Category Archives: The Sound of Football

The Sound of Football: Cheltenham Town (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

Cheltenham Town

Nickname: The Robins

Ground: The Abbey Business Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 7,133

Song: No official song

Cheltenham doesn’t have an official song, but if it wants a suitably heroic anthem, we can suggest it should call on a local hero and former Olympian, Eddie’ The Eagle’ Edwards.

According to the Olympic spirit:  “the important thing is not to win, but to take part“. One man embodies that spirit more than any other British athlete: Cheltenham’s Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards.

Eddie was the first competitor to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping, a fantastic achievement when Cheltenham had neither snow nor hills to practice on.

His sporting ambition was also handicapped by a lack of funding, which prevented him from travelling abroad to train, and by his need to wear glasses, as he was near-sighted.

Glasses are a disadvantage in ski jumping – when Eddie jumped, his glasses would fog up. At the Calgary Olympics, he finished last, but the public took him to their hearts, and he became famous as a plucky underdog. At the closing ceremony, the president of the Organising Committee said:

At these Games, some competitors have won gold, some have broken records, and some of you have even soared like an eagle.

Unfortunately, other competitors didn’t have the Olympic spirit and complained that Eddie had made a mockery of their sport. They demanded the rules be changed to stop underdogs from competing. The International Olympic Committee created ‘the Eddie the Eagle Rule’, which requires Olympic hopefuls to compete in international events and place in the top 30 per cent or the top 50 competitors.

Eddie never competed in another Olympics. However, his skill in falling from a great height proved helpful when he went on to win the ITV celebrity diving show, Splash in 2013.

Cheltenham Town was founded in 1892. It spent the first three decades in local football, where it celebrated several championships and cup wins. Since moving to the football league, its trophy cabinet has been as bare as Eddie’s.

Eddie is not just a great faller; he’s also made several hit records. He recorded a song in Finnish entitled ‘Mun nimeni on Eetu’ (‘My name is Eetu’) even though he does not speak Finnish. Eddie’s less-than-perfect pronunciation added to its appeal. Later, he recorded another Finnish-language song: ‘Eddien Siivellä’ (‘On Eddie’s Wing’). Music doesn’t have an ‘Eddie The Eagle’ rule, but if it did…

Instead of a song, Cheltenham fans have several memorable chants, and perhaps one of them explains why they don’t have a song. If you visit the Abbey Business Stadium, you’ll hear fans sing:

We can’t read, and we can’t write, but that don’t really matter

We all come from Cheltenham-shire and we can drive a tractor

Ooh arr, ooh arr, ooh arr, ooh arr, ooh arr!

(Source: terrace chant)

Perhaps, when fans can’t read or write, it’s too much to expect a song from them too.

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

The Sound of Football: Chelsea (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

Chelsea

Nickname: The Blues

Ground: Stamford Bridge

Stadium Capacity: 41,837

Songs: Zigger Zagger/One Man Went To Mow

No one bans vegetables – not when you need five a day for healthy eating. Yet, that’s precisely what happened when Chelsea played Sparta Prague in the Champions League in 2012/13.

Before the game, the UK government warned Chelsea supporters that they could not bring drinks, poles, flares, weapons or CELERY into Sparta Prague’s stadium. This was not a random decision. Celery had been thrown at Stamford Bridge for many years, accompanied by a saucy chant. But, in 2007, Chelsea banned it after the Football Association launched an investigation following several instances of celery being thrown on the pitch. Five years later, the UK government had no choice but to follow the FA’s lead when it issued instructions to Chelsea’s travelling support. Celery was banned.

While no one knows precisely how the celery throwing started, most people suspect just one man: legendary Chelsea supporter Micky Greenaway.

I have found more vocal support away from home because there is not the atmosphere at the Bridge for shouting for the Blues. If everyone capable of cheering would shout powerfully at every home game (especially early on in the game), then Chelsea will know they have supporters on the terraces, and Chelsea would be inspired by such support” Greenaway writing in the match programme for Chelsea’s match with Workington, December 1964. 

Micky Greenaway was born in the shed. Not literally. That would make him Jesus. But ‘The Shed’: Chelsea’s south stand and home to its hardcore supporters. He was a larger than life character, often dressed in pinstripes while carrying a briefcase, even though he was not a businessman.

He was born just a few streets from Stamford Bridge in 1945, brought up by a Chelsea loving stepfather, and made the club’s mascot when just nine years old. By the time he was a man, he was a devoted fan, and all through the 60s, 70s and 80s, he would lead the Chelsea fans in song. When the fans were quiet, he would sing even louder to encourage them to join in.

