Ex-Portsmouth midfielder Chris Kamara: I’m competing with Robbie Williams, Louis Tomlinson and Rick Astley for Christmas number one

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Chris Kamara is already eyeing up his rivals for Christmas number one.

‘There’s lots of competition,’ he told The News. ‘Robbie Williams is bringing an album out, as is Louis Tomlinson, as is Rick Astley, all Christmas albums, so we know it’s going to be tough.

‘But I am only competitive from a record company point of view – from a personal point of view, que sera sera, whatever will be, will be.

‘I have done my best for them, I hope it works, if it doesn’t, then onto the next.’

Kamara has established himself as a ubiquitous performer following a much-travelled playing career which saw him total 84 appearances and 10 goals during two Pompey spells.

Now the Sky Sports stalwart has diversified into music, with a Christmas album set for release on November 15.

Chris Kamara is to challenge Robbie Williams and Louis Tomlinson for Christmas number one.  Pete Norton/Getty Images

Chris Kamara is to challenge Robbie Williams and Louis Tomlinson for Christmas number one. Pete Norton/Getty Images

The 10-track album, backed by a 22-piece big band, consists of nine covers, while an original song, titled ‘Here’s to Christmas’, is scheduled as a festive single.

It had been Kamara’s participation in the celebrity version of BBC1’s All Together Now, broadcast on Christmas Eve last year, which caught the ear of Silva Screen Records’ Adam Greenup.

And so an unlikely entrance into music was launched.

Kamara added: ‘I wanted to sing ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ on All Together Now, the reason being when you get to the chorus and the la, la, las everyone joins in – and that’s what the show is all about.

‘They wanted me to sing a ballad, though. So I agreed, as long as was from my hero, Elton John. When I was a kid, it was Gilbert O’Sullivan – and then Elton came along and took over, I loved the piano.

‘So they gave the go-ahead for ‘Your Song’, but wanted to pick the next ballad if I was one of the three to get through. The one they put forward was Calum Scott’s ‘Dancing On My Own’, a nice song but, to be honest, it’s a bit hard to sing.

‘Anyhow, I did ‘Your Song’ and was in second place with two people to go. Then Omid Djalili sang ‘Goldfinger’ and Ian Beale’s wife from EastEnders (Laurie Brett) did ‘The Best’, so I was knocked out.

‘I caught my train home to Wakefield and, unbeknown to me, Adam Greenup from Silva Screen Records was watching and later rang saying my voice would be perfect to sing with a 22-piece big band!

‘It is incredible – and we are trying to get to number one this Christmas.’

Kamara had a previous dalliance with music through fronting England’s official Euro 2012 song.

Released in June 2012, Sing 4 England, which also featured Joe Public Utd, even met with Football Association approval.

However, due to his affiliation with Sky, the BBC refused to include it on playlists of their radio stations, ensuring impact was minor.

Yet the 61-year-old has big plans for his latest foray into the industry.

He said: ‘We have provisionally booked the Royal Albert Hall in November 2020 to perform these songs, but that depends on how well the album does. We are in the public’s hands.

‘This has involved me working with a voice coach for the first time, working on breathing exercises and holding your posture. I thought staccato and legato played for Italy!

‘I have a share in a bar in Tenerife and sometimes sing when I am two sheets to the wind, don’t even do a warm up, just get out there and blast out a few tunes.

‘I think I sound all right, but it’s not until you get a voice coach and sing with a big band that you realise these people are professionals – and you have to perform to their standards.’