He’s one of the best-loved personalties in football punditry and typically found pitchside on a Saturday afternoon.
But now, as well as his keen eye for football analysis and mastery of a crunching tackle, Chris Kamara has added another string to his bow – Christmas crooning.
The former Leeds United, Middlesbrough and Bradford City midfielder, who lives in Wakefield, has recorded and released his own take on festive standards like Winter Wonderland, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
The album – Here’s to Christmas – followed a successful appearance on former BBC One singing contest All Together Now.
Kammy’s rousing televised take on Elton John’s Your Song set the course to a new part of an already varied career, singing alongside a 22-piece brass band.
“I thought it was a wind-up when my agent got in touch about making an album,” he said.
“I was more nervous then than I’ve been in a long time, these are the kind of musicians who play the Royal Albert Hall. But when we got talking they were very down to earth.
“I know it might be surprising to some, but anyone who knows me – especially those who shared a changing room with me in my playing days who first told me I could sing – will tell you what a big fan I am of big band music.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d get to record a full album, though.”
In his playing days did Kammy ever get his teammates psyched-up for a match with a song?
“No, if you sing in the dressing room you’d get murdered,” he said.
Although he did manage to show off his talents when he signed for Howard Wilkinson’s Leeds United in 1990.
He said: “It was the day after I signed, we got a flight to Dublin for a friendly game. It was first time I sung in front of Vinnie Jones, David Batty and Gary Speed, God rest his soul.
“Howard took us to restaurant and there was piano player. I said to him ‘can you play Your Song’ and I sung it.
“I got round of applause and our captain Gordon Strachan said ‘oh look there’s our shy new signing, Chris Kamara’.”
Though most of Kammy’s singing since his playing days has been restricted to the occasional number at his bar in Tenerife, he insists the album is no gimmick and was well-received by his fellow Sky Sports presenters.
He added: “Here’s to Christmas is something I’m really proud of and I think it stands up as something fun, but something that doesn’t sound half bad too.
“We were in the hotel and I played it for Jeff, Charlie and Tommo. I’m not sure they were expecting it to sound like it did.”
And a tour could be in pipeline for the album as well, depending on demand.
Here’s to Christmas is available on streaming websites or to buy at www.chriskamara.com
Over a 14-year professional playing career Chris Kamara represented Portsmouth, Brentford, Swindon Town, Stoke City, Leeds United, Luton Town, Sheffield United, Middlesbrough, and Bradford City.
He won the 1990 old First Division title with Leeds and the 1996 Football League Second Division play-off Final as Bradford City manager.
After Bradford he managed Stoke City for a brief period before moving into broadcasting, largely on Sky Sports. Though he was known as a tough tackling midfielder in his playing days, it was his warm style of presenting that has ensured his popularity.
His catchphrase ‘unbelievable, Jeff” is familiar to millions of people around the country and his live TV gaffes are the stuff that highlight reels are made of.
He also hosts ITV’s Ninja Warrior UK.
Kammy was born in Middlesbrough but now lives in Wakefield.