Foot­ball and mu­sic’s dan­ger­ous mix

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - CONTENTS -

THE re­la­tion­ship be­tween foot­ball and mu­sic has been one fraught with dif­fi­cul­ties and ten­sions. Our na­tional game has in­spired a few jolly fine tunes, but also many which should have been stran­gled at the dawn of their cre­ation.

In fact, there was no real re­la­tion­ship be­tween foot­ball and mu­sic un­til 1970. Prior to that date, the only time that foot­ball and mu­sic in­ter­acted was in the wait­ing time just prior to kick-off and maybe at the half-time pe­riod.

Dur­ing those times of high ten­sion, the pro­pri­etors of clubs tried to take peo­ple’s mind off the up­com­ing ac­tion and thoughts of fight­ing ri­val fans by means of play­ing some mu­sic to them over a to­tally in­ad­e­quate PA sys­tem.

Some­times this con-

sisted of a piped ra­dio sta­tion, prob­a­bly the Light Pro­gramme (some big­ger clubs had their own “sta­tion”, e.g. Ra­dio Chelsea). Some­times some­one bought along a tape to play;- ei­ther pre-recorded or one that they’d knocked up at home us­ing one of those new fan­gled tape cas­sette recorders.

Some­times the per­son in charge of this en­ter­tain­ment de­cided to play ev­ery­one his own per­sonal taste, which for some rea­son al­ways turned out to be Coun­try and Western.

Even in later years this pen­chant for play­ing your own mu­sic per­sisted.

A while ago, I heard a phone call on one of the Danny Baker shows from an As­ton Villa fan who had gone to a home match and had had to en­dure as the pre-match en­ter­tain- ment a whole side of an al­bum by Fear­gal Sharkey.

This surely comes un­der the head­ing of mass cru­elty, and the per­pe­tra­tor should have been sub­jected to a cus­to­dial sen­tence. Some­times there was live mu­sic. Oc­ca­sion­ally, such as at the Cup Fi­nal, you might have seen a march­ing mil­i­tary style band or, if you were re­ally un­lucky, some com­mu­nity singing.Young foot­ball fans will find it im­pos­si­ble to be­lieve that, in days gone by, the FA tried to make it

com­pul- sory for peo­ple to sing hymns prior to watch­ing the Cup Fi­nal.

But, be­lieve me, this is what hap­pened. Ev­ery year some mi­nor celebrity such as Bruce Forsyth or Lulu climbed onto a ros­trum on the Wem­b­ley pitch and led the crowd in a huge sing-song, singing things like

or Song­sheets were given out to the crowd as they went in, and the whole thing was spon­sored, of­ten by news­pa­pers such as the Daily Ex­press. And then, in 1970, some bright spark had the idea of get­ting the Eng­land World Cup squad to record a sin­gle.

was the ti­tle of the song se­lected, writ­ten by top song­smiths of the day Bill Martin and Phil Coul­ter, au­thors of such hits as and

This dread­ful abom­i­na­tion went to Num­ber One in the UK sin­gles charts, sold many, many copies and pro­duced much in­come, and, for a long time af­ter­wards, foot­ball and mu­sic had a much closer re­la­tion­ship.

A good foot­ball song is a rar­ity – in my hum­ble opin­ion

by Eng­land New Or­der is by far and away the best (even al­low­ing for John Barnes’ rap) , fol­lowed I sup­pose by the

var­i­ous ver­sions of

But all of those men­tioned so far have been for the na­tional squad. It wasn’t long be­fore the top clubs re­alised that a pound or two could be made from those gullible sup­port­ers if they too recorded a song, usu­ally in as­so­ci­a­tion with an FA Cup Fi­nal ap­pear­ance.

We must, how­ever, judge th­ese songs on purely mu­si­cal con­tent and not on any par­ti­san af­fil­i­a­tions we may have.

A few were okay – by Manch­ester United in 1994 used

John Barnes: Mu­sic to our ears – not! in ’96 – with Ian Broudie, Frank Skin­ner and David Bad­diel

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