary Life-President.