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
Nickname: The Seasiders
Ground: Bloomfield Road
Stadium Capacity: 16,007
When Blackpool celebrate scoring you’ll hear ‘Glad All Over’ by The Dave Clark Five. A home win will be soundtracked by ‘Rockin’ All Over the World’ by Status Quo. And, if the club has lost, fans can cheer themselves by singing its official anthem: ‘Blackpool’ by The Nolans.
The Nolan family had emigrated from Dublin to Blackpool in 1962. Parents Tommy & Maureen Nolan became a regular part of the variety show circuits that were a feature of Blackpool’s nightlife entertainment. They sang as The Singing Nolans and enlisted their family to help. Their children, Tommy Junior, Anne, Denise, Maureen, Brian, Linda, Bernadette & Coleen, would join them on stage.
In 1972, The Singing Nolans recorded a tribute to Blackpool, their favourite team.
Although the song was played over the tannoy at Bloomfield Road it would be another four years before fans warmed to it. In that time the daughters would become more famous as The Nolans, whose biggest hit was ‘I’m In The Mood For Dancing’. The Nolans would sell 25 million records worldwide – including 12 million in Japan, outselling The Beatles.
Yet the fans were still ambivalent towards ‘Blackpool’. And when you know more about Blackpool’s fans you’ll understand why.
In the 1950s and 60s the best-known supporter’s group was The Atomic Boys, famous for their wild pranks and colourful outfits.
Blackpool superfan Stan Bevers had formed The Atomic Boys in the 1940’s. Stan wanted a group that would really stand out on the terraces. He encouraged everyone to wear costumes. Using a contact at Madame Tussaud’s waxwork museum on Blackpool promenade he and fellow fans would dress up to take part in daring pranks.
Before the 1953 FA Cup final Stan, wearing a flowing tangerine cloak and a silver head dress, talked his way into 10 Downing Street to hand-deliver a seven-pound stick of Blackpool rock to Sir Winston Churchill.
The Atomic Boys even adopted a live duck as a mascot – it led the team out, and wandered up and down the touchline during matches.
The duck had been a gift from the actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr. The Atomic Boys had tried to attend the premiere of the star’s new film ‘Mr Drake’s Duck’. The tables were turned on them as the Hollywood star (or, more likely, his publicist) knew of The Atomic Boys’ reputation and, in view of the film’s title presented them with a duck.
With such colourful fans, it should not be a surprise that the family friendly, safe and, worst of all, bland Nolans had their work cut out to persuade the fans to adopt their song as an anthem
It was only after a match programme against Millwall on 11th September 1976 included a “Blackpool Supporters Song Sheet” that the fans started to warm to it. Although the song continues to divide supporters, it has found one fan: the Bloomfield Bear, who took over as mascot after The Atomic Boys’ duck retired. Today, he can often be seen dancing to it before kick-off.
Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.