Category Archives: The Sound of Football

The Sound of Football: Burton Albion (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

Burton Albion

Nickname: The Brewers

Ground: Pirelli Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 6,912

Song: Tom Hark

The town of Burton has a history of football clubs that have struggled on and off the pitch.

Burton Swifts were formed in 1871. It was a founder member of The Combination League before switching to the Alliance League. These may sound like rebel groups from Star Wars, yet they were real football league names. The Swifts didn’t last long – it folded when it amalgamated with Burton Wanderers, who are notable only for looking like a misspelt version of Bolton Wanderers. The newly amalgamated club was Burton United, which was ironic, as they weren’t united, and separated in 1910 after just nine years together.

The town had no football team for 11 years. In 1921 a new club called Burton All-Saints was formed but, only for three years, when it changed to Burton Town. It managed to keep playing until the Second World War but went on an indefinite break. After the leagues resumed, the team did not. Finally, in 1950, Burton Albion was formed. The hardest task for the new club wasn’t getting entry to a league but finding a name that hadn’t already been used.

Equally, the club has struggled to find a song. For the 2013/14 season, the club asked fans to choose new goal celebration music. Among the suggestions were Bohemian Like You, High Ho Silver Lining, We Will Rock You, Chelsea Dagger, Locked Up, Chase the Sun, Just Can’t Get Enough, Born to be Wild and Free, Woo Hoo, Mr Brightside, The Boys are Back in Town and Hot Chocolate’s Everyone’s a Winner. Sadly, everyone wasn’t a winner. Only one song was chosen, and that was Tom Hark by The Piranhas, a song used by many clubs, including Arbroath and Burnley.

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The Sound of Football: Burnley (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

Burnley

Nickname: The Clarets

Ground: Turf Moor

Stadium Capacity: 21,940

Song: Tom Hark

Being a Burnley fan is special because the best-supported side in England isn’t Manchester United, Liverpool or Chelsea; it’s Burnley. Burnley holds the record for the highest attendance ratio of people attending a match mapped against the town population. This is either a remarkable show of dedication or a clear lack of adequate public transport at the weekend.

Burnley was one of the 12 founder members of the Football League and is one of only three English league clubs to have been champions of all four professional league divisions, along with Wolves and Preston. More infamously, Burnley’s the reason why clubs who finish bottom of the league are relegated automatically.

In 1897 clubs took part in playoff games to decide who was promoted from the second to the first division. By the time it got to the last match of the series, both Burnley and Stoke City needed a draw to ensure they would both be promoted.

Perhaps not surprisingly, both clubs were due to play each other in the last game of the season. You will also not be surprised to hear that the match ended 0 – 0 and became known as ‘The Match Without A Shot At Goal’. Both teams were promoted, and the Football League immediately withdrew the Test Match series in favour of automatic promotion and relegation.

While the Royal Family usually keeps their sporting affiliations to themselves (however, see Arsenal and Aston Villa for the Royals suspected affiliations); one family member has admitted publicly that he’s a Burnley fan. Prince Charles declared his love of the town and club at a ceremony for the British Asian Trust:

A consortium of my charities, including the British Asian Trust, has been working in Burnley. Hence, some of you asked this evening whether I support a British football club and I said ‘yes – Burnley’. And people have responded ‘Burnley? Oh yes, because Burnley has been through some very challenging times and I’m trying to find ways of helping to regenerate and raise aspirations and self-esteem in that part of the world.”

It’s only fitting that Prince Charles supports Burnley: every time Burnley scores, you’ll hear ‘Tom Hark’ by Elias and His Zig Zag Jive Flutes. The song was partly based on a 1927 melody which sang about dancing with a girl who had danced with the Prince of Wales. And the current Prince of Wales is… Prince Charles.

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The Sound of Football: Bristol Rovers (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

Bristol Rovers

Nickname: The Pirates

Ground: Memorial Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 11,626

Song: Goodnight Irene

Rod Hull was a children’s TV presenter during the 1970s and 80s. He was famous for his puppet Emu, which he used to ‘attack’, in a light-hearted way, children and celebrities. Rod was a popular presenter, and many were upset that he had been killed in 1999 by… Manchester United.

Rod was watching United play Inter Milan in the Champions League when he decided to improve his TV’s reception by climbing onto the roof of his house to adjust his aerial. Tragically, he slipped and fell from the roof and through a greenhouse.

