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Adventures of a Girl Reporter, Australia, Sport

Come on Aussie, pick a song… any song

There are a couple of things we can learn from the Poms. Their superior use of the Decision Review System and their singing are two very good places to start. So come on Aussies, really come on. It’s great to sing and holler when our team’s winning. It’s a matter of honour to keep singing through the gloom of defeat. And so far, we’re rubbish at it.

Australians were astonished by the Liverpool fans’ rendition of their team song during an exhibition match against the Melbourne Victory at the MCG. I wasn’t.

A little ditty went around my Hong Kong playground in the 70s, long before the tragedy of Hillsborough put a renewed passion into the old show tune. It began:

You’ll never walk alone, the crowd all sway
At Anfield on a Saturday when Liverpool play

We knew, even in the far-flung colonies, that footy fans sing and chant.

It’s a tradition not confined to the round ball game. English rugby fans sing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, the Scots respond in full throat with Flower of Scotland and the Welsh, ah the Welsh… singers all.

But not Australians. It’s not like we don’t have a pretty good tune to our name, thanks to the Great Banjo, but when the Wallabies met the Lions at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium in June the only outing for Waltzing Matilda came from a kilted pipe band heading up Caxton Street for the post-match celebrations.

They were part of the Lions contingent, obviously.

At the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens we hollered Matilda at the best the British could fling at us but here at home we’re silent. Is it a lingering hangover of the social constrictions which sent Aussies like the Big Baxter and so many others abroad in the 1960s?

Can we only sing when we’re far from home?

It’s not just the singing, it’s the chanting too. “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi oi oi.” Really, Australia. Is that the best we can manage?

Our shame extends across all codes. We lose the battle of the terraces, whatever happens on the field of play.

Blogging Broncos fan Stuart Layt, writing at the Brisbane Times, dared to ask if rugby league had something to learn from soccer in the wake of the superlative Liverpool supporters’ performance at the MCG.

Well, since you asked, here’s the Baxter Guide to Sporting Chants. It’s not definitive by any means, and there are pleny of links at the end to provide further inspiration.

When a team is dominating and playing good football, it’s traditional for their fans to sing, to the tune of Blue Moon:

“Brazil!
It’s just like watching Brazil!
It’s just like watching Brazil!
It’s just like watching Brazil!”

Or, when one set of fans feels their opposition supporters don’t have a wide enough back-catalog of chants, they will often sing at them, (again to the tune of Blue Moon:

“One song!
You’ve only got one song!
You’ve only got one song!
You’ve only got one song!”

Or, if their team is getting thumped, say 4-0, supporters may start chanting…

“Five Four!
We’re gonna win five four!
We’re gonna win five four!
We’re gonna win five four!”

(or Six Five…  or Seven Six… depending on the scoreline)

A staple chant for fans who aren’t feeling too creative but just want to celebrate a player’s talents (if his name can scan over four syllables) is to use the tune of “Guantanamera.”

So, for example, Alessandro del Piero may be celebrated thus:

“There’s only one del Piero!
One del Piero!
There’s only one del Piero!
One del Piero!”

Celtic fans put a new spin on this when rival Rangers keeper Andy Goram was reportedly suffering from a multiple personality disorder:

“There’s only two Andy Gorams!
Two Andy Gorams!
There’s only two Andy Gorams!
Two Andy Gorams!”

Other Guantanamera chants include;

You couldn’t score in a brothel!
Score in a brothel!
You couldn’t score in a brothel!
Score in a brothel!

Middlesbrough fans got very creative with the tune of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in praise of their Australian striker Mark Viduka:

I heard there was a secret ball,
Southgate dreamed it would beat them all,
But you don’t really play the long ball do ya?
It goes like this, the full pitch width,
Downing’s cross and Boateng’s flick,
The baffled keeper can’t stop Mark Viduka,
Mark Viduka, Mark Viduka,
Mark Viduka, Mark Viduka.

Chelsea fans put some words to a classic terrace tune celebrating the skills of their French defender Frank Leboeuf:

He’s here! He’s there!
He’s every f*cking where
Frank Leboeuf
Frank Leboeuf

But they then changed the second line to ‘We’re not allowed to swear’ after Frank complained about exposing children at the ground to bad language.

The tune Amore was used to both celebrate and then mock the talents of striker Bobby Zamora. When playing for Brighton and Hove Albion he was a prolific goal-scorer and so the home fans chanted:

When the ball hits the net, like an exocet, that’s Zamora!

However later in his career after he moved on from Brighton, his strike rate dropped and opposing fans unkindly chanted;

If you’re sat in row zed, and the ball hits your head, that’s Zamora!

Indicative of the merciless streak of the terraces, when Chelsea assistant coach Graham Rix returned to the Beautiful Game after his jailing for underage sex with a schoolgirl, he was greeted with a version of a Manic Street Preachers song from the fans:

If you tolerate Rix, then your children will be next.

So the lesson, Australia, is that any song can become a supporters’ chant. Stop waiting for someone to issue a songbook. Start using your imaginations and give it a red-hot Aussie go.

And if the bloke next to you in the stands comes up with a half decent chant, take it up and sing it loud and proud – even if you think it’s not very good. Then follow it up with something better. If the crowd agrees, they’ll sing along.

The Barmy Army is coming. If the current Ashes series keeps going the way it’s started we can expect no mercy in the summer. And this is the sort of thing that’s out there already:

I shagged Matilda!
I shagged Matilda!
I shagged Matilda and so did my mates.
She moaned
and she groaned
as she took it up the billabong
I shagged Matilda and so did my mates.

Come on Aussies, really come on. It’s great to sing and holler when our team’s winning. It’s a matter of honour to keep singing through the gloom of defeat when we’re getting that sort of thing directed at us.

There are a couple of things we can learn from the Poms. Their superior use of the Decision Review System and their singing are two good places to start. And, like I said, it’s not like we don’t have a couple of tunes. Try these:

Oh why are the Poms so shite?
They’re crappy as can be!
They can’t bowl and they can’t bat
It’s plain for all to see!

Beating the Pommies
Beating the Pommies
Who’ll come a’beating the Pommies with me?
We’ve got Clarkey, Warner
and the boy Ashton Agar
Who’ll come a’beating the Pommies with me?

You’re getting beat by the land Down Under
See us score, hear us thunder!

And here’s some further inspiration:

The Songbook – Some examples of terrace chants collected by the Guardian in 2001

Wikipedia has a worthwhile entry on chants too.

Top 10 British Football Chants – the Huffington Post perspective

FanChants – a handy index of UK football club chants.

You’re welcome. Now make me proud, Australia.

© Sally Baxter 2013

 

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About Sally Baxter

Once I was a girl reporter. Now I'm an interested observer covering the past, present and future of journalism and whatever else takes my fancy. All views my own.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Come on Aussie, pick a song… any song

  1. There was a song many years ago which I liked .. I think it was for the 2000Olympics .. “I don’t care whoever we beat, As long as we beat New Zealand … ” Andrew Denton.

    Like

    Posted by Buff McMenis | July 30, 2013, 7:36 pm
  2. I’d forgotten about that one! Thanks for the link and the further inspiration. S

    Like

    Posted by Sally Baxter | July 31, 2013, 5:25 am

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