Greenaway even encouraged supporters to join together in the Fulham Road Stand at Stamford Bridge. He christened it the Tram Shed, now known as just the Shed so that they could rival the atmosphere created by Liverpool’s fans in The Kop at Anfield.

Greenaway started many of the songs Chelsea sing today in the Shed, including the ‘Zigger Zagger’, derived from the ‘oggie, oggie, oggie’ chant.

In his booming voice, he would bark out the call, and the crowd would reply:

Zigger zagger, zigger zagger, (oi, oi, oi,)

Zigger zagger, zigger zagger, (oi, oi, oi,)

Zigger, (oi,)

Zagger, (oi,)

Zigger zagger, zigger zagger, (oi, oi, oi!)

(Source: fan chant)

Greenaway also led supporters in singing ‘One Man Went To Mow’. At first, it was a joke, a tape he brought to soundtrack a pre-season tour of Sweden in 1981. For a laugh, the fans on tour started singing along whenever the tape was played. They sang it again for Chelsea’s pre-season game against Exeter when they returned home to remind them of the Swedish tour. Other fans picked it up, and by the end of the season, it was heard at home games. When Chelsea won the Champions League in 2012, 60,000 fans sang along to the club’s unofficial anthem.

Micky Greenaway died in 1999. The 90s were not kind to him. He was named in the News Of The World as leader of a Chelsea firm (gang) and accused of organising riots. Although many say he was not involved, the club banned him from Stamford Bridge, he lost his job and never worked again.

It was a devastating blow for a man who once wrote to the club to implore fans not to swear during games.

I wish to reply on behalf of the ‘Shed’ regarding all the things that have been said in the press recently about Chelsea supporters. First, let me say that I personally have made persistent attempts to curb the bad language that has been used at various matches, and there is now a crowd of us who will stamp this out with our own methods. There will be no need to persist with the use of Special Branch detectives in plain clothes mingling with the crowd,” Greenaway wrote in the club programme in October 1966.

Greenaway never saw the club he loved transformed by Russian billions. He never saw them lift the Premiership trophy or find success in the Champions League. Perhaps he wouldn’t recognise the club Chelsea has become. A club that once was feared but now bans celery. Greenaway died penniless and alone in a bedsit in Catford; buried today in a pauper’s grave, forgotten by most but remembered by all in voice and song.

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

The Sound of Football: Charlton 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

Charlton Athletic

Nickname: The Addicks/The Robins

Ground: The Valley

Stadium Capacity: 27,111

Song: The Valley Floyd Road

There’s something fishy about Charlton Athletic. The club is nicknamed the Addicks, which is not a corrupted form of Athletic but derived instead from ‘haddock’.

When Charlton was building its stadium, players and directors would eat fish after every match. If Charlton lost, the club would save money by eating cod. They would have splashed out on a haddock supper if the team won. As Charlton became more successful, it became known for its haddock, and it became known as the Addicks.

Although the club was formed in 1905, it was fourteen years before it could play at its ground, now known as The Valley.

The club had purchased an abandoned sand and chalk pit in the Charlton area but didn’t have the funds to develop it. Charlton supporters volunteered to help. They dug out a pit for the pitch and used the soil from the excavation to build up the sides. The ground’s name most likely comes from its original valley-like appearance.

As the club’s supporters helped build the stadium, they have a strong bond with it. This is reflected in the club song: ‘The Valley Floyd Road’ (sung to the tune of ‘Mull of Kintyre’), which includes a verse about its 14-year wait to build a home.

A version of the song was released in April 2003 by 3 Blokes From F Block and Friends, including former stars Kevin Lisbie, Claus Jensen, Mathias Svensson, and future England International Scott Parker.

The club’s greatest success (and most haddock suppers consumed) came in the 1930s under the stewardship of Jimmy Seed.

Seed had an unusual background. He fought in the First World War and had only just survived a gas attack. He led the club to successive promotions from the Third Division to the First Division. In Charlton’s first season in the top-flight, it finished runners-up. It then finished third and fourth in the final two seasons before the outbreak of the Second World War.

During the 1940’s Charlton made it to Wembley four times. Twice to contest the “war cup”, a tournament that replaced the FA Cup for the Second World War. Charlton didn’t capitalise on the success, and the club refused to invest money in new players or facilities, which meant that although Jimmy Seed ‘discovered’ England legend, Stanley Matthews, he wasn’t allowed to sign him.