If only Rod had watched Bristol Rovers instead of Manchester United. Bristol was Rod’s favourite team, and there’s little chance of seeing them play in Europe. The only major cup competition the club has won was the 1972 Watney Cup. A competition held before the start of the season was contested by the teams that had scored the most goals in each of the four divisions.

The closest the team ever came to playing in a European competition was the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1992/93. While the club played in the group stages in England, when it came to playing the games in Italy, Rovers lost out to West Ham United. After both finished, a coin toss was held over the phone with the same points and goal difference. West Ham won the toss and played abroad in Rovers place.

In 1974 Rod Hull and Emu recorded ‘Bristol Rovers All The Way’ and the B-side ‘I’d Do Anything’ with the Bristol Rovers squad. Normally, the football players are tone-deaf in a song, but this one has some of the most off-key singing since Cheryl Cole tried to sing live. It’s not played today.

The club’s official nickname is ‘The Pirates’, reflecting the maritime history of Bristol. The local nickname of the club is ‘The Gas’, from the gasworks next to its former home, Eastville Stadium.

The Gas started as a derogatory term used by Bristol City fans against their rivals but was affectionately adopted by the team. In 2001, the club honoured the fan’s support by awarding them number 12 in the squad to recognise them officially as the club’s 12th man.

The club’s official song is ‘Goodnight Irene’, an American folk song from the 1930s. The lyrics tell of the singer’s troubled past with his love, Irene. Several verses make explicit references to suicidal fantasies, making it appropriate as a football song as losing games can make fans suicidal.

It was first sung at a fireworks display at the Eastville Stadium the night before a home game against Plymouth Argyle in 1950. During the game the following day, Rovers were winning quite comfortably. The few Argyle supporters present began to leave early, prompting a chorus of ‘Goodnight Argyle’ from the Rovers supporters – the tune stuck and ‘Goodnight Irene’ became the club song.

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The Sound of Football: Bristol City (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

Bristol City

Nickname: The Robins

Ground: Ashton Gate

Stadium Capacity: 21,804

Song: One For The Bristol City

Most teams have just one song. Bristol City has two: one that celebrates the club and one that celebrates the fan’s favourite drink – cider.

Bristol City is one of two football league clubs in Bristol; the other is Bristol Rovers. Although the clubs are rivals, they have rarely played each other as they’ve seldom played in the same division. The last time they played each other in the league was in 2001 – and the less said about the last time they met in a cup, the better. That was in 2013 in the first round of the Johnston’s Paint Trophy. The match was overshadowed by a pitch invasion that left 50 arrested, many police officers injured, and a result that no one remembers as every supporter has, your honour, a cast-iron alibi that they were somewhere else that day…

Bristol’s the sixth biggest city in England, but the two sides have always underachieved. During seven years from 2006, there wasn’t a single weekend in which both football teams and the city’s only other team (a rugby side) all won a game. It should not be a surprise that when City do win a match, they like to celebrate with a drink and a drinking song – ‘Drink Up Thee Zyder’ by the Wurzels.

The Wurzels were originally known as Adge Cutler and The Wurzels until Adge was killed in a car crash. The other band members recorded under their shortened name and had several hits. Their songs have a unique style because they’re all sung in an exaggerated West Country accent, even though one of the Wurzels was Scottish.

The club plays in red shirts, giving them their original nickname ‘The Garabaldians’, on account of the red shirts worn by the followers of the Italian revolutionary Garibaldi. This makes them the second club linked to Italian revolutionaries after Nottingham Forrest.

With a red shirt on the player’s chests, Bristol City is now known as The Robins, and you can hear ‘When the Red, Red Robin (Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along)’ at Ashton Gate.

The club’s second song is ‘One For The Bristol City’ (described on the single sleeve as ‘the official Bristol City FC song’).

‘One For The Bristol City’ was also recorded by The Wurzels and was released in 1977, the year after Bristol City had been promoted to the first division. The song is based on the Wurzel’s 1976 single ‘Morning Glory’.

The song was re-recorded by the Wurzels and re-issued to celebrate The Robins’ promotion from the First Division to the Championship in 2007. It charted at number 66. Although it didn’t crack the Top 40, it was a huge achievement for the band as it was the first time they had two songs in the charts in the same year since 1976. Earlier in the year, they also charted with ‘I Am A Cider Drinker’, which they had re-recorded with DJ Tony Blackburn to raise money for charity.

