Ho ho ho. Twohundredpercent is off on its Christmas holidays tomorrow. The high excitement of waking up in the morning and seeing the back garden covered in snow, considerable amounts of wassailing and, of course, egg nog. It’s pretty certain that none of these things will actually happen (I don’t even know what exactly wassailing is – something to with drinking and singing, if my memory serves me correctly, but I’m far from certain about this), but that doesn’t mean that I can’t leave you all a little something – even if that little something does bear a resemblance to the sort of “little something” that my cat has taken to leaving on the mat by my front door whenever we leave the house for longer than a couple of hours. It has been rather a long time since we’ve done this so, as an early Christmas present, here are another ten marvellous football songs. Click on the bold type to download, if you’re feeling brave enough.
The Nolans: The Blackpool Song - We’ll kick off with this peculiar effort from the slightly creepy Nolans from the mid-1970s. The Nolans (originally called The Singing Nolans) had moved to Blackpool from Ireland during the early 1970s in the pursuit of fame and fortune, and this song was one that they were very proud of – they even turned out at Bloomfield Road to promote it. Of course, The Nolans went on to something approaching international fame with “I’m In The Mood For Dancing” later in the decade. Of course, Blackpool FC is a club that seems to revel in the slightly eccentric. Former FA chief Graham Kelly once went on record saying that, while a trainee at the club, one of his jobs was to paint ducks orange to use as mascots.
Big Foot Mama – Green Dragons Himna: This one starts with moody rolling drums, a sultry guitar and whistle of feedback that (for those of us that actually like music) quietly builds a little bit of optimism, which is swiftly demolished by the indisputably “football” sound of twenty blokes shouting. The “Green Dragons” referred to therein are Olimpija Ljubljana. Olimpija were the Slovenian champions for four years in a row during the early 1990s, before financial difficulties forced them to close and restart from the very bottom of Slovenian football in 2005. Since then, they have won three successive promotions and currently play in the second division of the Slovenian league.
Kickers Offenbach – Forever OFC: Kickers were involved in German football’s biggest scandal when in 1971 their president exposed serious levels of corruption within the then six year old Bundesliga. Over fifty players, two coaches and six referees were eventually implicated in the scandal, which the league took years to shake off. Ironically, Kickers were relegated on the last day of the 1970/71 season and they have only been sporadic members of the Bundesliga since then. They currently play in the German third division, the 3.Liga. This song is, of course, the second biggest scandal ever to hit German football.
Slade – Give Us A Goal: There doesn’t seem to be considerable evidence of the Black Country glam rock stompers being massive fans of the game but, if there was ever a band whose sound matched the heaving, urine soaked, Doctor Martened terraces of the 1970s, it was Slade. “Give Us A Goal”, of course has recently become familiar to us all through television advertisements for EA Sports’ “FIFA 09″. Get down and get with it, indeed.
Liverpool FC – Liverpool Lou: Ah, that old staple of 1970s football songs. Take one run of the mill orchestra and add twenty-two footballers, all of whom are singing slightly off-key. There’s safety in numbers, and it also removes the possibility of anyone that actually can sing in tune being labelled as “gay” or something. This song was released as part of a single to commemorate Liverpool getting to the final of the European Cup Final in 1977, in case you were wondering why the world needed punk rock as much as it did.
Manchester City – The Boys In Blue: In a similar vein, here are Manchester City from the 1970s showing that, no matter what aging pros might say about hanging around on the Kings Road with The Beatles and Raqual Welch, football’s relationship music had more in common with The Brighouse & Rastrick Brass band than David Bowie and T Rex. The B-side to this single was Malcolm Allison performing a cover of “Wig Wam Bam”, which featured a seven minute long Francis Lee tin whistle solo. I might have embellished that somewhat.
Tottenham Hotspur – Nice One Cyril: The mid-1970s were a pretty desperate time for Tottenham Hotspur. They didn’t build upon their 1972 UEFA Cup win against Wolverhampton Wanderers, and spent much of the rest of the decade in a fug, avoiding relegation on the last day of the 1974/75 season and slipping through the trapdoor to spend a year in the Second Division two years later. It is a signal of their decline that Cyril Knowles, a tidy but hardly outstanding full back who played eleven years at White Hart Lane. The start of this song hints achingly at a Spectoresque wall of sound arrangement for approximately half a second, before it becomes apparent that the noise coming from the speakers is a peculiar operatic man singing “Niiiiiiice Onnnnnnnne Cyrillllllll” at full pelt. Performed by – gulp – “The Cockerel Chorus”.
Charlton Athletic: Red, Red Robin: One from the archives, here. “When The Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob Bobbin’ Along” has been Charlton’s song for decades, and this version is the Billy Cotton version that is still played at The Valley before the start of every home match. The other well known version is by, um, Al Jolson.
Rangers: The Blue Sea Of Ibrox: Now, there are plenty of objectionable Rangers songs available on the internet (have a quick Google for “No Surrender” if you’re stuck for ideas), but I’ll leave you to look for them off your own back. The most significant crime that this song commits is a musical one – it’s a folksy, accordiany number of the genre preferred by men of a certain age with chunky knit sweaters, pipes and a tendency to stick their fingers in their ears. Still, it’s preferable to that vile “Big Jock Knew” nonsense, isn’t it?
So, there we go. We’ll be back at the weekend, so take care and don’t fill yourselves too much with brandy butter and Quality Street. Have a very merry Christmas,