Charlton has also been known as the ‘Robins’ after its red shirts, which it had originally borrowed from local rivals Arsenal to save money when it started. Charlton is not the only club to begin in a borrowed kit. Its benefactor’s Arsenal also started with borrowed kit from Nottingham Forest.

In honour of its second nickname, the team enter the Valley at every home game to the tune of the ‘Red, Red Robin’ by Billy Cotton.

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

The Sound of Football: Celtic Football Club (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

Celtic

Nickname: The Bhoys

Ground: Celtic Park

Stadium Capacity: 60,355

Song: The Fields Of Athenry

In 2012 Celtic celebrated its 125th anniversary.  Yet the Celtic club badge has 1888 on it. So if you do the maths, that would make the 125th anniversary… 2013, So why celebrate in 2012?

The club’s founder, Brother Walfrid, formally constituted the club at a meeting in St. Mary’s church hall in East Rose Street (now Forbes Street), Calton, Glasgow, on 6 November 1887. However, Celtic played its first match in 1888: a 5 – 2 victory against Old Firm rivals Rangers, so the badge honours this date – and the club’s 125th anniversary is 2012 and not 2013.

Brother Walfrid aimed to tackle poverty in the east end of Glasgow by using the club to raise money for his charity, the Poor Children’s Dinner Table  At that time, Glasgow had a large Irish immigrant population, and the club and charity were set up to provide a focus for help.

Today, the club still has solid Irish links, and one of the fan’s most popular songs commemorates the Irish immigration experience.

‘The Fields Of Athenry’ was written by Irish singer-songwriter Pete St John in the early 1970s. Pete St John was Irish born but had lived abroad for many years, emigrating first to Canada before moving on to Alaska, Central America, and the West Indies, where he worked as a professional athlete, truck driver, logging camp labourer, PR/Sales Official, and finally electrical contracting executive in the U.S.A.

‘The Fields of Athenry’ is a song about a fictional character called Michael, from Athenry in County Galway, Ireland  Michael is convicted and sentenced to transportation to Botany Bay, Australia because he stole food to feed his starving family. The song is set between 1845 and 1850, during the Great Irish Famine.

The song is a love song and mourns the separation between Michael and his wife Mary back in Ireland.

The Fields of Athenry is now more than just a popular Irish song. After its adoption by sports fans, it’s become an unofficial anthem for Ireland, sung by fans at rugby and football matches for teams such as Connaught and Munster alongside Celtic.

The song’s association with Celtic is partly down to the sizeable Irish-Scottish community in Glasgow, many of whom are descended from the thousands of people who went to Scotland in the 1840s to escape the famine. Among them were 15,000 famine victims who were suffering from fever.

Today, the song is regularly heard at matches along with ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’ Still, just as Celtic has adopted ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ from Liverpool, Liverpool has also adopted ‘The Fields of Athenry.’ With many residents of Liverpool claiming Irish heritage, it is now one of Liverpool’s most famous songs, too. And it seems fitting that a song about immigration should find a home across the Irish Sea in both Glasgow and Liverpool.

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

The Sound of Football: Carlisle United (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

Carlisle United

Nickname: The Cumbrians/The Blues/The Foxes

Ground: Brunton Park

Stadium Capacity: 16,683

Song: Looking Good (We’re Carlisle United)

Carlisle United is the smallest team by population (100k) in the football league. It is also the only side to have once been owned by a man visited by aliens. It was close encounters of the third division kind.

In the mid-1990s, Michael Knighton owned 90 per cent of Carlisle United. He was an unpopular chairman and became a figure of fun when the local Carlisle News & Star newspaper splashed the story “Knighton: Aliens Spoke To Me”.

In the 1970s, the paper said Knighton watched an alien craft perform a range of “impossible” aero-gymnastics moves. Before the craft disappeared into the stratosphere, he claimed he’d received a telepathic message urging him: “Don’t be afraid, Michael“.

However, the story was a stitch-up, and Knighton offered to resign over it until the paper published a semi-apology a few days later asking him to stay  Today, Michael is philosophical. When he discussed the story on his blog in 2013, he wrote:

Do aliens exist? Who knows, I haven’t spoken to any recently!

Carlisle’s nickname is The Foxes due to the most famous English huntsman of all times – John Peel.  John was born in Cumbria and kept a pack of foxhounds. He was immortalized in song:

D’ye ken John Peel with his coat so gay?

D’ye ken John Peel at the break o’ day?

D’ye ken John Peel when he’s far, far a-way.”

(Source: trad.)

