by Sam Skilton
If you’re a football fan you will undoubtedly have your favourite pre-match or half-time tune – cast your mind back and you’ll most likely be tucking into a burger/hotdog and chips when you hear it.
From the stands of some of the nation’s largest stadia, to the terraces of your local non-league club, here is a selection of the most commonly heard tracks from football grounds around the country.
Please Note: This is not a list of the Top Ten England Songs; this is a list of tracks which have inadvertently become football terrace anthems.
10. Hard-Fi – Bring It On
Hard-Fi’s third album ‘Killer Sounds’ may not have had the commercial success of their previous two which both went to number one in the UK Album Charts, but ‘Bring It On’ provided the intro for Sky Sports’ football coverage for the 2010/11 season and ever since then it has been a fan favourite. Last year the Staines band cemented their status as synonymous with football when they performed the ‘Living for the Weekend’ live on the pitch at Wembley Stadium before the 2012 FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Liverpool.
9. James – Sit Down
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why James’ most famous record ‘Sit Down’ grew to become the terrace anthem it did, but since 1989 it has been belting out of PA systems across the country. Adopted by football fans with baggy trousers, mop haircuts and Madchester record collections, the track is now synonymous with the sport.
8. Snow Patrol – In the End
Finally the BBC’s Football League Show has been given an opening theme tune which does it some kind of justice. Snow Patrol’s ‘In the End’ does the trick, although it’ll be some time before it reaches the heights that ‘Beautiful Day’ did over on ITV.
7. The Fratellis – Chelsea Dagger
I wonder just how many British football clubs have at some point played this song after scoring. My money is on at least a hundred. Released in August 2006, it has been a football ever-present since. It even has the name of one of the country’s biggest teams in the title.
6. The Enemy – Be Somebody
No 21st Century band has gone as hand-in-hand with football in recent times as these three lads from the Midlands. Coventry City fans The Enemy and their working class anthems have proved popular amongst football fans, with ‘Be Somebody’ featuring on ITV’s FA Cup coverage and many tracks from their debut album ‘We’ll Live and Die in These Towns’ – principally the title track – often heard in football grounds around the nation. ‘Elephant Song’ from their second album ‘Music for the People’ is a direct reference to the club which they support, whose emblem features an elephant, while their latest offering ‘Saturday’ has terrace-chant written all over it.
5. Oasis – The Meaning of Soul
Noel Gallagher once claimed that his interest in music began when, as a kid, he started a football chant at a Manchester City game at the club’s old Maine Road ground. His band of course went on to play a historic concert at the stadium in 1996, and their 2009 show at the club’s new home – the City of Manchester Stadium – was one of their last before splitting. It was the 2005 Oasis gig at Eastlands which provided the backdrop for the Sky Sports advert of the same year though, featuring the track ‘The Meaning of Soul’ and concluding with Liam booting a football into the crowd.
4. Kasabian – Club Foot
Kasabian are massive football fans – most obviously Sergio Pizzorno who netted a wonder goal for the Rest of the World against England in the 2012 Soccer Aid match at Old Trafford, and also scored a belter in Soccer AM’s ‘Road to Wembley’ competition. And the boys from Leicester provided the perfect theme tune for football related television adverts, games and films when they wrote ‘Club Foot’. The track has since appeared in the films ‘Goal’ and ‘Green Street’, the games ‘Pro Evolution Soccer 5’ and ‘FIFA 13’, and perhaps most notably in the Ford advert on the Sky Sports News television channel.
3. The Farm – All Together Now
Lead-singer of The Farm Pete Hooton originally wrote ‘All Together Now’ as an anti-war song before it was adopted by football. Its lyrics (“A spirit stronger than war was at work that night, December 1914, cold, clear and bright”) is a clear reference to that. “It’s about the working classes being sent to war. People across a divide who probably has more in common with each other than the people who had sent them to war in the first place,” he said. Since it was written over 20 years ago the song has been used by Everton Football Club and as theme tunes to Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup.
2. The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony
It seems that ITV are very good at making or breaking a football theme tune. Since the broadcaster secured the rights to FA Cup and England matches in 2008, ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ has provided the intro for the national team. The ‘Urban Hymns’ classic is an inspirational composition and provides the dramatic preface to an England international that the National Anthem often lacks. Legal squabbles due to plagiarism mean that all of the royalties to the track still go to The Rolling Stones, and Richard Ashcroft once commented: “This is the best song Jagger and Richards have written in 20 years”.
1. U2 – Beautiful Day
Ever since ITV secured the rights to Premier League coverage back in 2001, ‘Beautiful Day’ has been a favourite amongst football fans. Chosen as signature tune for ‘The Premiership’ it remained for three years until the broadcaster lost the rights to top flight highlights and Match of the Day returned to the BBC. The song continued to be used as the introduction to ‘The Championship’ for five years, and will no doubt conjure up memories of sitting in front of the TV on a Sunday morning amongst many a football fan.
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