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Football Chants and Songs of the early 1980s

(mostly from Portsmouth FC)

 By Brian and William Fellows

 Dedicated to the memory of the Fratton End (d. April 1986)

"Those were the days my friend

We were the Fratton End ..."


All songs and chants recorded in this book come from in the period 1983 to 1986 when Portsmouth was in Division 2. The singing was mainly done by young male fans, aged roughly 16 to 25 years, who traditionally occupied a central section of terracing behind the goal at the Fratton End, i.e., the 'home end'. This was a large covered terrace providing good standing space and acoustics for singing. The opposition fans occupied the open Milton End terrace at the far end of the ground, where they could be readily seen and heard by the Fratton Enders. The ritual repartee between the two sets of fans is an important feature of football singing. At a few clubs (e.g., Manchester City) the singing fans used to stand on a terrace at the side of the ground, but the most favoured place for singing is behind one of the goals. For the sake of brevity we will refer to the main group of young singing fans as the 'choir', though they are a very special sort of choir.

The actual number of singers in the Fratton End choir varied between matches. We would estimate that for well-attended matches, with the Fratton End quite full, there would be in excess of 1,000 singers; but at standard matches the number would probably be around 200. The number of fans actually joining in with a song or chant also varied considerably according to the song and the occasion. At one extreme, at times of great excitement, chants such as the "Pompey Chimes" would be taken up by the majority of fans throughout the ground. At the other extreme, some of the less popular chants would attract the attention of only a handful of fans.


Much of the information for this book has come from tape recordings of the singing using a small hand-held stereo cassette tape recorder. Recording usually began 15 minutes before the start of the game so as to record the prematch singing and finished as the fans dispersed at the end of the game. On some occasions, it was necessary to start recording a considerable time before the start of play to catch all the prematch singing. For example, in the Portsmouth versus Southampton FA Cup tie on 28 January 1984, the singing began about 1½ hours before kick-off. All recordings were subsequently transcribed, the songs and chants written down together with time of occurrence and precipitating event, if any.

We also recorded the singing of Pompey fans on away grounds, though generally speaking we have found that such singing tends to be less coordinated and of poorer quality than that heard at Fratton Park. However, there were some notable exceptions.


Here is an edited extract of the recordings from the FA Cup game against local rivals Southampton on 28 January 1984. It contains many of the songs and chants described in this book. Most of the singing occurred in the prematch period, as was the case in those days. Note, in particular, the complete absence of the loud drumming which makes concerted singing these days at Fratton Park impossible.

Here is a link to the recording on You Tube . . .


We must now to relate the demise of the Fratton End which almost put an end to singing at Fratton Park and which terminated the main part of our research at the end of the 1985-86 season. When we began in the 1982-83 season the Fratton End was a large covered terrace, with lower and upper sections, accomodating about 10,000 standing fans. But, towards the end of the 1985-86 season, in April 1986 the larger upper section of terrace, where the main home choir used to stand, was closed following a report over the safety of its supporting pillars. Despite many promises from the, then, Chairman, John Deacon, that the Fratton End would be restored and re-opened, it was not and the upper section remained closed. Fans, like us, who had stood in the same place on the terrace for many years and who met up with others only on a Saturday afternoon were dispossessed. Some of the young singers moved forward onto the smaller and cramped lower terrace where the view of the pitch was poor, others migrated across to the North Terrace, but many left the Park for ever.


The Pompey Chimes

There is little doubt that spontaneous collective singing at football matches, as opposed to organised community-type singing, has a very long history. An early example, noted by Tony Mason (Ref 1) in his excellent history of the game, occurred before the 1891 Cup Final when supporters of Blackburn Rovers sang "We've won the cup before - many a time", to which the supporters of Notts County replied with jeers and jibes.

The best evidence we have of collective singing prior to the modern era comes from those special and well-loved songs that have had a long association with particular clubs. For example, "I'm forever blowing bubbles" has been sung at Upton Park by West Ham supporters since the 1920's, and "On the ball, City" has been linked with Norwich City since the beginning of the century. But the song with the longest history of all, is the famous "Pompey Chimes" of Portsmouth FC.

There is no doubt that the Chimes, in some form or other, has been sung at Fratton Park since the formation of Portsmouth Football Club in 1898. Local newspaper reports of Pompey's games during their first season in the Southern League Division 1 in 1899-1900 frequently referred to the singing of what was then called the "Town Hall Chimes".

The first reference to the singing of the Chimes at Fratton Park was in a report of a home match against Brighton United on Saturday, September 23rd, 1899. The banks and stands were packed with 9,000 supporters who gave the visitors "... their first taste of the 'Town Hall Chimes' following a shot by the Brighton inside forward, Mercer, which went a long way wide". The "Shrimps", as Pompey were usually referred to, in their salmon pink shirts, won the game 3-1 and the second goal "... was the signal for enthusiastic cheers and more 'Town Hall Chimes'" (Ref 2).

On Saturday 28th October, Portsmouth were at home to Swindon in a preliminary round of the English Cup (forerunner of the FA Cup). Spectators began arriving by 1 o'clock and by 2 o'clock the main stand was full. The Town Band played and both teams were greeted enthusiatically. Pompey trailed 0-1 at half time, but in the second half they equalised and then went ahead through Cunliffe amid more vociferous cheers and "Town Hall Chimes galore" (Ref 3).