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The Sound of Football: Brighton (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

Brighton & Hove Albion

Nickname: The Seagulls

Ground: American Express Community Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 27,500

Song: Where Seagulls Fly

In 1983, Brighton met Manchester United in the final of the FA Cup. Both United and Brighton played in the First Division. However, while United finished third, Brighton had already been relegated when the teams met in the final.

With only a couple of minutes left to play, the score was 2 – 2. Brighton attacked. Its Scottish striker, Gordon Smith, found himself one on one with United’s keeper. Gordon took a touch to steady himself – and it seemed inevitable that he’d smash it home – but he scuffed his shot, and the keeper saved it.

Before Smith shot, the BBC commentator Peter Jones said the now immortal line: “…and Smith must score!”.

Which was unfair. It was late in the game, Gordon Smith was tired, and it wasn’t the easiest opportunity. Yet it proved to be Brighton’s final chance, and the game finished 2 – 2. The match was replayed, and United won 4 – 0.

The FA Cup final inspired local Brighton songwriter Johnny Wakelin to write ‘Where Seagulls Fly’.

Brighton got its nickname ‘The Seagulls’ after a match against its rivals Crystal Palace. The Crystal Palace supporters started chanting, ‘Eagles, Eagles’ (Crystal Palace’s nickname). A group of Brighton & Hove Albion fans responded with a chant of ‘Seagulls, Seagulls’. The name stuck, and, in 1977, the club crest was changed to a white seagull.

‘Where Seagulls Fly’ was not Wakelin’s first sporting song. He’d had a minor hit in the ’70s with a homage to boxer Muhammad Ali. His song ‘Black Superman (Muhammad Ali)’ reached number seven in the UK Singles Chart and spent six months in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Muhammed Ali, however, disapproved of the song and shunned it completely.

The B-Side to ‘Where Eagles Fly’ has an unusual honour: it was, we believe, the first football rap, five years before Liverpool, John Barnes and ‘The Anfield Rap’. It was ‘The Goldstone Rap’, and we recommend checking it out on YouTube. While it can’t in any way be called a good song, it can at least be described as a non-racist song, unlike the Anfield Rap.

If you go on a bus tour of Liverpool, you will visit the city’s modernist Catholic Cathedral. A tee-pee-shaped building also makes an excellent impression of Dumbledore’s hat. And if you listen to the recorded bus tour, just after you are informed that the four bells on the Cathedral are named John, Paul, George and Ringo, the tour guide will tell you that the Cathedral is known locally as ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’. But if you think that reference is racist, you can rest assured, it is not. If it were racist, would Liverpool FC use it in the lyrics of the Anfield Rap when they sing?

Don’t forget us Paddies

And me the Great Dane

And I’m from London mate so watch your game

(Source: Gainford, Johnston, Derek B and Byker)

But that’s not their only crime against race. Quite clearly, the songwriter had never met an Irishman. As the squad later sing:

We’re Ireland lads

Och-aye the noo

(Source: Gainford, Johnston, Derek B and Byker)

Och-aye the noo?! The only ‘Irishman’ to ever say “och-aye the noo” was former James Bond and Edinburgh born milkman Sean ‘I don’t do accents’ Connery in mawkish leprechaun fantasy Darby O’Gill & The Little People. Awful – except for John Barnes.

But if lyrics in football songs can be challenging, Brighton has a supporter who can help them. If Brighton ever reach the FA Cup final again, it could ask local supporter and superstar DJ Norman’ Fatboy Slim’ Cook to record a new song. Although Norman Cook has said he hates football records, he does mix football and music. In October 2004, the FA permitted him to change Brighton’s stadium’s name to Palookaville Stadium for one match only to publicise the release of his album Palookaville. 

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The Sound of Football: Brentford (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

Brentford

Nickname: The Bees

Ground: Griffin Park

Stadium Capacity: 12,763

Song: Hey Jude

Did Rod Stewart play for Brentford? We know that his first love was football, closely followed by blondes and platform shoes. On his hit song, ‘You’re In My Heart (The Final Acclaim),’ he compared one of his conquests with the best team he’d ever seen. Better even than Manchester United or his beloved Celtic. Was Rod talking about Brentford?

For years, the press would write that Rod had played for The Bees as a young man. But, in 1995, he finally confessed he’d never played at Griffin Park. He’d only had a trial as a schoolboy. We think we can now assume that Brentford was not the best team he’d ever seen.

