It can only be a week or so before we hear what song is going to be the “official” anthem for Euro2012. In the past we have had the likes of Anastacia, Nelly Furtado and of course our own Baddiel & Skinner but this year will we get a joint Polish and Ukraine version. Certainly there hasn’t been any Euro 2012 betting to cover this aspect yet.
One of the most amusing match day incidents I see these days at Lewes FC is the battle between our groundsman and one of the directors in what pre-match music is played over the speakers. It has now got to a point where dirty tricks are the order of the day. Two weeks ago when we hosted East Thurrock United I took my place in the office and awaited the fun to start. First up at 2pm came Ed, the man with the Lewes financial plan. From his inner pocket came a copy of The Queen is Dead, the Smiths Gold-selling 1986 album. He smugly popped open the CD tray and loaded up a thick slice of Morrissey and Marr. Volume cranked up to 9.
Little did he know that Roger, the groundsman, had been hiding in the changing room next door. Ed leaves, Roger enters and out comes the Smiths and in goes The Prodigy, smacking their bitch up all the way to 10. And so the tribal dance went on for the next forty five minutes. Frankly, Mr Shankly, then Breathe. Bigmouth strikes again then Serial Thriller. I attempt to mediate by suggesting a nice bit of Kenny G or Vangelis but it is too late even for Kofi Annan to get involved.
A truce is eventually called when the discussion turns to run out music for the teams. Or, in Lewes’s case walking down the steps music, Sussex by the Sea seems to be the preferred choice but two problems. First, Lewes is not by the sea and two, no-one has a copy of the song. So we make do with a Pjanoo by Eric Prydz. Fortunately we are not a traditional club. We do not play “We Will Rock You” when we score a goal, or even have a copy of “The Best”. But music at football is still an emotive subject.
Fifteen years ago I visited the Stadium of Light for the first time, just a few games into its birth. It was the first time I had experienced a club building up the atmosphere before the game with loud music. Republica’s “Ready to Go” was followed by Prokofiev’s Dance of the Night from his Romeo & Juliet concerto. Simply spine tingling.
But some clubs are still stuck in the 1980’s. Tina Turner must be set for life in hairspray thanks to the royalties she earns from English football for her “anthem” The Best. I still find it ironic to hear a club who are bottom of Ryman League South playing that as the teams run out. The Best? At what?
Other clubs have changed the words to classics…Wolverhampton Wanderers interpretation of Hi Lo Silver Lining always goes down a treat at Molynuex whilst overseas the use of the club anthem such as Barca’s, AS Roma’s and Legia Warsaw’s provide the crescendo for the fans colourful displays and often it is only when these have finished do you realise the players are actually on the pitch.
Some clubs still feel that playing music when a team scores adds to the whole match day experience. Leicester City used to play Fire by Kasabian, Rotherham for some bizarre reason played Chelsea Dagger and Leyton Orient apparently “speak no Americano”. Awful, just awful.
Football fans on the whole hate this American crap. However, music during the game has become an ingrained part of Cricket and Rugby Union for years. Often, because a trying for instance may not be clear, the music is the sign that there has been a score. Cricket has adopted it well, with each player in the Twenty20 version of the game having their own walk on music.
But it is really important? How many Chelsea fans today know who Harry J and his All Stars are, let alone the name of the song the club have adopted. Fortunately, this is something that Abramovich hasn’t been able to mess up since getting involved with the club.
Every club should have an anthem, a piece of music that is associated with their team. Bubbles, Blue Moon, Annie’s Song, Local Hero, You’ll Never Walk Alone, Z-Cars. All classics and instantly recognisable as to which club they belong to. So my campaign for proper songs for every club starts here. Supporters of teams who still use Tina Turner, The Piranhas, Pig Bag or Blur rise up and seize control of the CD-Deck. And whatever you do, keep it locked during the game.