Pompey were well supported in those early days and also enjoyed a substantial following at away games, although this sometimes did lead to trouble. For example, on Saturday December 9th 1899 some 500 Pompey fans took advantage of a cheap trip arranged by the Dockyard Excursion Committee to travel to Bristol for a match against Bedminster. At the conclusion of the match, which Pompey won 2-1,some boilermakers from Portsmouth Dockyard who had been waving their banner and cheering vociferously during the game, were set upon by some of the Bristol spectators and several were severely mauled. The flag was rescued after it had been torn from the staff, which was broken. (Ref 4).

The Dockyard boilermakers were loyal supporters of Pompey in those early days and a section of the ground at Fratton Park (the northern corner of the Milton End) was known as the 'boilermakers' hump' where they used to congregate.

Although it is not clear what words were sung to the Chimes in those early days, the official Portsmouth Football Club Handbook for the 1900-1901 season printed the following verse, which is probably a good guide to what they were:

"Play up, Pompey,

Just one more goal;

Make tracks! What ho!

Hallo! Hallo!


The expression "Play up" was a very popular one in the 1890's and the final "Bong!" presumably echoed the chiming of the hour. The presence of the words "Hallo! Hallo!" in the original Chimes is confirmed by an amusing story reported in the Portsmouth Evening News of December 8th, 1899 concerning 23 year old John Tonks, who was in court charged with using obscene language at 1 o'clock in the morning in Commercial Road. Several witnesses were called and one said that Tonks and others were only singing the "Pompey Chimes". The newspaper went on to say that the magistrates asked for a demonstration of the song and the witness "... willingly obliged by singing 'Hallo! Hallo!' amid much laughter in court". Unfortunately, the singing was not enough to get Tonks off and he was fined 4s 6d plus 10s 6d costs! (Ref 5)

There are many theories about the origins of the nickname "Pompey" for the city of Portsmouth. The one we like is that it began as the nickname for the football club and afterwards was adopted as the nickname for the city.

The main question that remains is why the Chimes came to be sung at Fratton Park in the first place. The best theory is that they were brought to the ground when Portsmouth began playing there in the 1899-1900 season by supporters of the disbanded Royal Artillery Football Club (RA), which had been the leading football club in Portsmouth in the 1890's.

The RA played their home games on the United Services ground, which is very close to the Guildhall (then called the Town Hall), and attracted crowds of about 2,000. The original Town Hall was completed in 1890 and the Westminster chimes of its clock must have been clearly heard by spectators on the United Services Ground.

Evidence that the RA supporters may have sung along with the chimes of the clock comes from a letter from an old RA supporter in the Portsmouth Football Mail of Saturday, January 8th, 1949. He recalled watching a game on the United Services Ground when he was only 16 and admission was 2d. The Town Hall clock chimes the quarter and, in those days, referees relied on the clock for the time the game should last. Full time was at 4 o'clock and at 2 or 3 minutes to four the RA were leading, but hard pressed, so the crowd at Reilly's goal kept lilting in unison with the chimes of the hour, apparently with the idea of reminding the referee to blow his whistle for full time. (Ref 6). It is interesting to note that the singing came from behind the goal, which is, of course, where most of the singing originates in modern football grounds (the "home end").

The RA club was disbanded in 1899 following an alleged violation of amateur rules in the English Cup; but, some of their players, including the goalkeeper, Reilly, joined the newly formed and fully professional, Portsmouth Football Club. It would be surprising if some of their supporters, their appetites whetted for good quality football, did not follow them to Fratton Park, taking the Chimes with them. The words could then have been added as a means of support for the new club.

The present version of the Chimes dates back at least to the 1920's when some of Pompey's more elderly fans remember it being sung as it is now. To hear the Chimes echoing around Fratton Park is one of the finest sounds in modern football. One can also hear it clearly around the city during matches at Fratton Park when the wind is in the right direction. You can even hear the singing from Hayling Island! The tune of the Chimes is a slightly modified version of the Westminister Chimes.

"Play up Pom - pey, Pom - pey play up

Play up Pom - pey, Pom - pey play up"

The Chimes may be sung at any time during a game or during the prematch period though it is most frequently used as an encouragement to the team following the award of a corner, or a free kick near to goal. Unlike many other supportive chants the Chimes is never accompanied by clapping, but the fans often point in unison towards the team as they sing each line.

The basic tune of the Chimes is also used in a number of other chants, including, "Bye, bye, (Brighton)", "Five-one, five-one", "Fuck off, (Scummers)" and "Oo-ar, oo-ar" (West Country teams). Pompey fans also have a 'snarl' version of the Chimes, usually in response to the opposition singing. Certain other clubs sing a version of the Chimes, for example, "Ee-oh, Oxford, Oxford, ee-oh".

The tune of the Chimes is used in a totally different context by the Girl Guides as a prayer at the end of a meeting. Apparently, this originates from a military bugle call, "Taps". In the Guides version, the girls stand in a circle with their eyes closed and sing:

"Oh Lord, our God,

Thy children call,

Grant us thy peace,

Till the sunrise.


Fratton Park in the 1920's and 1930's

Apart from the Chimes, very little is known about the singing during the early days at Fratton Park. Elderly fans whose memories go back to the 1920's and 1930's say how different Fratton Park was in those days, with no segregation of fans and no hooliganism. A couple of fans, worse for drink, might come to blows, but there was little in the way of group aggression; everything was casual and easy-going. The sailors in the crowd used to cheer for the opposition team "as a matter of principle", and young lads were allowed to sit on the grass just inside the touchline. What idyllic days they were, to be sure!

Spontaneous singing was very sparse apart from the Chimes which was sung at most matches. Certainly, there was nothing of the continuous singing and chanting that so typifies the contemporary game. However, some fans have vivid memories of singing "To be a farmer's boy" for Pompey's popular centre forward, Billy Haines, as he came out onto the field in the 1920's. The song referred to Billy's farming background in Somerset.

