Category Archives: The Sound of Football

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.

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

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”.

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

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.)

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

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.

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

The Sound of Football: Blackburn 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

Blackburn Rovers

Nickname: Rovers

Ground: Ewood Park

Stadium Capacity: 31,154

Song: The Wild Rover (Trad)

Blackburn Rover’s anthem is, naturally, ‘The Wild Rover.’ It’s probably the most widely performed Irish song around the world:

I’ve been a wild rover for many a year, and I’ve spent all my money on this seat right here.

So there’s no point in saving for a rainy day, ‘cos I’m a wild rover, and here I will stay.

AND IT’S NO NAY NEVER, NO NAY NEVER NO MORE!

‘COS I’LL STAY A WILD ROVER FOREVER AND MORE!

(Source: trad.)

The song tells the story of a young man who has been away from his home for many years. Returning to his former alehouse, the landlady refuses him credit; until he presents the gold he gained while he was away. Finally, he sings that his days of roving are over, and he intends to return to his home and settle down.

To some, it’s a temperance song because it celebrates the end of his wild days. To others, it’s a drinking song, another drink before heading home. But, to Blackburn fans, it’s the perfect choice because Rovers fans were once known for their ‘wild adventures’ on the road – or, to give ‘adventure’ another name, hooliganism.

Today, football hooligans are more often found on satellite television shows presented by English actor and Eastenders’ landlord, Danny Dyer, than rioting in row D of the family stands of Premiership grounds. However, fans of Danny’s shows might not be aware that football hooliganism is not a modern phenomenon – it’s older than most clubs in the football league, and the first record of crowd trouble is linked to Blackburn Rovers.

Teams from the Home Counties surrounding London dominated footballs early years. The first team to break this southern monopoly was Blackburn after they won the FA Cup in 1884.

The Blackburn fans had a bad reputation. For one game in London, they terrified the locals by being “northern” (working class). A newspaper at the time, The Pall Mall Gazette, described them as:

A northern horde of uncouth garb and strange oaths – like a tribe of Sudanese Arabs let loose.” 

It was unfair to pick on Blackburn’s fans for being northern and working-class when its opponents that day weren’t just ‘northern’ – they were Scottish. Moreover, Blackburn was due to play Queens Park from Glasgow.

This wasn’t the only incident. In 1888, Preston refused to play a match against Blackburn because the club didn’t want to face Blackburn’s fans.

Preston and Blackburn have long been rivals, and there’s no love lost between the two sets of fans. Both groups of fans have an unusual tradition. When they are relegated, they bury a coffin decked out in the club’s colours. Once the side is promoted, they go back and ‘raise’ the coffin.

Unlike most teams, Blackburn Rovers has only ever had one design to its home kit. The distinctive blue and white halved jersey is widely acknowledged as the “town colour.” Although the design has remained the same, the side in which the colours fall has often changed. This is because blue resided on the wearers left since 1946. Before that, blue and white often switched over almost yearly.

In recent years there has been unrest between fans and the club due to unpopular decisions made by the club’s owners. The owners tried to get the fans back by consulting them over a choice of music for the team to run out. The options are the regular selections of stadium anthems, but they missed a trick by not including some of the more unusual Blackburn inspired songs.

First up is the metal band Frenzy with their simply named tune – Blackburn Rovers. A song about watching Blackburn play on TV. It’s not just metal bands who like Blackburn. The Norwegian band Seven released a song called ‘Blackburn (Always In My Heart)’. The true story of a former band member who lost his heart to Blackburn Rovers, and lost his girlfriend. And then, heartbroken, we can only assume he went to the pub and got very, very drunk while singing ‘The Wild Rover’.

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

The Sound of Football: Birmingham (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

Birmingham City

Nickname: The Blues

Ground: St Andrews

Stadium Capacity: 29,409

Song: Keep Right On To The End Of The Road

Birmingham City’s official song is ‘Keep Right On To The End Of The Road’ by Harry Lauder. However, it should be called ‘Keep Right On To The End Of The Canal’ as Birmingham has a longer canal network than Venice. Unlike Venice, Birmingham has twice been voted Europe’s least romantic city. Yet with a canal network that gives it the nickname “the Venice of the north,” perhaps it’s Venice, the city of love, that should be known as ‘the Birmingham of the south’*?

Birmingham was the first English club to participate in a European competition when it played in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup competition. It was also the first English club side to reach a European final, although they lost 4 – 1 to Barcelona. Birmingham was also the second English club to participate in the European competition by reaching the final the following year. However, again, it lost to foreign opposition when Roma beat it.

In 1956 Birmingham became the first team to reach the FA Cup Final without playing any games at home. In the build-up to its semi-final match, one of the payers, Alex Govan, revealed that his favourite song was ‘Keep Right on to the End of the Road’. Alex Govan said about the song:

I thought no more about it, but when the third goal went in at Hillsborough, the Blues fans all started singing it. It was the proudest moment of my life.”