Peel’s legacy lived on in the exploits of a Carlisle club mascot called ‘Twinkletoes.’ He would dress in a blue and white top hat and tails and go onto the pitch before home games carrying a stuffed fox named Olga. Sadly, this tradition has ended, and the stuffed fox is only on display inside the stadium.

The club anthem dated back to the 1970s and was recorded after Carlisle United gained promotion to Division 1. It’s called ‘Looking Good (We’re Carlisle United)’.

And, for a few years, things did look good for Carlisle. In 1974 the club briefly topped the first division Bill Shankly, the famous Liverpool manager and a former Carlisle player, even said this was “the greatest feat in the history of the game“.  Unfortunately, due to its small size, they lacked consistency, fell away and the club was relegated at the end of the season.

The club’s anthem was supposed to feature the team singing, but its management refused to send them to the recording studio in London.

The song features crowd noises, which you would assume are the Carlisle fans; however, the composer revealed that Carlisle’s fans were too quiet. He wanted the crowd to sound louder, so he replaced the fans with stock sound effects from a bull-fighting track, which is why if you listen closely, you might just hear “Ole,  Ole,  Ole!“.

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

The Sound of Football: Cardiff 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

Cardiff City

Nickname: The Bluebirds

Ground: Cardiff City Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 26,828

Song: Do The Ayatollah/Men of Harlech

What links the Nobel Prize for Literature; the Ayatollah Humani, spiritual leader of Iran; and porn baron and former West Ham chairman David Sullivan?

A. A special edition of Asian Babes dedicated to contemporary theology; or

B. Cardiff City?

If you picked A, shame on you. If you picked B, you must know that David Sullivan was born near Cardiff; the club’s nickname was based on a Nobel Prize winner’s play, and the club’s fans sing a song inspired by Iran called ‘Do the Ayatollah’.

First, the play: Cardiff City was originally called Riverside A.F.C. It played in a chocolate coloured strip. The club changed its name to Cardiff City and its strip to all blue after the town was granted city status in 1905. After changing colours, a play called ‘The Blue Bird’ was performed to sell-out audiences in Cardiff. It was written by a Belgian playwright and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. After watching the play, some Cardiff City fans nicknamed the team ‘The Bluebirds’ and the nickname was so successful that it became a symbol of the club and was used on the club crest.

But why the song  ‘Do The Ayatollah’? It was first performed in 1990 by the singer of a Welsh-language punk group called U Thant.  The singer had been inspired by footage of funeral attendants of Ayatollah Khomeini raising their arms together, clasping their hands, and repeatedly pressing their locked hands up and down on their head  After he performed the dance on stage at a gig in Cardiff, fans borrowed the ‘dance’ and adopted it for the terrace while chanting ‘Do The Ayatollah’ repeatedly.

The song is now sung at players in the team, opposition managers, and anybody the fans want to have a go at. The person being sung at has to respond by… performing the Ayatollah.

An official version of the song was released when Cardiff City reached the FA Cup final in 2008.

It may be surprising that a club from Wales reached the final of an English competition, but when the club formed in 1899, there was no Welsh league to enter.

The club is proud to be Welsh, but the date of its greatest triumph is a very English day – St George’s Day. The Welsh side became the first non-English side to win the FA Cup on St George’s Day, 23 April, in 1927.

Many owners have tried to use Cardiff’s unique status in English football. One of the most controversial owners was ex-Wimbledon boss Sam Hammam  Sam bought the club in 2000 with the aim of converting Cardiff into a focal point for Wales by renaming the club The Cardiff Celts and changing its colours to mirror the flag of Wales with red, white and green.

Fans boycotted the change, and he was persuaded not to go ahead with it. But money talks and, under new management from Malaysia, the fans have seen the team’s colours change from blue to red and black and the bluebird replaced by a dragon.

The fans would like a Welshman to own the club. And while local boy, David Sullivan, born in nearby Penarth, has repeatedly said he wants to own the team he supported as a child; instead, he bought Birmingham and then West Ham, proving that porn barons don’t become millionaires by listening to their hearts.

Before every Cardiff home game, the club plays the song ‘Men of Harlech’  The song describe events during the seven-year siege of Harlech Castle. The garrison held out in what is the longest known siege in the history of the British Isles.

From the hills rebounding, *clap clap*

Let this war cry sounding, *clap clap*

Summon all at Cambria’s call

The mighty force surrounding, *clap clap*

(Source: trad.)

Men of Harlech was first published without words during 1794 as Gorhoffedd Gwŷr Harlech – March of the Men of Harlech  There have been many different versions, including one for Michael Caine’s 1964 film Zulu and, more recently, a fan-produced version referring to Gareth Bale for the Welsh national team’s 2016 European Championship campaign. 