Billy Haines was certainly a great character and was well-liked by Pompey fans; rather like Alan Biley in the early 1980s. Billy had an unusual method of penalty taking; he never ran up to kick the ball, but he used to put it on the spot and then bend down as though to study it, before banging it into the net without moving. He deceived many a goalkeeper with that trick. Billy was the club's leading goalscorer from 1923 to 1928 when he moved up the road to Southampton. During that time he scored 128 goals in 180 league and cup games.

Supporters' Club Songs of the 1950's

The Portsmouth London Supporters' Club (still going strong today) was an important source of songs in the 1950's, which were sung mainly on coach trips to away grounds. Their 'official' song went as follows:

"We're all right, merry and bright,

We've all had a jolly good time.

With a heave-ho and a wakey-wakey,

Whether you're a tar or a dockyard matey,

Don't be downhearted, cheer them on their way,

With a 1-2-3-4, Pompey! Hip hip hooray!"

In the late 1950's and early 1960's, Barry Harris, who was then the sailor-suited Pompey mascot and who later became the "over-age" ball-boy at Fratton Park, was mainly responsible for leading the singing of the Pompey fans at away matches. Barry had several favourite songs for the long coach trips, mostly unconnected with football, many mildly obscene, but all very humorous. Here are a couple from his repertoire:

"Virgin sturgeon needs no urgin',

Virgin sturgeon's a very fine fish;

Virgin sturgeon needs no urgin',

That's why cavair is my dish.

I gave caviar to my cockerel,

And my cockerel nearly died;

I gave caviar to my cockerel,

Now my hens are satisfied!


Be I 'ampshire, be I buggery,

I comes up from Fareham.

My old girl's got fifteen kids,

And she knows how to bear 'em."

During this era another song with local flavour was sung by lads from the housing estate of Paulsgrove, which went something like this:
"We are the Paulsgrove boys

Respected wherever we go.

We spends our tanners,

We minds our manners.

Put that fucking Woodbine out!"

The following two chants were popular with the fans in the late 1950's and early 1960's and tended to be sung together:


Who d'ya think we're shouting for?





Who do we appreciate?



Several football songs and chants were included by Iona and Peter Opie in their book 'The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren' (Ref 7), including the "Two, four, six, eight" chant, which was popular in many sports and regions in the 1950's. Although the chant is no longer part of the modern football repertoire, there is a variation in which the name of the club is spelled out letter by letter by a leader with the main chorus replying.

During this period some fans recall standing behind the goal at Fratton Park and throwing sweets to goalkeeper, Norman Upritchard, and moving up the other end at half time. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to move so freely around the ground due to the many barriers and police restrictions on the movement of fans. Also, it is likely that these fans would now be arrested for throwing missiles onto the field!

Fratton Park in the 1960's

The Fratton End was a fairly peaceful place in the 1950's and most of the singing tended to come from the halfway line where the Supporters' Club gathered. This all changed in the 1960's when the Fratton End began to attract large numbers of young fans who adopted it as their 'Kop'. Some trouble also arose from the conflict of home and away fans who were all mixed in together. Strict segregation of home and away fans at Fratton Park was not introduced until the 1970's when visiting fans were accomodated at the Milton End of the ground.

Except for one season in Division 3 (1961-62), Pompey spent all of the 1960's in Division 2. Their most successful season was 1967-68 when they were serious promotion contenders until the end of Febuary, but they ran out of steam and finally finished 5th. This was the decade of the Beatles and of the explosion of singing and chanting on Liverpool's Spion Kop. We don't have much definite evidence about the singing of the Fratton Enders in the 1960's, but we suspect it followed much the same pattern as that of the rest of the country, with the rapid spread of football songs and chants.

One strong memory we have is of the young fans kicking the metal fencing, which used to run along the back of the Fratton End stand, to the rhythm: This chant was still popular in the 1990s, but the metal fencing had long since gone, so the fans clapped the rhythm, or sometimes a horn got the chant going.

"X X XXX XXXX Portsmouth"

A popular song during Pompey's brief flirtation with promotion in 1967-68 was an adaptation of Keith West's famous pop song "Excerpt from a Teenage Opera", referring to manager, George Smith:

"Mr Smith, Mr Smith,

Is it true

What they say

We're gonna win Division To-oo?"

A favourite from the early 1960's, when Pompey and Saints were both in Division 2, is a version of 'John Brown's Body' referring to Southampton's star player Terry Paine, which went as follows:

"Terry Paine's body lies a moaning in the Dell,

Terry Paine's body lies a moaning in the Dell,

Terry Paine's body lies a moaning in the Dell,

And the Blues go marching on, on, on."

Another 'golden oldie' from 1967-68 season is an adaption of the Carmen Miranda Forties' pop hit song "Ay, ay, ay, ay", now usually sung to the words "We all agree, Nottingham Forest (or whoever) are magic". The Fratton Enders' somewhat unrealistic lyrics went as follows:

"Ay, ay, ay, ay,

Milkins is better than Yashin.

Trebilcock is better than Eusebio,

And Millwall are in for a thrashin'."

Charles Barber who has been a Pompey fan since around 1956 and is still a proud PFC season ticket holder and shareholder, pointed out one song missing from the 1960's list, though he does add that it never really caught on.

To the tune of the Beetles "She Loves you…'

"Now down at Fratton Park

We cheer the boys in blue

The older side looks dark when we've scored one or two

because it's Pompey

And you know you know they can't be bad

And it's Pompey

And you know you should be glad

Pompey yeah yeah yeah

Pompey yeah yeah yeah

Pompey yeah yeah yeah yeah!"


