Thursday, 15 May 2014

Sounds From The Stands

So the football seasons have ended, the Play-Offs are into their second legs, the curse of Benfica continues, and the success of Arsene Wenger's season will be known after Saturday's F.A. Cup.

For those with an Ings, Nugent, Sako or Winnall there was cause to celebrate. For others, the dream of promotion or survival has faded like the colour on second-hand football seats. But through it all there have been chants - songs rising from the terraces as elation, passion, believe or protest is expelled.

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At nine I knew I would never fall out of love with football. My Dad took me to my first Coventry game (holding my hand just a little too tightly) and there - in a seat which would become mine for the next seven years - I found my voice. For ninety minutes the shyness slipped away and football took over. When I eventually went to my first proper away game, a last-match-of-the-season at Vicarage Lane looking for our first away win, I sang like I had never sang before.

The atmosphere on away days is like no other game - 3,000 fans in one section of the ground, all standing up and belting out song after song. At Watford (to the horror of my Dad's wallet) I caught the 'away bug'...

I've jumped to my feet singing, 'Stand up if you're one nil up,' at Old Trafford. I've mocked other teams' fans with: 'Shall we sing a song for you' on cold Tuesday nights. At forty-four football grounds I've sang 'In Our Coventry Home', and I've joined in with songs which, if my mother had heard me singing, would have resulted in a soapy mouth.

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With simple rhyme, a splash of wit, and to a well-known or in vogue tune (after Bob The Builder topped the charts with 'Can We Fix It' there was a few choruses of 'Gordon Strachan can he fix it' at Portman Road, needless to say it didn't really take off) football songs take hold of fans, stands and stadiums across the country. They have the ability to express our pride, our joy and our frustrations; they're the thing which creates atmospheres that television (whether 3D or not) will never be able to replicate. They're 'love' songs for the beautiful game and for the teams we refuse to abandon (no matter how much they hurt us).

Thank you for reading,


Colin Davies said...

You've nailed it right there.

I fantastic post about the love of football, and even though I have a different team, the emotion you talk about here are exactly the same.

Loved it.

Lara Clayton said...

Thank you, Colin, for the kind words.

Christo said...

Thanks so much, Lara - Colin is absolutely right.

This is such an accurate depiction of Love On The Terraces (homes as well as at football grounds).

Send it to Greg Dyke and Gary Lineker - England will need cheering up if the Give Youth A Chance is a gamble too far.

Adele said...

I have always been an Everton supporter. Thick and thin and have suffered the blues supporting the toffees. I wen to Wembley with Dad in '68 on the train and came back on the shoulder of losing supporters but we sang all the way back to Lime Street.

My treasures are an Everton '66 FA Cup winners album signed to Dad by the whole squad and with Alan Ball on the back page, (he joined them that year) and two the shirts from the '66 World Cup given to Dad by Ray Wilson and Alec Scott (one England and one Scotand.) My fondest memory, as an eight year old, Ballie drove me twice around Dad's car park in the brand new red E Type he bought with his transfer fee. I still love the team - and hope for home grown talent at international level. Ross Barclay is a beacon of hope.

Thanks for a great post Lara.