As a traditional song, we’ve not included it among the oldest football songs but, with its origins in the eighteen century, it, along with Newcastle United’s ‘Blaydon Races’, are among the oldest songs you’ll hear in British stadiums.

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

The Sound of Football: Cambridge United (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

Cambridge United

Nickname: The U’s

Ground: Abbey Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 8,100

Song: I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts

Although Cambridge United was formed in 1912, the town has an even longer football pedigree. It all started with the Roman game of harpastum, an early kind of ball game that involved two teams trying to keep the ball on their half of the field for as long as possible, and which was played in Cambridge when the Romans conquered the town.  

During the middle ages, a form of the game continued as a team from the university – the gowns – competed against a team from the town. This town vs gown match was fierce and, to try and impose some order to it, in 1848, the teams met to establish one uniform set of rules.  These rules were written on papers fixed to the trees in Cambridge and, later, when the Football Association was founded in 1863, they used the Cambridge rules. 

However, helping write the rules did not provide Cambridge United with an easy pass into the football league. It was nearly 40 years before the club became professional in 1949, and, even then, it didn’t enter the football league until 1970.

When it did, you would hear ‘I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts’ after they won their first league game against Oldham Athletic on 29 August 1970, just as it has been played after almost every home victory. You may wonder what connection coconuts have with Cambridge. The answer is… none. As BBC News reported in 2015, one fan, Robin Mansfield, remembered how the song was chosen:

It’s quite simple.  Our neighbour, Jack Morgan, did the announcements in those days. He said: ‘I had a pile of records in front of me, and that was the one on the top’.”

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

The Sound of Football: Bury (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

Bury

Nickname: The Shakers

Ground: Gigg Lane

Stadium Capacity: 11,313

Song: Bury Aces

The summer of 2013 saw Bury become the busiest team for transfers in/out of the club. The club had been relegated to League Two the previous season and had released a statement saying it needed £1 million to survive. To cut costs, it let 16 players leave the club. The financial situation was so bad that the club couldn’t afford a lawyer to transfer the deeds from the old regime to the new one when it was taken over.

The move out of administration was led by supporters, spearheaded by Neville Neville, the father of former England internationals Gary and Phil.

This financial boost gave the club a fresh start, but Bury had no squad. The manager Kevin Blackwell had to sign over twenty players, and with so many new signings, he struggled to remember all of their names. Kevin is quoted as saying:

One of the players had a word with me because I’d forgotten his name, and I said, ‘listen son, I don’t know anybody’s name – never mind yours‘.”

However, soon everyone would know one player’s name: striker Lenell John-Lewis. Sadly, not for his goal-scoring exploits but for the chant the fans would sing to remind them who he was.

His name is a shop!

His name is a shoooooopppppp!

Lenell John-Lewis!

His name is a shop!

While most players go through their careers without winning a medal, most clubs go through their existence without winning a significant trophy. Lower league Bury has the distinction of not just one major win but two.

In 1900 it won the FA Cup by beating Southampton 4 – 0. The Shakers returned in 1903 and did even better – it didn’t concede a single goal in any round and then beat Derby County 6 – 0, still the biggest win in the FA Cup final. It inspired Bury Aces:

Oh, the lads, should have seen us coming,

Fastest team in all the land, you should have seen us coming,

All the lads and lasses, with the smiles on their faces,

Walking down the Manny Road to see the Bury Aces!

(Source: unknown)

Nowadays clubs complain about a congested fixture list, but at least it doesn’t have multiple FA Cup replays to contend with. In the 1954/55 season, the FA Cup match between Stoke City and Bury was replayed four times.

The teams first met in Bury and played out a 1 – 1 draw. The replay also finished 1 – 1 (after extra time). The next match was a 3 – 3 draw (after extra time). Bury then played out a 2 – 2 draw just days later. Finally, Stoke won the last match 3 – 2, scoring the winning goal in the last minute of extra time just as everybody was preparing for a sixth game. The tie lasted 9 hours and 22 minutes.

Since 1903, Bury’s FA Cup success has been limited. However, in 2006/7, Bury managed to go through the whole tournament unbeaten, well, kind of… It became the first professional side to be thrown out of the FA Cup after the club had fielded an illegible player. And, sadly, it’s not just the FA Cup that has expelled Bury. In 2019, after falling into financial difficulties, the club was removed from the football league too.

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

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.

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

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.

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.