Football songs and chants can broadly be divided into two main types, supportive and negative. Supportive songs and chants are those in which the fans sing their praises to their team in a positive manner. These are the most popular and widely heard chants and are the most effective for generating atmosphere in a ground.

In contrast, negative songs and chants pour scorn, abuse and derision upon the opposition team and their fans. These chants are often witty, biting and aggressive, though when looked at in the context of the match as a whole their bark is much worse than their bite. We shall look first at the main supportive chants, with particular reference to those popular at Portsmouth during the 1970s and early 1980s, though they can still be heard on many grounds in the 1990s.

There are many songs used by the fans to praise the team and to celebrate victory. Some of the following were accompanied by synchronous hand clapping on the beat, thus adding to the atmosphere and keeping the singers together. Here are some of the best we heard at Fratton Park.

We love you, Portsmouth, we do

This was probably the most popular song of praise of the 1980s. It was sung at any time during the game, but was most common during periods of exciting attacking play or following goals. It was sung with great feeling and usually repeated several times together with synchronised hand clapping.

"We love you, Portsmouth, we do

We love you, Portsmouth, we do.

We love you, Portsmouth, we do.

Oh, Portsmouth we love you."

This reached a peak of popularity in the mid-1980's, but its origins are a mystery. We first heard it at Fratton Park sung by Sheffield Wednesday fans in their promotion season in 1983, though we are not sure whether they actually started it. Steve Addison (a Preston fan) believes he heard it at Anfield in the mid-1970's, but if this is the case it took a long time for the song to catch on generally. Mike Ticher (founding editor of "When Saturday Comes" and Chelsea fan) thinks some credit should go to the Chelsea fans for its popularity though he thinks it may have started at Manchester City in the 1983-84 season. Wednesday fans were also heard singing it during the televised FA Cup game against Southampton in March 1984, though it did not become generally popular until the 1984-85 season when it could be heard on pretty well all grounds. At Fratton Park it became the most popular song (apart from the Chimes) in that season. Its popularity has declined subsequently though it can still b heard at most clubs.

We have not been able to identify the tune, but one theory is that it came from a locally released record on Merseyside in the 1970's called "We love you Beatles, we do" sung by a female pop group. There are several variations of the basic song. It was often used at Portsmouth in the mid 1980's as a player greeting for Noel Blake: "We love you Blakey, we do, Oh, Blakey, we love you". It was also turned on the opposition, particularly following goals against the home team, e.g., "We hate you, Brighton, we do, Oh, Brighton, we hate you".  

And it's Portsmouth City

This song is one of the popular in the football repertoire and is typically sung with great feeling by large numbers of fans in celebration of a goal or in anticipation of victory. It is sung fairly slowly with the emphasised words being drawn out and accompanied by clenched fists punched into the air. Here is the Portsmouth version

"And it's Ports-mouth City,

Ports-mouth City F.C.

We're by far the greatest city

The world has ever seen."

Variations occur at different clubs. Here is a version sung by Chelsea:

 "And it's super Chelsea,

Super Chelsea, F.C.,

We're by far the greatest te-eam,

The world has ever seen."

 The tune comes from an old folk song called "The Wild Rover" which tells the tale of a young man reformed from drinking. The football song uses only the tune from the chorus, the original words of which are as follows:

 And it's no, nay, never;
No, nay, never, no more
Will I play the wild rover,
No, never, no more.

Glory, glory, Portsmouth FC

The "Glory, glory" song was Tottenham Hotspur's famous anthem from the early 1960's, but is now part of the general football song repertoire. At Fratton Park, the second verse is sometimes sung on its own. It is the sort of song that can occur at any time during a match or during the prematch period, but is most usually heard when the fans are celebrating a goal. It is sung with great feeling and the final "ON! ON! ON!" is punched out vigorously with fists into the air. The final chorus is often repeated and accompanied by synchronous clapping. The tune comes from the traditional American hymn, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", or more commonly known as, "John Brown's Body".

"Mine eyes have seen the glory

Of the gates at Fratton Park.

Mine eyes have seen the glory

Of the gates at Fratton Park.

Mine eyes have seen the glory

Of the gates at Fratton Park.

And the blues go marching ... ON! ON! ON!

Glory, glory, Portsmouth F.C.

Glory, glory, Portsmouth F.C.

Glory, glory, Portsmouth F.C.

And the blues go marching ... ON! ON! ON!"

 According to Spurs' historian Phil Soar (Ref 8), the song made its first appearance at White Hart Lane in the 1960/61 season when Tottenham achieved the League and FA Cup double. Bill Nicholson, Spurs' manager at that time, also recalls the anthem in his autobiography "Glory, Glory" (1983), but dates its first appearance a year later. Nicholson describes it thus: "A new sound was heard in English football in the 1961/62 season. It was the hymn 'Glory, Glory, Hallelujah' being sung by 60,000 fans at White Hart Lane in our European Cup matches. I do not know how it started, or who started it, but it took over the ground like a religious feeling."


We will follow the Portsmouth

The Spurs' anthem, more than any other, marked the beginning of the new era in football singing, heralding a torrent of new songs and chants, first at Anfield, Liverpool, then across the country as a whole. The following song is sung typically when the game is going well. The opening verse is usually sung by a small group of voices with more and more progressively joining in until the invitation, "All together, now!" when, hopefully, the full chorus joins in, with synchronous hand clapping.

"We will follow the Portsmouth

Over land and sea ... And Sainsbury's!

We will follow the Portsmouth

Where ever they may be.