The song has a sad history. It was inspired by a tragic event in the First World War and was written after the singer and entertainer Harry Lauders’ son, Captain John C. Lauder, was killed in action at the Somme.

Harry received a letter from an officer in his son’s company. The letter described his son as a leader of ‘great gallantry’ who, in his dying words, had ordered his troops to ‘carry on. Those words inspired Harry to write ‘Keep Right On To The End Of The Road’ as a tribute.

*Although this ‘fact’ is widely quoted, it may be the work of an imaginative member of the Birmingham tourist board.

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

The Sound of Football: Barrow (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

Barrow

Nickname: The Bluebirds

Ground: Holker Street

Stadium Capacity: 5,045

Song: No official song or goal music.

In September 2020, The Mail, a local newspaper covering Barrow-in-Furness and the eastern Lake District, published a world exclusive. A woman had met a comedian at a wedding, and the Mail had the breaking story of how, at this wedding three years previously, the comedian, Jon Richardson, posed for a photo with a woman – and “It was lovely.” 

We tell this story to explain perhaps that nothing much happens in the Barrow-in-Furness. But in May 2020, there was genuinely big news. After nearly 50 years of being out of the football league, Barrow won promotion back into League Two after being promoted as champions from the National League. It was an outstanding achievement but, sadly, happened in silence as the COVID-19 pandemic meant no fans in the ground to celebrate. 

If there had been, they would have devised an ingenious song to sing. While their most famous chant is “All Bluebirds Are Blue,” the club’s small but passionate support is known for creating one-off songs, such as the time the traveling fans turned down a wedding to head for Histon, only to fall 3-0 behind. According to Levi Gill, Bluebird Trust director:”  ‘gone to the wedding, we should have gone to the wedding’ to the tune of Guantenemara sent a loud and clear message to the bench of our feelings.”

And, if they’d gone to the wedding, they might have met Jon Richardson.

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

The Sound of Football: Barnsley (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

Barnsley

Nickname: The Reds

Ground: Oakwell

Stadium Capacity: 23,287

Song: Cocoon

Barnsley has spent more seasons in the second tier of English football than any other club. In the 1996/97 season, Barnsley reached the top level of English football for the first time in its history. A song was released to celebrate the occasion called ‘Up & Up.’ Unfortunately, it should be called ‘Up & Down’ as the club was relegated the following season.

Its solitary year in the top division saw the signing of Macedonian international striker Georgi Hristov. Hristov was signed to help Barnsley score on the pitch, but he had trouble scoring off it. In an interview with a Belgrade sports magazine, he said:

I’m finding it difficult to find a girlfriend in Barnsley, or indeed settle into a decent way of life. The local girls are far uglier than the ones back in Belgrade or Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, where I come from. Our women are much prettier. Besides, they don’t drink as much beer as the Barnsley girls.”

This prompted the response from the Barnsley fans that “Barnsley women are the prettiest in the country,” which country was never confirmed.

Hristov would have known which town had the prettiest girls if he’d carried out some basic research before joining Barnsley – or he could have just watched the telly. For years, ITV filmed a show inside northern nightclubs called The Hitman and Her and hosted by northern soul expert, pop producer, model railway enthusiast Pete Waterman (The Hitman), and ex-children’s TV presenter Michaela Strachan (Her).

Each week The Hitman and Her broadcast live from a club in the north of England. If Hristov had tuned in, he would have seen what the women of Barnsley looked like on a Saturday night. First, though, he would have discovered another connection to Barnsley: the club plays The Hitman and Her’s theme tune – ‘Cocoon’ by Timerider – when players run out at the start of games.

(The song also features in the 80s Britflick The Fruit Machine, which wasn’t half as good as its proposed sequel and prequel The Time Machine or its porn version: The Sex Machine.)

The song has become derided in recent years, but older fans still remember it fondly for soundtracking their promotion in 1997.

One song that Hristov would have known while at Barnsley was the town’s official anthem. It’s called ‘The Barnsley Anthem.’ It remembers the mining struggles of poverty in Barnsley in the early 20th century. Families were so poor that they were forced to hide in their cellars from threatening bailiffs. So why would he know the song? Well, after his comments about Barnsley women, he’d need to know the best place to hide on a Saturday night.

We’re all dahn in t’ cellar-‘oil where muck slarts on t’ winders,

We’ve used all us coil up and we’re reight dahn to t’ cinders;

If bum-bailiff comes ‘e’ll never finnd us,

Cos we’re all dahn in t’ cellar-‘oil where muck slarts on t’ winders.

(Source: trad.)

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

The Sound of Football: Barnet (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

Barnet

Nickname: The Hillmen

Ground: The Hive

Stadium Capacity: 6,500

Song: The Celery Song

A trawl through Barnet’s classic chants unearths another version of the famous football chant known as the ‘Celery Song.’ The song is derived from a nineteenth-century music hall song, ‘Ask Old Brown.’ The lyrics were:

Ask old brown for tea

and all the family

if he don’t come

we’ll tickle his bum

with a lump of celery.”

