50 Best Football Chants: 20-11 – Love, Saints and Brummies
If you haven't seen the preceding entries in our 50 Best Football Chants then make sure you check them out - there are some abosolute corkers in there.
Have we missed something? Let us know in the comments below...
20. Achy Breaky Heart
Don Von Tress’s lovelorn ditty Don’t Tell My Heart was popularised as Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus, the country-pop mullet pioneer and dad of exhibitionist wrecking ball Miley.
It’s a catchy one and no mistake, and has recently been adopted by West Ham fans (“We’ve got Payet, Dimitri Payet/ I just don’t think you understand/ He’s Super Slav’s man/ he’s better than Zidane/ we’ve got Dimitri Payet”) and then reworked by Arsenal’s enthusiasts for Mesut Ozil.
Cyrus’s video to the hit is credited with popularising line dancing, so for us, the real winner will be the first supporters to choreograph a chant routine while wearing tassled jackets and cowboy boots. (NM)
19. Blue Moon
Written by Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart in 1934, this classic ballad was a lively no.1 smash for doo-woppers The Marcels in 1961, and has also been given gentler treatments by Elvis and Rod Stewart.
Originally chanted by the red-shirted fans of Crewe Alexandra, the more apt Citizens first crooned Blue Moon at the opening game of the 1989/90 season, away to Liverpool.
The lyrics “now I’m no longer alone/ without a dream in my heart/ without a love of my own” became a fittingly melancholy lament during City’s decades of struggle; these days their moon has indeed turned gold, and it is belted out in a more celebratory fashion. (NM)
18. Walking In A Winter Wonderland
This is a song with so many unofficial fan versions – both nice and nasty – in football circles that it’s tough to pin down a definitive one. But it’s hard not to be taken with Celtic fans’ homage to Shinji Nakamura: “He eats chow mein / He votes Sinn Fein / Walking in a Nakamura wonderland”. That’s some top rhyming. (EP)
17. Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer (Cwn Rhondda)
More widely referred to as Bread of Heaven, this much-adapted favourite taken from a Welsh hymn more than a century old is most commonly used as a put down. “We can see you sneaking out!” and “Shall we sing a song for you!” are both popular versions, but the original and, fittingly for British football fans, the most ironic – it’s a chant about not chanting, after all – is “You’re not singing any more!”
It also lends itself to two other qualities typical of fans from these islands: humour and self-deprecation, with Villa fans – who else? – among those to opt for “Let’s pretend we’ve scored a goal!” (LM)
16. The Pompey Chimes
The Pompey Chimes – thousands of roaring Hampshire maniacs imploring “play up, Pompey/ Pompey, play up” – derive their simple melody from the famous clock bells of the Portsmouth Guildhall, which follow a similar dinging, and indeed donging, sequence to those of Big Ben.
In the 1890s the chimes, audible from the Royal Artillery Portsmouth club on Burnaby Road, one of the city’s first teams, were used by referees to measure the end of a match at 4pm. The crowd would sometimes join in with the clock’s melody, should the side be winning and they desire a swift conclusion. (NM)
15. Stern des Sudens
Penned by German lyricist Willy Astor, Bayern Munich’s song literally means Star of the South, and is oompahed by Bavarians at every Allianz Arena game. It sounds like the plodding soft theme to a children’s cartoon these days, but the volume that the German fans give it means that it has some real clout.
There are some odd lyrics, mind: “Where is it where there are eavesdropping attacks, where is it where there is daily spying?” runs one deeply paranoid couplet, before pondering more pleasantly: “is there anything nicer than a Bayern victory?” (NM)
14. Blaydon Races
This Newcastle United favourite was originally written by a Geordie, called Geordie. Given that the lyrics feature words such as “gannin”, “stannin”, “joon” and “gawn”, it couldn’t be more Tyneside if it tried.
But football’s a global game these days, and so the Indonesian Toon Army’s version deserve a mention. They’ve somehow managed to translate the North East dialect into their mother tongue, for a rendition that’s part Geordie, part Jakarta. Hats off to all involved. (EP)
13. Keep Right On
If you’ve not heard John Lennon’s hastily-recorded 30-second version of this Birmingham City anthem, sung in a fake Brummie accent while Yoko Ono does a bad impression of Joan Baez in the background, there’s really no need to seek it out. It was a product of one of his ‘bed-ins’ for peace, man, and it’s a bit creepy.
So it’s the polar opposite to the Birmingham fans’ longstanding rendition of this old-school hymn of courage and defiance. It’s been a St Andrew’s favourite for 60 years – way back when the Blues were decent. (EP)
12. Can't Help Falling In Love
“Wise men say only fools rush in” could be a line from the Paolo Maldini bible on defending, but instead it’s the opening line from this Elvis classic that Sunderland fans, among others, regularly do anything but croon. Sam Allardyce’s defence could do a lot worse than heed the advice. (EP)
11. Hallelujah Chorus
A Christian song written around the turn of the 20th century, ‘Oh When The Saints’ has been recorded by everybody from Louis Armstrong to Andre Rieu. And, indeed, many football teams want to be in that number, from Blades to Blues, but there is only one Saints in the beautiful game.
Unashamedly upbeat with occasional murky undertones – go ‘steaming in’ instead of ‘marching in’, anyone? – it is at its most dramatic when starting slow and building to a clappy climax, perhaps best illustrated by (sorry Saints) Spurs fans. (LM)
Writers: Emyr Price, Nick Moore and Louis Massarella