All together, now ... " (repeat chorus)

 There are several variations in wording. For example, instead of "and Sainsbury's", Chelsea and Arsenal sing "and Leicester". Also, the words "On to v-ic-tory" are more common than "Where ever they may be". The tune comes from Edward Elgar's, "Land of Hope and Glory".


You are my Portsmouth

This is another happy and optimistic song, delivered with great feeling and gusto by the fans when their team is winning comfortably, is "You are my ... " It is usually begun by a leader who sings the first line with the main body of fans quickly taking up the rest of the song. The "la, la's" are accompanied by synchronous clapping and tend to fade away. Tune: "You are my sunshine" by J.Davis and C.Mitchell. Chelsea used to have a version in which the whole song was "la-la"ed.

"You are my Portsmouth, my only Portsmouth,

You make me hap-py, when skies are grey.

You'll never no-tice, how much I love you,

Until you take .. my Portsmouth .. a-way.

La, la, la, la, la.

La, la, la, la, la.

La, la, la, la, la.

La, la, la, la, la ..." (fading)

Oh, when the Blues

This is one of several chants in the football repertoire which is initiated by a leader. Leading is an art and the right moment has to be choosen to begin the chant. The fans need to be well aroused, but there must also be a slight lull in the crowd noise so that the leader's voice can be readily heard. If the conditions are right then the chant will be readily taken up by the main chorus. The tune is the traditional jazz tune: "When the Saints go marching in".

 Leader: "Oh, when the Blues"

Chorus: "Oh, when the Blues"

Leader: "Go marching in"

Chorus: "Go marching in"

Chorus: "Oh, when the Blues go marching in.

I wanna be in that number,

When the Blues go marching in."

 Like most football chants this one is sung very rapidly and vigorously with the fans clapping synchronously on the beat with their hands held aloft. In the event of the chant being repeated, which may happen if the fans are very excited, then the leader is dispensed with and the intro is sung by the whole chorus. The chant is popular at most clubs where the appropriate club colour or nickname will be used instead of "Blues". Also, Chelsea sing "steaming in" instead of "marching in". At Southampton the original "Saints" is used.


In Portsmouth's fair city

This is another popular classic and is a good sign of a happy and confident mood among the fans. It used to be sung as part of the celebration song medley following a goal and in anticipation of victory. The clapping sequence is executed very rapidly and may be repeated, and on the final exclamation "Portsmouth!" the fans fling both hands outwards in the air. Tune: "Cockles and Mussels" (a traditional Irish song).

 "In Portsmouth's fair city

Where the girls are so pretty

I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,

As she wheeled her wheelbarrow

Through streets broad and narrow

Singing ...

X X XXX XXXX Portsmouth!"


You'll never walk alone

This is the most well known of all football anthems. It is the 'official' Liverpool anthem from the hit record made by Gerry and the Pacemakers in 1963. The story of its adoption by the Anfield Kop apparently relates to an occasion when the Liverpool players sang it on a TV show together with Gerry and the Pacemakers. The fans quickly identified with the song and took it onto the Kop where it has remained ever since. The song is usually repeated several times with the second verse being punctuated by synchronous clapping (XX):

"Walk on .. walk on,

With hope .. in your hearts

And you'll ne-ver walk a-lone,

You'll ne-ver walk a-lone.

Walk on (XX) walk on (XX)

With hope (XX) in your arms (XX)

And you'll ne-(XX)-ver walk (XX) alone,

You'll ne-(XX)-ver walk (XX) alone"

 Although the song is primarily linked with Liverpool it is now popular with fans throughout the country. When scarves went out of fashion, the fans used to wave their hands to and fro, or punch their fists into the air in time with the song. The first verse is typically sung slowly and with much feeling, with the fans holding their scarves horizontally above their heads and swaying from side to side. When engaged in by many thousands of fans at an arena such as Wembley, this creates a superb atmosphere. The second verse (not obligatory) is sung much more quickly and in a more punchy style rapid hand clapping interspersed with the words. A truncated and threatening version of the song is sometimes sung in response to the celebrations of opposition fans, "You'll never walk again ...".


We'll support you ever more

This is another song dating back to the early 1960's. The tune is taken from the Welsh hymn "Cwm Rhondda" (or "Bread of Heaven"), which is traditionally sung by the Welsh crowd before international rugby matches at Cardiff Arms Park. The tune is popular in the football repertoire and is used with a large variety of lyrics.

 "We'll support you e-ver-more,

We'll support you e-ver-more.

Por-or-orts-mouth, Por-or-orts-mouth,

We'll support you e-ver-more,

We'll support you e-ver-more."

 A leader usually sings the first line with the full chorus quickly joining in with hand clapping on the beat. As well as a general expression of praise and encouragement, this song is also used to express the fans' loyalty to their team when things are not going too well.

 We're proud of you

This is sung with much sincere feeling, usually towards the end of a hard-fought match in which the team have given good account of themselves, and have played well against strong opposition, even if they have lost. The tune is the traditional Scottish air "Auld Lang Syne" which is used in a large number of other football is often repeated with synchronous hand clapping.

 "We're proud of you, we're proud of you,

We're proud of you, Portsmouth!

We're proud of you, we're proud of you,

We're proud of you, Portsmouth."


Here we go

This must be the most familiar of all football chants, though was not heard on the terraces at Fratton Park until the 1983-84 season. It may have had its origins in Scotland, though exactly how and where we are not sure.

"Here we go, here we go, here we go,

Here we go, here we go, here we go-oh,

Here we go, here we go, here we go,

Here we go, here .. we .. go."

