How to show support for Japan Ã¢ÂÂ with John Denver and Twisted Sister
The ongoing Japanese disaster is a matter much bigger than football, but three fans have set up a very interesting tribute aimed at British fans, clubs Ã¢ÂÂ and fans of esoteric music.
There are four J-League teams based in the tsunami-hit area: Vegalta Sendai, Montedio Yamagata, Mito HollyHock and Kashima Antlers. As you'll soon see, fans of the first-named team have taken to singing a couple of (to British sensibilities) unusual terrace anthems.
Before the earthquake and tsunami, the Sendai Stadium would regularly rock to the sound of the Vegalta fans singing their two favourite songs. Watch the videos to see Ã¢ÂÂ and hear. Firstly, they would sing the club theme tune Ã¢ÂÂ which is, for reasons unfathomable, John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads:
The other fan favourite is Twisted Sister's We're Not Gonna Take It Ã¢ÂÂ here they are belting it out at an away game:
Now, you may ask why Vegalta's club anthem is a 1971 hit by a toothsome US folky guitar-botherer, or why the fans love to sing a slice of mid-80s moralist-irking poodle-rock. You might ask the same of Stoke supporters singing a 1968 Tom Jones hit about murder (Delilah), Bristol Rovers fans and their suicidal 1932 Leadbelly waltz (Goodnight Irene) or Liverpool and Celtic fans adopting a 1945 showtune about the death of a carousel worker turned botched bank robber (You'll Never Walk Alone).
The point is that fans sing songs, the songs represent the club, and in this case, the club is in trouble. According to reports from Japan, Vegalta's stadium in disaster-wracked Sendai has been virtually destroyed and their overseas players and foreign manager have been advised to return home to their respective countries.
Meanwhile, we don't know what has become of the fans in the videos above. We don't know how many of them have homes to go back to, whether down country roads or otherwise. We don't know how many are still alive. And that's the human face of a tragedy we have all watched unfold from afar on 24-hour rolling TV news. They were football fans, like you and me.
That has prompted three J-League fans to contact every British team playing at home this weekend, asking them to play one or other of the songs before the game or at half-time, simply to show solidarity with football fans who may have lost much more than a game.
So if your team is playing at home this weekend, why not get in touch with the club and ask? It can't hurt. Spread the word on your favourite forum. Get others asking the club, too. It's not a charity bucket, it won't change the world, but it's a show of support. That is, after all, what we fans do.