The Football Association is launching a Battle of the Bands themed push to find an official FA Cup Anthem for the first time in its history. A shortlist of six of some of the biggest music acts in the UK will perform live ahead of each round, up to the Semi-Finals. The decision on the soundtrack to the world's oldest domestic football competition, will be in the hands of the British public, who can vote on the winning anthem ahead of The FA Cup Final. And the search starts today at Upton Park, when Lethal Bizzle performs live ahead of the Third Round tie between West Ham and Man United.
Among the contenders hoping to record the first official FA Cup Anthem are MOBO-award-winning rapper Lethal Bizzle - cousin and business partner of Arsenal footballer Emmanuel Frimpong, VMA-nominated grime artist Devlin and Leeds rockers The Pigeon Detectives. The initiative is also part of a series of planned events to mark The FA's 150th anniversary, showcasing the organisation's commitment to supporting football since 1863.
– UK rapper and football fan Lethal Bizzle
I've watched The FA Cup since I was a boy and always dreamed of playing in it. It's a special competition and I'm made up to be a part of it, and hopefully I can become part of its history by producing the official FA Cup Anthem. To have my music open The FA Cup Final really would be a dream come true.
Running from the third round of this season's competition, the initiative will see six shortlisted acts perform live at selected football grounds across the country, with fans voting for the official Anthem after the Semi-Finals. The search for the official FA Cup Anthem kicks off at Upton Park on Saturday 5 January, when Lethal Bizzle performs his track with Vato Gonzalez & Donae'o - 'Not a Saint' - live ahead of the tie of the round between West Ham United and Manchester United.
– Arsenal fan and rapper Lethal Bizzle
I have loads of FA Cup memories. We had loads of glory days in the 1990s under George Graham . I think my most memorable one was "The Invincibles". That year and the year after, they were just dominating. The [Patrick] Vieira’s, the [Thierry] Henry’s, [Robert] Pirès. It was just one of the best teams ever. I kind of hope we can get those days back pretty soon.
Further music acts and performances will be announced ahead of each additional round as far as the Semi-Finals, with the winning track chosen before the Final. In an interview about the anthem, Lethal was asked about the infamous Ryan Giggs goal that knocked Arsenal out of the FA Cup in 1999. He said: “I wouldn't say the rivalry between Arsenal and Manchester United was and evil, it’s a cool, but that did really hurt.
The winning composition will then greet players as they step on to the Wembley turf for the Final of The FA Cup with Budweiser on 11 May 2013. Fans will be given the chance to vote for their favourite on The FA Cup website in the lead up to the Final. Lethal Bizzle and Donae'o will perform live at Upton Park on Saturday 5 January, with further acts and live performances to be announced prior to each round as far as the Semi-Finals. Voting will be open for three weeks ahead of The FA Cup Final, from 15 April to 5 May 2013, with the winner announced on 6 May, 2013.