English football fan chants and songs

The best football chants from England

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Come on you Blues
The fans have several specific chants at their disposal to encourage the team to greater efforts of which “Come on, you Blues”
(or whatever colour) is one of the best. At Fratton Park, the chant was often used at points in the game when the home team were
flagging (quite often!), or were under pressure from the opposition. It was always sung very slowly and with feeling, without
clapping. A wonderful echoing effect occurs as the the chant spreads through the crowd.

We are blue, we are white
This was one of several songs where the fans sang for themselves and about themselves, expressing their solidarity, loyalty,
toughness and readiness to fight for their team. Most of these songs date back to the ‘aggro’ days of the 1960′s and 1970′s. At
Fratton Park, this one was sung very rapidly in a strong and punchy style, usually during periods of excitement or following
goals, without clapping.
“We are blue, we are white,

We are fuckin’ dynamite,

La, la, la, la,

La, la, la,

La, la.

The tune comes from the American civil war ballad, “The Caissons Go Rolling Along” by Edmund L. Gruber: “Over hill, over dale,
we have hit the dusty trail, and those caissons go rolling along.” There are several variations of this chant; e.g., “We’ve been
here, we’ve been there. We’ve been every fuckin’ where. La, la, la, la. La, la, la. La, la.” This has the same message as
“Everywhere we go-oh …” though is not so popular. Pompey fans regailed Reading fans with this delightful ditty in 1982-83
season: “Reading boys, make no noise, ‘Cause they play with Tonka toys, La, la, la, la. La, la, la. La, la.” Another variant is
this pre-1983 chant: “West Ham boys, they got brains, They take Millwall on the trains, La, la, la, la. La, la, la. La, la.”
Sing your hearts out for the lads
This was a good song for getting the fans behind the team, particularly if things on the field are not going too well. In the
1980s at Fratton Park it usually began with a leader singing the first line followed quickly by the rest picking up the song.
(Tune Cwm Rhondda)
“Sing your hearts out for the lads,

Sing your hearts out,

Sing your hearts out,

Sing your hearts out for the lads,

Sing your hearts out for the lads.”
Knees up Mother Brown
This was a great fun song, sung with enormous gusto at breakneck speed with the young fans leaping around and pushing one
another until the words . . . “Oh … my!” when they all surged forward in a tangled mass of bodies. The song usually forms part
of a celebratory medley following the scoring of a goal. Tune: Traditional cockney song.
“Knees up, Mother Brown.

Knees up, Mother Brown.

Under the table you must go.

Ee-i, ee-i, ee-i-oh.

If I catch you bending

I’ll saw your legs right off

So, knees up, knees up,

Don’t get the breeze up,

Knees up, Mother Brown.

Oh, my! What a rotten song. Shit!

What a rotten song. Shit!

What a rotten song. Shit!

Oh, my! What a rotten song. Shit!

What a rotten singer too-oo-oo!”

Bobby Campbell’s blue ‘n white ar-my
This was potentially the longest and sometimes the most irritating chant in the fan’s football repertoire. We heard it go on for
several minutes at Fratton Park, as fans endlessly repeat the phrase or pass it back and forth between different locations,
progressively building it up in strength and momentum. The basic chant dates back at least to 1978, when it was recorded by
Nigel Tattersfield (who was Desond Morris’s Research Assistant) at Birmingham City and at Arsenal, but we have no clear record
of its use before this date. The rhythm is present in a number of other chants; e.g., “You’re gonna get your fuckin’ heads
kicked in”.

We first heard the chant during a live TV match between West Ham United and Manchester United in 1983 during which the West Ham
fans kept it going for several minutes at a time. The chant is particularly popular with the Hammers and it seems likely that
they were responsible for starting it in the first place. Pompey fans took up the chant at the beginning of the 1983-84 season
when Bobby Campbell was Pompey’s popular, if not terribly successful, manager. The chant was rarely heard during the subsequent
managership of Alan Ball who never completely lost his “Scummer” tag with Pompey fans. On one occasion at Fratton Park (v.
Charlton Athletic, Dec 26th, 1983) we recorded 40 repetitions of “Bobby Campbell’s blue ‘n white ar-my”, with synchronous
clapping and considerable speeding-up over the final 10 repetitions, before it finally merged into a rousing chorus of “Here we
go”. But on most occasions the chant fades after several repetitions, or is interrupted by a match incident.

The chant became popular with many clubs; e.g, “Stevie Coppell’s red ‘n blue army” was prominent during Crystal Palace’s
promotion season in 1988/89, though it occasionally degenerated into “Stevie Coppell’s drunk and disorderly”! Palace fans also
took to jumping at one another when singing this chant! There are many humorous variations in which the fans poke fun at their
manager in the nicest possible manner. When Terry Venables was in charge of Palace the fans would chant, “Terry Venables’ red ‘n
blue handbag” (or “evening dress”, “high heels”, etc. etc.).


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