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Sing Something Simple Part 2

By: Chris Smith
Date: 12/01/2010 (Last updated: 12/09/2010)

ONE of the favourite renditions in 1982 was the J Geils band Centrefold chorus which was nanananananaed to amidst wild pogoing in the good old terrace days. I'd love to see that come back. Any song in the charts was fair game to be adapted to a football chant.

Perhaps I do the younger generation a disservice by criticising the paucity of chants but it might be a reflection of the c*** in the charts. Now I know I'm getting old!

The "All sit down all sit down" was a good one to aim at overexcited opposition. One that the London Mariners used was "Sit dahn shat ap" as we'd all been cockneyfied at this point. It doesn't work in northern speak though as I heard a rather sad individual try and lead the away fans at WBA in 1997 with a gruff and carefully pronounced "Sit down and shut up" I'm afraid it loses something in the translation. Even the tuneless "It’s all your fault" is sung off key by a particular repeat offender.

There has been a bit of a debate in here and there about the singing of "Oh when the Town..." This actually originated after a drunken London Mariner saw a James Bond film that started off with a funeral procession in New Orleans and a very slow "Oh when the Saints!" beat being played by the jazz band. We thought it might be a goer as far as songs go and having plucked up Dutch courage after a prolonged session in an away pub, introduced it. So now you know the story and to quote another James Bond tune "Nobody does it better" so let that be the end of the debate! Of course, we had to embellish it with "Knock knock. Who’s there? Wendy. Wendy who? Oh Wendy Town..." I actually think that intro predates us as we were messing about with that one at Hereford School away games in 1979 or so.

We all know the Neil Woods’s Barmy Army/ Black and White Army number followed by GTFC! The first time I recall the club initials being placed at the end of the chant was when Aston Villa were playing at Blundell Park in 1991 in what was then the Rumbelows Cup as they chanted "Big Fat Ron’s claret and blue army AVFC!" whilst they did an impressive conga in the Osmond corner. We used this to good effect during John Cockerill’s successful caretakership in 1994 at Southend away by keeping up the adapted chant for the entire second half in a bore draw. We have a group of Austrian lads who come to some of our games and they LOVE this chant. It was the cue for a cracking singsong when we stuffed Barnet away in 2007. One of the London lads had said to me before the game that he fancied a really good singsong so I groaned and kissed goodbye to my voice for the next week. Not that I'd needed much persuading.

The thing is, even now I don't drink the firewater, the football is incidental to the day out sometimes. Big Jim has put together a "Football Boogie" CD which we sing along to on the way to away games. In a rip off of the Wolves chant to the Liquidator tune, we belt out "der der der der der der der der der **** off Scunthorpe THE TOWN! der der der der der der der der der *** off Scunthorpe THE TOWN!" I'd love to hear that played before home games but it’d only last the one game. I think they've given up trying to ban it at Molineux though, home of some of the funniest songs I've heard. When we started doing this at Morecambe in the FA Cup last year, the combined age of the four of us in the car was about 190 and one of those was lying so this singing lark does seem to be a way of reverting back to childhood. Just to underline that, we've actually parked up, turned the boom box full up and boogied around the car. We have photos and I'm hoping to get them all when I can afford to pay the ransom.

I've got a Wolves supporting friend living out in Malta at the moment and I can't get one of their chants out of my head. We have a poor relation to it in "Black and White, love to sing love to fight, oh oh." The Wolves version has about 50 verses and starts "Where the ‘ell are you from?" (repeat) Some of the verses include "buy a council house, paint it green and purple", "buy a corner shop, selling cheaper lager" I'm afraid to know all the verses as I worry I'll never sleep again. It is one of those where an attempt at copying would just be a cheap imitation.

Most annoying chant, and that is why the London Mariners sang it, was one lifted from non league Hayes-"We know a song that gets on everybody’s nerves" to the tune of "The famous Graham Taylor went to Rome to see the Pope" (and I know some very offensive versions to this). However, instead of singing "and this is what it is", the verse is just repeated over and over. This actually wound our own fans up but when we sang it non stop on the way to Luton station, it had the effect of keeping the unwashed home fans away from us. Hayes had a rowdy crew whose version of Bless Them All went to (use your imagination) ... Yeading, Uxbridge and Southall, because we are from ’Ayes and we are the best..." Now Hayes has merged with Yeading, this one is defunct although they do sing "we're Hayes we're Yeading and we will injure you" or words to that effect. Mind you, it is Chelsea territory.

I realise that I could write for ever about chants I have come across but I've had to be a bit selective. I have moved on however from the days at University when I was convinced in my honeymoon period as a Town fan that no-one could possibly sing better than we did. What I know now is that many teams’ fans have some good songs and we can adapt the odd one but also recognise the odd master. We have our part to play as well. I like watching games as a neutral to see what is going on off the pitch and I'm glad I've been exposed to many other teams in exile. Some of the songs heard at Grimsby have been nicked or started by us older ‘uns as they say in our neck of the woods and we can afford a smug smile as we hear them get another airing.

I'd be a happier man if we could get rid of the drums, as we never needed them in my younger days. I'd also like to get that bloody chant out of my head. Where was I? we're from Wolver-hamper-ton, lovely Wolver-hamper-ton...

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