Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Seven Great Songs About Football

Every fan knows that football is a sport which has been linked with music for many years. From the crowd at Anfield belting out Merseybeat hits in the 1960s, to the Faces kicking a ball about on Top of the Pops, and many others.

Good songs about football itself are relatively rare though. So here's seven of the best, in my view. There seems to be a preponderance of songs relating to Scotland and Ireland, so interpret that how you want.

Sultans of Ping FC Give Him a Ball and a Yard of Grass

A song about Derby County manager Nigel Clough, in the days when his dad Brian, was manager of Nottingham Forest and he played for them. Nigel was "a nice young man with a lovely smile" according to his dad, and he could play a bit too. Operated just off the striker 'in the hole', but was undone a little by a lack of pace. Still played for England though...

The Wakes The Uncrowned King of Football

Probably the most elegaic song here. The lyrics manage to rhyme 'town of Uddingston' with 'Bernebeu Stadium', which is genius in my view. A wonderful tribute to 'Jinky' Jimmy Johnstone, the Celtic winger from the 1960s and 70s. Taking in the Lisbon Lions and Jock Stein, this is a great modern folk song.

Don Fardon Belfast Boy

This is a slightly strange song, with a superb squelchy 70s bass sound. I don't know much about Don Fardon, but this seems like a piece of musical archaeology. It somehow sums up 70s plastic fanhood and the poetry that was the life of George Best in one bubblegum splurge, with enough gritty soul to keep you interested.

Slade Give Us a Goal

Not the best from the Black Country's finest, but still a rabble rousing tune which hits all the stomping, romping, rocking sweet spots. Lyrically not that bad either. Also worth checking out which scarves the boys are wearing. I reckon Dave's is a Walsall scarf, while Noddy's might well be West Brom, although the video was filmed at Brighton's Goldstone Ground it seems, so he might be 'going native' as a PR move. Don's got a Leeds scarf on, while Jim's supporting the Wolves.

The Pogues and the Dubliners Jack's Heroes

A hymn of praise to the fans of the Republic of Ireland football team, when it was managed by charismatic English football legend Jack Charlton. This is the Pogues and Dubliners on autopilot really, but it's a great party tune, once the whiskey has been cracked open and you're up for a sing song.

Christy Moore Joxer Goes to Stuttgart

Again, we're with Jack Charlton's Irish team for this one, a great narrative about heading to Germany with the boys for the trip to the European Championships in 1988, a tournament marked by a memorable victory for the Irish over Bobby Robson's England team. The live versions of the song always work better, in my opinion.

Matt McGinn Five Million Scotsmen Will Call

A nice addition to the ranks of hubristic Scottish World Cup songs. Indeed, this is the one that probably kicked them all off. The chant of 'easy, easy', will make Scottish football fans' hairs rise on the back of their necks, but probably not for the right reasons...

Zack Wilson is the author of 'Stumbles and Half Slips' from Epic Rites Press. Also available from

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