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Sing Something Simple, You Simple ..…

By: Chris Smith
Date: 12/01/2010

NO prizes for guessing what the last word is. I first heard this chant at the Old Show Ground after some pathetic rendition by the Scunts at a Lincolnshire Cup tie in 1982.

For the younger fans, there was a programme on Radio 2 called Sing Something Simple on a Sunday afternoon. I can't remember the name of the backing singers, neither do I want to, although I think it was the Mike Sam singers, but the show made Junior Choice look sophisticated and I think that programme is responsible for plenty of psychoses in my generation. Imagine starting the weekend with "I'm a pink toothbrush" by Max Bygraves and "Three wheels on my wagon". I nearly reached for my long absent diazepam just typing this. I suppose the three fishes swimming over the dam had a Grimsby connection but I sincerely hope not. Anyway, listeners would make a request and, I've just checked, it was the Mike Sam singers, the talentless hosts would give a rendition of it.

I have to admit that I've now baffled myself. How on earth can I remember c*** like that from over 30 years ago when I can't even do season reviews from the 1990s because my brain cells are so fried courtesy of Somerset’s finest?

I've never forgotten the chant though. It was the perfect slap down for the Scunts then and I have to admit singing it at the Port Vale fans from my seat at the far right (ooer) of the Carlsberg last season. We bought our season tickets for this part of the stand so we could have merciless fun at the expense of the away supporters when we were winning although that has rebounded badly over the last few years. However, at the end of last season, it finally paid off. I was gratified to get a good cheer and a round of applause but what a shame such a great put down chant rarely sees the light of day. Unfortunately, I get worse if I get the green light. My second team, Brentford, have a fantastic line in sarcastic and downright cruel chants and I'm pleased to see that a few have been adopted. So, Sing Something Simple was followed by "Worst support we've ever seen" to the tune of "Where were you at..." This can normally be followed by "We heard you ran from (insert non league team close to victim’s club)" and "you're just a bus stop in..."

My favourite import from West London is the rather tuneless "It’s all your fault" which is chanted at the opposition goalkeeper when he has his back to the mick- taking fans. This was delivered with great aplomb from the Brook Road End at Griffin Park and I was delighted it caught on at Chesterfield in early 2008 when we won 2 1. Their goalkeeper was obviously rattled and kept looking for his tormentors which ended up as most of the Town fans or so it seemed. It has had a few airings since. It actually had the best effect when the Bees played at Scunny in 2005 when their goalkeeper lost it completely, kicking the ball away at a duff refereeing decision and promptly getting booked. Scunny had a slow start to that campaign and as the Bees ran out 3-1 winners, they taunted the home fans with "Your seasons over nananananana trust in me when I say" etc to the "I love you Grimsby, the team/dream in Black and White" (one of our better ones). What a classic day out.

The other good ones on the rare occasions we are on top are "you're not very you're not very you're not very good" with the optional second chorus of "In fact you're (insert insults of choice)". I first heard these dahn sarf as well. When our game at home to Morecambe was called off, Goole Mariner and I went to see the Bees at Lincoln via the Trent Port at Gainsborough, home to the best and cheapest carvery in Lincolnshire. One irate Brentford fan, querying a linesman’s decision for a change, shouted out "Lino, that flag was so late it was (insert expletive) tomorrow (pronounced t’marrah)". Guilty as charged if you hear that at a Town game.

The thing is Town always used to have a great repertoire themselves sometimes which saddens me, as I always harp on about the Pompey take off "...until I die" Big Jim always shouts "So die!" when he hears that one. When I first stood on the Pontoon long before the pre chav era, my favourite was "You couldn't score in a brothel" at some hapless opposition forward. That would have been a good one for N*w*y. It has been nice to hear the Benny the Docker and Bill Shankly chants especially towards the end of last season although they seem to be the intellectual property of my generation of support. I was reminded of another the other day at work when for some reason a colleague started off on the ding-a-ling song and I felt morally obliged to sing the version involving string, a Wednesday fan tied up and what my grandmother told me to do with him.

When I was at University, I was exposed for the first time to the chants from other teams and spent more time fastidiously writing these on folders and on notes when I should have been listening to lectures. I was glad when Freud was discredited as it justified all this unauthorised activity during Sociology lectures. I had about 350 different chants in 1981 and this number was growing rapidly. I read Desmond Morris’ The Soccer Tribe about a year later and he did a survey on Oxford chants, including the music bars (!) but he took the wind out of my sails as I had thought of doing a project on football hooliganism as part of a joint degree including Sociology but it would have seemed to lack originality. A bit like some of the chants nowadays. you'd have to be taking serious quantities of downers to find any artistic merit in that tuneless Danny North dirge.

I actually remember singing "My old man said follow the town" on primary school coach trips although I'd been nowhere near our ground at that time. This chant and others managed to get us a banning order from watching the school team play away after a few naughty ones at Whitgift and Matthew Humberstone with the sixth form senior master saying he no longer wished to hear the "antics of the Pontoon Stand". I never expected to be on report for the first time when I was actually at school voluntarily.

The article continues in Part 2

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