(Source: unknown)

‘Ask Old Brown’ became a football song after Chas Hodges (one half of Chas & Dave) recorded it in 1981. Micky Greenaway, a famous Chelsea fan (see Chelsea for more on Greenaway), is said to have picked up the cassette version during a Chelsea tour of Sweden in 1981. He played it over and over and the song transferred to the terraces, and at Barnet became:

My old mans a dustman, he wears a fireman’s hat, 

He’s killed ten thousand Germans, so what you think of that?

One way here, one way there, one way round the corner, 

Poor old soul, with a bullet up his hole is crying out for water.

Water water water, water came at last

I don’t want your water, so stick it up you’re a***

Come for tea, with all your family, 

If your s*** don’t come, tickle up your bum, with a stick of celery.

Celery, Celery, if your s*** don’t come, tickle up your bum, with a stick of celery

(Source: fan chant)

But while their chant is not unique and versions of the Celery Song can be heard in stadiums across the country, they have a special song as their entrance song: Guns & Roses’ ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ – the only club in the UK to use it. Guns & Roses is an apt choice – Barnet itself is the site of one of the biggest battles in the War of the Roses.

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

The Sound of Football: Ayr 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

Ayr United

Nickname: The Honest Men

Ground: Somerset Park

Stadium Capacity: 10,185

Song: Back In Black

Before Lionel Messi, there was Jimmy Smith.

World-famous ex-Barcelona striker Lionel Messi holds the record for most goals scored in La Liga. However, less well-known Ayr United striker, Jimmy Smith, has the UK record for most goals scored in a single season. In 1927/1928, he scored 66 times in just 38 games. To put this into perspective, this is more goals in one season than most Ayr United squads have managed in the last 25 years. Two decades of underachievement has meant that Ayr is now a solid if unspectacular side that has found its level in the first and second division. Yet, 25 years ago, the future of the club could have taken a very different path.

In 1988 Edinburgh businessman, David Murray offered to buy the team. Murray was a rugby man, but he wanted to use his wealth to own and run a football club. Controversially his bid was rejected by a vote of Ayr’s shareholders. It was said that the shareholders had been influenced by Ayr United’s then-current manager, Ally McLeod, who had threatened to quit if Murray was successful.

Ally was an Ayr legend. He’d led the club into the First Division and the inaugural Premier League. His side had defeated Rangers in front of Somerset Park’s record crowd, and he’d led the club to the semi-finals of both the League and Scottish Cup. A feat that saw him voted Ayr’s Citizen of the Year in 1973.

But, for most football fans, Ally is remembered for only one thing: Scotland’s ill-fated 1978 World Cup campaign.

Ally was a naturally animated character, so his confidence and enthusiasm proved infectious. After Scotland defeated England 2 – 1 at Wembley in 1977, the nation believed that not only would World Cup success follow, so would the trophy itself. Scotland was going to win the World Cup!

This self-belief was so strong even the official World Cup single, ‘Ally’s Tartan Army,’ sings of the team’s triumph. When Ally was asked what he would do after the World Cup, he said, “retain it.“. The song was just as optimistic. Its chorus sang: “we’ll shake ’em up when we win the World Cup.” Note: it doesn’t say “if” the team won it. Instead, it sang of “when” Scotland would win it.

The tournament was a disaster. An opening draw with Iran followed an opening defeat to Peru. To qualify, Scotland needed to win by at least four goals against its final opponents, Holland, but, despite scoring one of the World Cup’s greatest goals – Archie Gemmell’s celebrated individual strike – they could only win 3 – 2. It was not enough, and Ally’s tournament was over.

By 1985 Ally Macleod was on his third spell as manager of Ayr. His voice carried a lot of weight. When Ally said “no” to David Murray, the shareholders listened and rejected the offer.

After his bid was rejected, David Murray invested in Rangers instead, helping them win nine titles in a row, and coming within one game of the European Cup final.

Ayr, on the other hand, struggled. Ally managed to win the second division title before leaving the club for the last time in 1989, but subsequent managers have not managed to reach the same heights. A recent highlight was reaching the semi-finals of the League Cup in 2012. However, a 1 – 0 defeat to local rivals Kilmarnock and subsequent relegation from the first division later that year meant that the campaign was unsuccessful.

Ayr does have a musical claim to fame. Scottish rock band Biffy Clyro has claimed that it is named after a footballer who played for Ayr United. However, as Somerset Park has never seen a Mr. Biffy Clyro, the band has also claimed they got their name after a Finnish footballer from the 17th century and a Welsh astronaut who had tried to become the first man on the moon, this may be another tall tale. 

Ayr United walk out to ‘Back In Black’ by AC/DC. This is not a reference to its financial position: it’s always been in the red ever since rejecting David Murray.

AC/DC in Argentina

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.