One man believes Brentford was the best team he’s ever seen, and that’s ex-player Lloyd Owusu.

Owusu joined Brentford from non-league Slough in 1998 and immediately made an impact, helping the team to promotion. He finished top scorer with an impressive 22 goals. Over the next few years, he continued to feature prominently and became a fan’s favourite due to his ‘raise the roof` goal celebrations

Although Owusu left the club briefly, he returned in 2005 for a second spell. The fans welcomed his return, and one in particular – Status Quo bassist John ‘Rhino` Edwards – even created a tribute song, ‘Owusu The One And Only, in his honour.

Brentford’s club song is ‘Hey Jude’ by the Beatles, played at every home game. For the chorus, the fans sing:

Laaa Laaa Laaa La-la-la Laaa

La-la-la Laaa Brentford

Laaa Laaa Laaa La-la-la Laaa

La-la-la Laaa Brentford

(Source: fan chant)

There are two theories why the fans sing Hey Jude. The first is that a woman named Jude in the 1960s dumped a Brentford player, and the club played the song to remind him of her. The second theory is more straightforward – and more plausible – it was simply started by supporters who spotted that the chants of “Hey Jude” could be easily swapped with “Brent-ford“.

‘Hey Jude’ is one of The Beatles’ greatest songs, but drummer Ringo Starr almost didn’t play on it. The band was ready to record the track, but Ringo went to the toilet before they started. The rest of the band didn’t notice he had gone. He heard Paul McCartney singing and ran back in time to hit his drums right on cue.

John Lennon may have once said that Ringo wasn’t “even the best drummer in The Beatles“, but Ringo knew, like all great drummers, that timing is everything.

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The Sound of Football: Brechin (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

Brechin City

Nickname: The City

Ground: Glebe Park

Stadium Capacity: 3,960 (Seated 1,519)

Song: Two Can Play That Game

Brechin’s unofficial song is the Tractor Song:

I can’t read,

And I can’t write,

But that doesn’t really matter…

Cause I’m a Brechin City fan,

And I can drive a tractor!

(Source: terrace chant)

This celebration of a singular talent is appropriate for Brechin and one player, in particular, Bobby Brown (not the R & B singer).

Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs was a spring chicken fresh from the youth team compared to Brechin’s Brown. While Giggs rewrote record books at Manchester United by playing for over 20 years, there are unsung heroes at other clubs who play on year after year to show that footballing life doesn’t stop at 35, 40 or even… 50 years old.

Between 1983 and 1998, Brown played 444 games for Brechin. What’s remarkable is that he should have played many more. He made his debut for Brechin’s first team three years after joining the club. Even then, he only played one game before he was sent back to the reserves. However, he became an almost permanent fixture on the team sheet once he forced his way back into the first team. We say ‘almost’ because, for a brief time, he was involved in a very peculiar ban when the Scottish Football League wouldn’t let him play. After all, Brechin already had a Bobby Brown playing for them.

In the early 90s, Brechin signed a second Bobby Brown (still not the R&B singer), and the Scottish Football League wouldn’t let both Browns play at the same time because they shared the same name. Brechin had to appeal to FIFA, who ruled there was nothing to stop two players with the same name playing. Or as Bobby Brown (the R&B singer) so famously sang ‘Two Can Play That Game’*

In 1994, Brechin held a testimonial for Bobby and the matchday program revealed the secret of his success: “Bobby has been, is, and always will be, a good professional“. It then added that Bobby was “not blessed with a lot of natural ability, but has produced a level of consistency more talented players will never achieve“.

It’s this consistency that meant Brown was still playing football for Broughty Ferry FC, a non-league side, on his 50th birthday. While standards may have slipped in recent times, it was not by much. In 2008-09 he was Broughty Ferry’s Players’ Player of the Year – at forty-nine. In comparison, his fiftieth year saw him make thirty-seven starting appearances for the club.

It’s legends like Bobby that teams should celebrate. Although Brechin has won leagues titles in the lower reaches of Scottish football and bounced back and forth between the third division and the first, players like Bobby provide the club with the heart and soul and bedrock of consistency that fans crave.

*We suspect this story may be a wind-up from a Brechin fan.