"Here we go" chant is not restricted to football. It is also sung in several other sports, particularly, one-day cricket, rugby league and boxing, and it may also be heard on the picket-line and in political and social demonstrations, where solidarity and togetherness is demanded. Continental football fans also sing a version in broken English! The tune comes from the third theme of the march "Stars and Stripes Forever" by American composer J.P.Sousa.

During a game the chant most commonly occurs following good attacking play or a goal, and in exciting situations, such as, near misses, penalties, corners and free kicks. The usual length of the chant is one full verse plus one or two lines of a repeat, then fading away. The singing is typically accompanied by synchronous clapping in the beat.


Jingle bells

This was one of the great fun songs on the terraces at Fratton Park with the fans bundling around into ane another.

 "Jingle bells, jingle bells,

Jingle all the way.

Oh, what fun it is to see

Portsmouth win away."

 There are two versions. The first, ending with "Portsmouth win away", was sung by the fans at away games. The second version, ending with "(opposition team) lose away" was sung at home games following a goal for the home club.


We're on the march

A number of songs and chants in the football repertoire are reserved specially for cup games and are rarely sung on other occasions. "We're on the march" is one of these. It first came into the football repertoire in 1978, as the "official" song of Scotland fans going to the World Cup finals in Argentina. The original words "We're on the march with Ally's army" referred to Ally McLeod the, then, Scotland team manager. In domestic football the song is usually reserved for cup games, with the final at Wembley stadium.

 "We're on the march with Bobby's army,

We're all going to Wem-ber-ley,

And we'll really shake 'em up

When we win the FA Cup,

'Cause Portsmouth are

The greatest football team."

 It was typically sung with considerable rhythm and gusto, either in the prematch period, or during the game itself if victory appears imminent. The tune taken from the popular children's hymn, "Jesus died for all the children". The song was particularly popular with Pompey fans in the 1983-84 season when Bobby Campbell was team manager.


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.).

Those were the days, my friend

This is a splendidly unifying football song, dating back to the late 1960's in which the fans sing of their loyalty and fighting prowess. It was always sung with a great deal of gusto when the fans are in happy and confident mood about the state of the game. A leader often started the ball rolling with "Those were ... " at which point the rest of the fans quickly join in with synchronous clapping. The following version was sung at Fratton Park:

 "Those were the days, my friend,

We are the Fratton End,

We'll sing and dance

Forever and a day.

We lead the life we choose

We fight and never lose

Those were the days ...

Oh, yes! Those were the days.

La, la, la, la, la, la.

La, la, la, la, la, la.

La, la, la, la,

La, la, la, la, la, la ... " (fading)

 The tune is "Those were the days my friend", a number 1 hit song in 1968, written by Gene Raskin and recorded by Mary Hopkins.

The following version was reported by Simon Jacobson at Chelsea in 1975.

 "We are the Shed, my friends.

We took the Stretford End.

We'll sing and dance

And do it all again.

We live the life we choose,

We fight and never lose,

For we're the Shed ...

Oh, yes! We are the Shed."

Simple supportive chants

A very popular form of team chant is that in which the fans simply call out in unison the name (or nickname) of their team. Here are some typical examples of this type of chant. Clapping is shown as X-X-Xs.

At Fratton Park, a popular chant, at least until the late 1980s was the club name split into three distinct syllables, "Pee-orts-muf", with the middle syllable being held on slightly longer than the others. The fans typically threw their arms into the air as they called the team name and clapped with their hands above their heads. The whole operation, if performed well, was impressive to the eye and the ear. The chant dates back to the early 1960's and is typically used to express praise or encouragement following a good attack or a goal, though it may be used at any time during the game for general encouragement.

"Pee-orts-muf! XXX"

Other clubs had their own version of this chant, with the appropriate club name substituted; e.g., "The Arse-nal", "U-ni-ted". In those cases where the club name had only two syllables the chant was simplified to eg, "Chel-sea", "Pal-ace", etc.

Another very popular general encouragement chant in which the fans executed a very rapid and well-synchronised clapping rhythm with the hands held above the head, followed by the club name being shouted out loud with both arms flung outwards.

"X X XXX XXXX Portsmouth"

This chant also made an impressive display and the degree of synchrony that can be achieved by several hundred fans was really quite impressive. The chant was usually repeated several times when celebrating a good attack or a goal, or when welcoming the team onto the field. It was often initiated by a fan with a horn, who honks out the basic clap rhythm which the rest of the fans quickly took up.

The "na, na ,na" chant, if done properly, was great for creating atmosphere: it began fairly quietly, and gradually emerged from the background crowd noise as more and more fans joined in. It was sung slowly and with feeling and repeated more than once.

"Na,na,na. Na, na, na, na. Na,na na,na. Portsmouth"

It takes its tune from the long refrain at the end of the Lennon and McCartney song "Hey Jude" (1968) and probably has its origins at Anfield. At Fratton Park the the fans used to throw their arms out as they sang the final "Portsmouth". The chant is repeated several times and was sung at any point in the match when the fans scented victory for their team.

The increasing influence of Italian songs was evident in this popular team chant of the 1980s: It became familiar following TV coverage of the European Athletics Championships in Rome in the summer of 1987, when the Italian crowd were heard singing it to encourage their athletes. In the following season it made its appearance on most British football terraces.

"O-le, o-le, o-le, o-le, Ports-mouth, Ports-mouth"

There were many variations: e.g., following their Div 1 championship season in 1986/87 Everton sang Ole, ole, ole, ole, We are champs, we are champs. A Bristol City version went, Ole, ole, ole, ole, Bris-tol Ci-ty. And, in the 1988-89 season, when Cardiff's away games were all-ticket, City fans adapted the chant as follows: Ole, ole, ole, ole, You'll never ban, a City fan.

