Columnist Jimmy Cricket writes about football chants
The other morning I was eating my breakfast and it was going, snap crackle and pop, which surprised me. It was a kipper.
Then for some reason football songs came into my head. You know the ones fans sing to cheer on their favourite team. I don’t mean the things they chant like, ‘What a load of rubbish’, or, “There’s only one ‘insert coach or manager’s name here.’
No I mean the songs they adopt from other sources. Take the jazz classic, When the Saints Go Marching In, Manchester United fans have changed it to, When The Reds Go Marching In. West Ham fans have hijacked an old Music Hall song called, I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, and wait till to you hear this:
My son, who is a catholic Priest, (he calls me dad and I call him father), was given a treat a few weeks ago when one of the parishioners in Salford invited him to Liverpool’s ground Anfield, to watch them take on Leicester City.
He said when the home crowd broke into, You’ll Never Walk Alone, the emotion was palpable. When my other son Dale, took his family to Portugual recently they went to see Sporting Lisbon play and the home fans were singing My Way.
All this is leading up to a secret I want to share with you: Many moons ago when I first arrived in my adopted town Rochdale, the local football were languishing at the bottom of their division and I, like a lot of club comics at the time did jokes chronicling their ineptitude. Things like, I rang Rochdale
Football Club and asked them what time was the kick off this coming Saturday. The voice at the other end said, ‘What time can you make it?’, and there’s more. The steward saw two guys climbing the wall at Rochdale Football Club. He shouted, ‘Hey, you two get back in and watch the match!’
Then I had a change of heart and thought why don’t I do something more constructive and write a song to inspire them. So I did and the chorus went like this..
Rochdale won’t fail
They give it their all
So give them a cheer when they get on the ball
Rochdale won’t fail
They’ll win it you bet
So get ready to cheer when the ball hits the net
I showed their commercial manager Les Duckworth the words and made a faint attempt to sing the melody. Les’s enthusiasm was unbounded: ‘We’ll get the players to record it and we’ll sell it in our shop.’ I had assumed we’d get a professional singer but before I could voice my misgivings Les was already on the phone and setting up a date with a recording studio.
The day duly arrived to record the song, and it is just as painful remembering now as it was when it happened all those years ago.
Looking back we should have hired a coach to take the players to the studio. Instead we let them take their own cars. A giant mistake. The ones that didn’t stop off at the pub, did so at the betting shop, and the ones that didn’t smoke or gamble just went home.
The half a dozen footballers that did make it to the studio were vocally challenged to say the least. Put it this way. If Vincent Van Gough had of heard them singing, he probably would have cut off his other ear. After that experience, the first time I heard a frog croak, it was music to my ears.
Mercifully by a unanimous decision, my song for Rochdale FC was consigned to the scrap heap.