Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
We're Jamming - Part 2
By: Chris Smith
I WENT to watch Altringham versus Oxford one Sunday last September, fancying a day out in Manchester which is a cheap train ride from Donny. I saw they were offering admission for a fiver for United and City season ticket holders and only realised they had extended it to any season after I'd paid to get in.
This was a bit painful as I still had mine in my pocket from the previous day. Anyway, Alty won 1 0 and after scoring the goal, regaled United fans with "you'll be here for ******* years" to the tune of Bread of Heaven and a dig at their unsuccessful efforts to get back into the league. I laughed but then thought the joke could be on us next season given that we were still winless at this point. I cheered myself up with the thought that we could always sing "Come to see the Grimsby, you've only come to see the Grimsby" given that we would probably give them one of their better gates with our travelling support. I spent the game with John, a shareholder in Ebbsfleet, and an American soccer fan although he went only to the non league games. He did collect football shirts and told me he was the proud owner of a Grimsby top. Quality! He was also taken by the variety of chants in England.
Just up the road of course, is Man City. Although they are much disparaged in the excellent Red Issue fanzine which I always pick up in the newsagents by Piccadilly station, their fans have a great line in self mocking and the surreal. I took my brother to a game against Birmingham City, during which City fans chanted "Steve Bruce is the elephant man" to the Go West tune. I particularly like The Invisible Man song which refers to a vital promotion game at Blackburn where City fans took over the ground. Their response to being where they shouldn't be was:
We are not, we're not really here
We are not, we're not really here
Just like the fans that follow the Invisible Man
we're NOT REALLY HERE!
The one I learned off my University friends was "We never win at home and we never win away, MCFC OK!" Now there is a song that could easily have been adapted by Town fans over the last few years. Whilst they do a tremendous rendition of Blue Moon, it is thought to have been sung originally by Crewe fans after a rare win, i.e. something that happened once in a blue moon.
Likewise, I'm not sure whether Sheffield United’s Chip Butty Song is theirs or ours as we started singing it at about the same time. To be fair, the MC at Bramall Lane does get the crowd going with it but I'll always treasure a half page article in the Independent newspaper that a workmate copied for me. This was a write up of the Town v Lincoln game in 1990 which ended up as a 1 0 win for us and our seventh consecutive victory on the way to promotion. The article made much mention of the Pontoon Stand being "packed literally to the rafters" and the belting out of Annie’s Song from which the Chip Butty Song is derived. No doubt about who owns the We p*** on your fish chant though. Unbeatable for the sheer unanswerability of it.
The good thing about football is that it gives you a chance to enjoy showing off a complete ignorance of geography. Bees fans are really into this. When Reading played in the M4 derby at Griffin Park, they were met with "you're Welsh and you know you are" despite being about 25 miles up the road. Of course, Bristol clubs, Hereford and Shrewsbury would get this treatment and I've been only too pleased to continue the tradition. Brighton, by the same standards are French as are any other south coast clubs. I went to see Brentford at Barnsley the day after our 1 0 Friday night win at Northampton, and the home fans were surprised to find out that they were "just a s*** town in Scotland". Continuing the geographical rivalries, I saw Wrexham play at Brentford, and when half time saw Wales losing at rugby, the away fans came in for "are you good at anything?" (Aptly to Bread of Heaven)
I've enjoyed seeing some of the posters on Fishy have old time football chants as their signatures. The first time I heard the Jeremy Bear song was the Gravesend version from about thirty years ago which went:
If you go down to the docks today you're in for a big surprise
If you go down to the docks today, you'll come out with two black eyes
‘Cos Jeremy Bear has shaved his hair
And wears big boots they call Air Wair
Today’s the day he becomes a Gravesend Boot Boy
Or something like that... Not in the best of taste, and therefore very funny. Gravesend WAS bloody rough as well!
Going back to regional rivalry and no reminiscences of chants can ignore the:
You go out
Drink ten pints
Get really plastered
Go back home
Beat the wife
You dirty northern/Yorkshire b******.
When Brentford fans sing this, they do make a creditable effort at the exaggerated accent. We, of course, have been on the receiving end of this and usually responded with a loud round of applause and "It’s nice to know you're here..." I took my sponsor, i.e. my spiritual guide in sobriety to a Bees v Oldham game a few years back and he loved the way they belted this out. Actually, I think he liked it a bit too much when the last word was shouted out for the next minute or so, and reminded him of my birthright, the cockney Chelsea erm, blighter. He is a professional savvaner though, and said he'd go back to Griffin Park anytime, being very taken with the home support. The thing is, I've actually joined in with this chant against Crewe who are from the Midlands in any event. Got carried away as I do. Their crowd is actually very like Town’s when they are both on form.
How did a Town fan come to sing out at Brentford matches? Well, I was a regular watcher of games there and they grew on me. I was stood at the front of the Braemar Road stand having imbibed heavily in many of Hounslow’s hostelries and enjoying a six nil walloping of Plymouth (I think) when some equally drunk Bees fans started singing out of key. I thought I'd join in which invited a chant of "Skinhead skinhead give us a song" (it sounded more like gishashong). I had started getting close cropped hair after discovering a developing bald patch, to my alarm, so their description was quite apt. I think I've said elsewhere that I should never be encouraged so after plenty of banter, I hooked up with these home fans and stood with them at any other home games I attended. A few years later, I ended up with a season ticket on the Ealing Road when I was too ill to really contemplate going to watch Town at home, not that I still didn't see a fair few games. I still see some of them on the rarer occasions I go down there and when fixtures don't clash and am still called Findus or Fin. Really good lads.
The shame about the Ealing Road was that it was uncovered at the time but we convinced ourselves that the other end of the ground could hear us. They had their own version of Blaydon Races which involved QPR becoming a cropper at the hands of the Ealing Road head cases. If the Bees were attacking the Wendy House, we'd get into the Braemar Paddock for a bit more rival chanting and even had the injured hard man Warren Aspinall joining in the song about him, to the tune of Vindaloo:
...and its Warren Aspinall
He’s gonna kick **** out of ..... Fulham!
Hard to believe they were in the same division at one time.
It’s also hard to get used to Brentford being a division above us again, given that the roles were reversed for the majority of the last few decades. I'll be watching a few games, hopefully, next season as Town have already announced some Friday games. I promise not to bring any adapted songs back up north with me, and if you believe that...
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