"Pompey, Pompey, Ra, Ra, Ra"

This had a small but devoted following over the years at Fratton Park. It sounded rather like a parody of public school-type chanting, though it can be heard on the the BBC record 'The Day War Broke Out' from the Tommy Handley show as "ITMA, ITMA, Ra, Ra, Ra".

"Bring on the champions XX XX X "

This chant was sung just before the home team came onto the field of play at the beginning of the game. It was only heard during big games with a large and excited crowd and followed by synchronised clapping to the same rhythm.

Football fans are notoriously loyal to their local region and express this loyalty in a number of ways. A recent addition to this list would be "I'm Portsmouth 'til I die".  

"One team in Hampshire"

This was usually directed towards Southampton fans that might be watching on TV. Tune of Guantanamera.

"Southerners, la, la, la"

This was usually reserved for visiting fans from the north. The singing was often accompanied by a considerable amount of good natured pushing and bundling, rather similar to that in "Knees up Mother Brown". The tune is an abbreviated version of the theme from the children's TV programme of the 1970's called "Banana Splits".

"Sea, sea, sea-siders"

This chant was sung very quickly, punching the syllables out in an aggressive fashion. The manner of delivery of this chant gives it a distinctly threatening connotation. In this sense it is quite unlike the "Southerners" chant which is sung in a carefree lilting style. The rhythm is identical to the clapping rhythm in "X X XXX XXXX Portsmouth!"

Optimism singing

Many chants and songs are used to express optimism about the outcome of the present game or the campaign. Some are reserved for those periods of the game when the team is doing well and look like winning; e.g., "We will win, we will win, we will win" and "We have won, we have won, we have won" (Tune: 'Stars and Stripes').  "Score in a minute" usually followed a period of attacking play. Tune: 'Cwm Rhondda'.

"Score in a minute,

We're gonna score in a minute,

Score in a minute,

We're gonna score in a minute."

 Chelsea fans in the Shed made good use of the tune "Michael row the boat ashore" in a number of celebratory chants; e.g., "Chelsea two, Fulham nil, allelu-jah. Chelsea two, Fulham nil, allelu-u-jah." Goals for Chelsea were accompanied by considerable leaping around and dancing followed by a rendering of "Eee-i-oh, Eee-i-oh, Eee-i-oh, Eee-i-oh. Eee-i-oh, Eee-i-oh, Eee-i-oh, Eee-i-oh".

 Fans gave vent to their frustrations by means of several collective chants. The team was urged on with "Get into 'em", "Attack, attack, attack, attack, attack". Advice to the manager would result in "Bring on Nicky Morgan" (or other substitute), "Take off Scott McGarvey (or some other player), or "Campbell, can you hear us?" (all to Conga). In desperation fans will call for the head of the manager or the chairman: e.g., "Campbell out", "Deacon out". More severe expressions of frustration would result in "What the fuck is going on?" (Cwm Rhondda), "What a load of rubbish". At Chelsea, the Shed would urge their team to "Come on, Chelsea" or more urgently "Wake up, Chelsea" (to Auld Lange Syne). When things are going so badly they couldn't get worse, the fans become resigned and sing: "We only sing when we're losing", (Guantanamera), "You should see us when we win" (Cwm Rhondda) or "We don't care, we don't care, we don't care" (Stars and stripes).

 "Oh, we are saying, give us a goal"

This is a very plaintive plea for a goal using the tune "Give peace a chance" Or the fans call for yet more goals: "We want five, we want five",

Consolation singing

Towards the end of a game in which the team has been well beaten the fans may resort to consolation singing to cheer themselves up. A good illustration of this occurred during the second half of the 4th Round FA Cup tie between Wimbledon and Portsmouth at Plough Lane on the 31st of January 1987. Pompey had been completely outplayed and were 3-0 down by half-time. The Portsmouth team were jeered off the field at half-time with the chant "What a load of rubbish" by their 5,000 fans who had travelled to see the game.

The Pompey fans' despair was completed by Wimbledon's fourth goal scored 15 minutes into the second half and the immediate response was to chant "What a load of rubbish" at the humiliated team. But this goal signalled the fans' final capitulation. They had lost so they may as well have a bit of fun. They began by mockingly echoing some of the chants of the jubliant Wimbledon fans: "Four-nil, four-nil, four-nil, four-nil", "Alan, Alan, what's the score?" (i.e. Alan Ball), "We're not singing any more",

A disallowed Portsmouth goal 20 minutes from the end of the game triggered a spate of consolation singing from the Pompey fans, completely unrelated to any events taking place on the pitch. The game was lost so what the hell! Lets have a sing-song. Firstly, the fans claimed the disallowed goal with "Four-one, four-one, four-one, four-one", then a little later they launched into "Four-two" following a near miss! Most of the songs during this period were of the general supportive type, usually found in a celebration medley in a game well won. Anyone listening to the fans during this period and not knowing the score might naturally assume that Pompey were winning easily.


