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HELLO ALBERT, HELLO SPION KOP!
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HELLO ALBERT • ISSUE 27  

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Editorial
Is Rock 'n Roll The New Football?
KR's Tuesday Night Deva Jinx
View From The West Stand
Archaeology Corner
Manic Moment
Home Thoughts From Abroad
Book Review
Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire


IS ROCK ‘n ROLL THE NEW FOOTBALL?

For years now, football and music have been inextricably linked. From the old songs sung about working men going to the match in the fifties, to the calypso songs so popular in the sixties (see any number of ‘Bend It!’ compilation CD’s). Tacky club songs in the 70’s and 80’s sung by players usually prior to Cup Finals, through to the attempts of comedians and pop groups today.

Clubs and bands then started associating themselves with clubs in the late seventies/early eighties. Chas and Dave wrote a ditty for Spurs in 1981, which was so bad they should have been locked up for crimes against humanity. Nowadays more fashionable bands are also becoming associated, which is a sign that football has become more ’socially acceptable’ than ever. Sporty Spice never has a Liverpool shirt off, and Super Furry Animals sponsor Cardiff City. Fatboy Slim sponsors the shirts of Brighton, which now have the legend ’Skint’ on them (Mr Fatboy’s record label!). Local boys Mansun helped City last season when they were asked, and have promised to continue to help in the future. In the early 90’s, Wet Wet Wet were the main shirt sponsors of Clydebank FC. Heady days for both band and club, who are both experiencing less successful times at the moment. Even the non-league sides get involved. Obscure rockers Mega City Four sponsored Farnborough Town of the Jewson League a few years back, and The Charlatans name drop Northwich Victoria at regular intervals.

BLUE IS THE COLOUR

The supporters play an integral role in all of this. In the halcyon days of the seventies and eighties, when clubs made Cup Final records (yes, records – black things made of vinyl, usually 7” in diameter), they would usually bastardise a supporters chant. Chelsea did ’Blue is the Colour’, Man Utd did ’Glory. Glory, Man United’ etc. These songs were often novelty efforts, and were basically the musical equivalent of the Chester and District Section D Sunday League runners up. Things improved slightly in 1990, the FA asked Manchester based independent group New Order to pen a song for the England 1990 World Cup team. Excepting John Barnes’ excruciating rap, this is no bad song. But by god it spawned some utter trash. For the first time (with one or two exceptions) every team that got anywhere near a Wembley tea towel were asking the local friendly chart act to pen a tune. Who remembers the god-awful Man United/Status Quo effort? And Chris Rea’s Middlesbrough ’anthem’? Crikey….

THREE LIONS

The monster and Daddy of them all though, is the perennial England Euro 96 song ’Three Lions’. The whole idea to me is bizarre. One of pop music’s brighter groups, the Lightning Seeds, and a couple of stand up comics who support Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion combine and make a catchy record. Ok, the song is a little contrived, but it is a catchy enough number, and you can make some great chants out of the chorus (Who remembers the North Terrace singing ’She’s going down, she’s going down, she’s going…Dierdre’s going down!’ at the depth of the Coronation Street characters problems? – a classic). But after hearing it ten million times during Euro 96/France 98, the novelty does start to wear a little thin. I am not even going to starton Chumbawamba…

YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE

The twisted vines that are football and music are not all bad though. Some of the songs that fans adopt are very good. Hearing Liverpool or Celtic fans at their best doing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ sends a shiver down my spine, an especially poignant song following the Hillsborough disaster. The supporters of Stoke never fail to impress with Delilah, and the funniest one goes to the Wolves fans chant to the instrumental ’Liquidator’. Being a family publication I cannot repeat it here, but keep your ears peeled if you ever make Molyneux!

Some singers are true football supporters, not just bandwagon jumpers. Has anybody out there has ever heard of Half Man Half Biscuit? No? Well, they are a small indie band who had a hit in the mid-eighties with the ’Trumpton Riots’ single. When they were invited to do the Old Grey Whistle Test (at the time a very big weekly music programme on the BBC), they refused. Their reason? They didn’t want to miss a Tranmere Rovers home game! Being at a time when Tranmere were crap, and had lower gates than us, this was a grand gesture indeed. The Biscuits love of the game also percolates into their music. Songs such as ’All I want for Christmas is a Dukla Prague away kit’, which is about playing Subbuteo at a mates house as a kid, and ’I was a teenage armchair Honved fan’ made it onto early LP’s. Anybody who namechecks the Watney Cup and Borussia Monchengladbach in songs are fine by this writer.

Another big football fan is poet/musician Billy Bragg. Bragg wrote a song called ’Gods Footballer’, which was all about Wolves inside forward Peter Knowles. Knowles quit playing first division football in the sixties, to spread the word of God around the ’Black Country backstreets’. The player believed that the plaudits and praise he received for scoring goals was ’but the worship of false idols’. He walked out of the game, never to be heard of again.

Bragg also uses football ’speak’ in his lyrics. He uses them when talking about love – ’you’ve been up all night moving the goalposts’; sex – ’how can you lie there and think of England, when you don’t even know who is in the team?’; and success – ’I never made the first team, I just made the first team laugh’. In writing these lyrics, he is proving that football need not always be treated as a novelty or a joke, he is proving that it plays a big part in people’s lives. Whether people like it or not, football is interwoven into the fabric of our society.

Me? I blame Chumbawamba myself…

Mark Howell


ISSUE 27 Editorial
Is Rock 'n Roll The New Football?
KR's Tuesday Night Deva Jinx
View From The West Stand
Archaeology Corner
Manic Moment
Home Thoughts From Abroad
Book Review
Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire
 
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