The Sound of Football: Annan Athletic (Andrew)

Every fortnight we cover the best and worst football songs from every club in the UK from our book ‘The Sound Of Football: Every Club, Every Song’. You can buy it here

Annan Athletic

Nickname: Galabankies

Ground: Galabank

Stadium Capacity: 2,514

Song: Gallows Bank

Some songs celebrate success like ‘The Best’ by Glasgow Rangers; some songs celebrate glorious failure like ‘Blue Moon’ by Manchester City, but there’s only one song that warns fans about the danger of supporting their club – and that’s ‘Gallows Bank’ by Annan Athletic.

Annan is an unusual town. It lies on the border of Scotland and England and has changed sides more frequently than a pancake. During the Roman invasion of Britain, the Romans established large camps and fortifications in Annandale as a base before venturing further north. In Jacobean times, the town of Annan was fought over by noblemen in Scotland and England as the borderline become a fluid concept enforced by the lord or baron with the strongest army. In modern times, after forming in 1942, Annan Athletic has jumped between Scottish and English football.

For most of its life, Annan Athletic has been a non-league side. It started in the Dumfries and District Youth Welfare League, a league set up by local businessmen to provide games during the second world war. In 1952 the club successfully applied to take part in the Carlisle and District League by the Cumberland Football Association. This lasted until 1976, when the club decided it had better long-term prospects if it played in Scotland rather than England.

Annan started in the South of Scotland league and won every competition. It then showed the same level of ruthlessness that saw the club leave England – it moved to play in the East of Scotland league as the standard of teams was higher. This ambition continued through the 80s and 90s, and by 2000 the club was applying to play in the Scottish football league when expansion meant two new clubs could join. It was unsuccessful, but, in 2007, after Gretna was liquidated, another space opened up, and Annan became the latest member of the Scottish football league.

Annan has yet to clinch promotion from League Two. Still, given the ambition it has shown in the last 50 years, it probably won’t be long before it wins the Scottish Premier League and then successfully apply to move back to England win the Premiership title too.

Despite its growing reputation, Annan’s official song ‘Gallows Bank’ is the dark tale of a fan waiting to be hanged just because he was wearing an Annan top.

I am an Annan Athletic Fan,

They say this day that I must hang,

For I wear the black and gold,

And the secret I have told,

I am an Annan Athletic Fan.

So when you hang me, hang me high,

That I might see before I die,

Those Annandale Hills and that famous Solway Turf

And I see again the Hogle Brae.

EXECUTIONER! EXECUTIONER! EXECUTIONER!

(Source: unknown)

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