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The Sound of Football: Bradford City (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

Bradford City

Nickname: The Bantams

Ground: Coral Windows Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 25,136

Song: Let’s Get Ready For Wembley

In 2013 Bradford City became the first ever team from the fourth tier of English football to reach a major domestic Wembley cup final – the Football League Cup. On the pitch Bradford lost 5 – 0 to Swansea but off the pitch the Bantams scored with the unofficial song ‘Let’s Get Ready For Wembley’ based on the Ant and Dec classic ‘Let’s Get Ready To Rumble’.

The song was created by Bantam’s Banter, the unofficial Bradford City podcast, which Tom Fletcher and Dom Newton-Collinge record live from the Valley Parade press box. This was the first independent podcast to reach number one in the iTunes charts. The otherwise excellent song and video for ‘Let Get Ready For Wembley’ has one crime against the English language: Wembley is rhymed with tremble-y.

Ant and Dec would be proud – as would York City (see York City for a similar abuse of the English language).

Bradford City’s the only professional football club in England to wear claret and amber. Although Motherwell have the same colours in Scotland it’s thought it ‘borrowed’ them from Bradford. The origin of Bradford City’s colours is less well known but it’s assumed it adopted the same colours of the West Yorkshire Regiment that it first used as changing rooms for the club.

In 1985, 56 spectators died and many more were seriously injured when a fire engulfed a stand at the Valley Parade ground. It was the worst fire disaster in the history of English football. A special recording of the Liverpool FC anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was recorded to raise money for victims of the fire. It featured Gerry Marsden and Paul McCartney and was recorded under the name “The Crowd”.

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The Sound of Football: Bolton Wanderers (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

Bolton Wanderers

Nickname: The Trotters

Ground: The Reebok Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 28,100

Song: Just Can’t Get Enough

In March 2011, Bolton Wanderers started blasting out ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ by Depeche Mode over the speakers every time a goal was scored to try and improve the atmosphere around the stands of The Reebok Stadium.

The club had used a similar trick to improve atmosphere on the club’s return to the Premier League with James Brown’s ‘I Feel Good’.

Owen Coyle, then Bolton manager, explained that the decision was part of Bolton’s efforts to improve the match day experience for fans.

The important thing is that we try and build an atmosphere, and that it gets better” he told The Bolton News, before he added: “It’s not my personal favourite but it might prove to be if we keep using it because it means we’ve scored goals.”

It’s fair to say that Owen Coyle never became a fan of Depeche Mode. He left the club in 2012 after Bolton was relegated from the Premiership after failing to score enough goals to stay up. Recent years have seen the club fall further and be threatened with winding up due to unpaid debts.

It’s surprising that Bolton’s Reebok Stadium lacks atmosphere, as, according to a survey by the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Boltonians are the friendliest people in Britain. This friendliness is not reflected in the stadium design. Rather than walk onto the pitch together, teams emerge from separate tunnels on either side of the halfway line. Also, the away fans are seated in the lower tiers not covered by the Reebok stadium’s roof. Visiting fans are advised to bring waterproofs if it looks like it might rain.

The club is proud of its history. In 1939 every member of the team volunteered to fight the Nazis. In front of a 23,000 strong crowd, the Bolton skipper gave a rousing speech before leading the entire team to sign up at a local Territorial Army hall.

For the next six years, the players faced some of the heaviest fighting of the war in France, North Africa and Italy, while also establishing themselves as a formidable regimental football team. They were even pulled off the front line to play King Farouk’s side in Cairo. Incredibly, after six years of fighting, all but one of the team survived the war.

Before moving to The Reebok Stadium in 1997, the club played for over 100 years at Burnden Park. Its most famous song relates to the older stadium and is sung to the tune of ‘The Blaydon Races’, a famous Geordie folk song (see Newcastle United).

The original is considered to be the unofficial anthem of Tyneside and is frequently sung by supporters of both Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons rugby club. The song is used by a number of sides (Walsall, Blackburn, Berwick Rangers and Portadown) by changing the geographical references and dialect. The lyrics are changed to suit the club but the tune remains the same.

Aw went to Blaydon Races, ’twas on the ninth of Joon,

Eiteen hundred an’ sixty-two, on a summer’s efternoon;

Aw tyuk the ‘bus frae Balmbra’s, an’ she wis heavy laden,

Away we went alang Collingwood Street, that’s on the road to Blaydon.

(Source: trad.)

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The Sound of Football: Blackpool (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

Blackpool

Nickname: The Seasiders

Ground: Bloomfield Road

Stadium Capacity: 16,007

Song: Blackpool

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.

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