 Player Support

"Alan, Alan, Alan Knight" . . . (Some folks .. sigh)

"There's only one (Alan Biley)" . . . (Guantanamera)

"Hate-ley, Hate-ley" . . . (Chant)

"Oh, Oh, Oh, (Nicky Morgan)" . . . (Kiss him goodbye)

"You ain't seen nothing like the Mighty Quinn ". . .(Mighty Quinn)

"He's fat, he's round, he's worth a million pounds, Micky Quinn, Micky Quinn" . . . (Quartermaster's Store)

"He's here, he's there, he's every-fuckin-where Vince Hilaire, Vince Hilaire" . . . (Quartermaster's Store)

"England's, England's Number One" . . . (Chant)

"Oh, Alan Biley" . . . (Oh, pretty baby)

"Nice one Micky, nice one son" . . . (Nice one Cyril)

"Oh, let's drink a drink a drink to .. " (Lily the pink)

 Future Games

"If you're all going to (Chelsea) clap your hands" . . . (She'll be coming round the mountain)

"We'll be running 'round (Chelsea) with our willies hanging out" . . . (She'll be coming round the mountain)

"(Chelsea, Chelsea) here we come" . . . (Chant)

"We'll be there" . . . (Stars and stripes)

Pride and Toughness

"Hark thou hear the Portsmouth sing" . . . (Mary's boy child)

"Hallo, we are the Portsmouth boys" . . . (Marching through Georgia)

"For we're the barmy Portsmouth army" . . . (Chase me Charlie)

"My old man said be a Pompey fan" . . . (Don't dilly dally)

"We had joy, we had fun" . . . (Seasons in the sun)

"Portsmouth aggro, Portsmouth aggro. Hallo, hallo". . . . Chant

 Local Pride

"Isle o' Wight" . . . (Stars and Stripes)

"Waterlooville" . . . (Stars and Stripes)


Long "orr" . . . (Chant)

WOS clapping rhythm . . . (Clapping rhythm)

Dambusters tune (la, la) . . . (Dambusters March)

"Oo-ah, ooah. Oo-ah, ooah" . . . (Chant)


"We shall not be moved" . . . (We shall not be moved)

"Portsmouth are back, hallo" . . . (Chant)


"Going up, going up" . . . (Stars and Stripes)

"We are up, we are up" . . . (Stars and Stripes)

"Ee-i-adeo, we're going up" . . . (Chant)

"Super Pompey's going up" . . . (Knees up Mother Brown)

"Pompey's up this year" . . . (Kum ba yar)

"We're gonna win the league" . . . (For he's a jolly good fellow)

"Wem-ber-ley , Wem-ber-ley" . . . (Stars and stripes)

"Que sera, sera" . . . (Whatever will be)


"On the pitch" . . . (Stars and stripes)


"Give us a song/wave" (usually to player or manager) . . . (Chant)

"Can you hear us on the box?" . . . (Cwm Rhondda)


 The home fans often directed collective threats towards the main body of opposition fans, particularly in response to their celebration of a goal, or to taunts, or threatening behaviour from them. These threats were purely verbal and occurred in the context of the drama of a game, but they could appear intimidating when expressed by several hundred fans simultaneously. As Peter Marsh (1978) stressed in his analysis of football aggro in the 1970's, such threats should not be taken literally, but should be seen as part of the ritual of terrace culture. On the more positive side, such chants could be seen as a harmless outlet for the expression of aggressive feelings.

Threatening chants were particularly popular in the 1960's and 1970's, but declined in usage during the late 1980's following the clamp down on abusive and intimidating behaviour on the terraces. The police acquired powers to eject fans using intimidating language or gestures and were not averse to using them.

 "A-G, A-G-R, A-G-R-O, Aggro!"

One of many threatening chants heard at Fratton Park during the 1970s and early 1980s., but probably dates back to the early 1960's. It has the same basic rhythm as the playground ditty, "Rain, rain, go a-way, Come on back an-other day", which may give some hint as to its origins.

"You're gonna get your fuckin' heads kicked in"

This was an old favourite and is often quoted by those hostile to football supporters. It was widely heard in the 1970's and was recorded at Oxford United by Peter Marsh and Nigel Tattersfield during this period. However, it is now a relic of football's more aggressive past.

We last heard it at Fratton Park on January 28th 1984 during the 4th Round FA Cup tie against local rivals Southampton. Southampton scored a last minute winning goal, which was an intensely sickening experience for Pompey fans and they naturally gave vent to their feelings with a stream of threatening and abusive chants, including "You're gon-na get your fuckin' heads kicked in."

The chant was sung very rapidly by the fans, with their arms outstretched, pointing menacingly towards the opposition fans. It was followed immediately by a burst of fast synchronous clapping in the same rhythm with hands held aloft. The chant and clapping were usually repeated at least once, depending upon how aroused the fans were.

 "You'll never make the station"

In this chant the home fans threaten to ambush the opposition fans as they make their way back to the railway station after the game. We last heard this chant at Fratton Park at the end of the Portsmouth v Southampton Cup game in 1984. Although this threat was a real one in the 1960's and 1970's, later with modern policing methods the away fans were always strictly segregated from the home fans and escorted to and from the station or coaches, with little opportunity for any aggressive interaction with the home fans. 

"We'll kick shit out of you, Scummers, Scummers"

This chant was sung to the rather jocular tune of the old British Airways TV advert ("We'll take good care of you...") and was used more as a general expression of contempt for the opposition fans than of anger. It often occured during the prematch period of an important game where there were a substantial number of opposition fans.

 "You will die, you will die, you will die ... "

Sung to the tune "Here we go", this was directed at opposition fans who were singing or celebrating a goal and was accompanied by all the fans pointing towards the target of their anger. As with all the chants using the "Here we go" tune, this one dates back to the early 1980's.

 "Come on (Cardiff)"

This was one of many threatening chants in the football repertoire in which the home fans invited the away fans to to join them, though not for tea and biscuits! Like the other threatening chants these were most popular in the 1970's.

The "Come on" chant has a dual use. Typically, it is used to encourage the supported team and still is widely heard: e.g, "Come on, Chelsea". However, at Fratton Park the chant has never been used in this way, but only as an invitation to the opposition fans to show what they are made of. Popular in the 1970s and 1980s the chant was typically accompanied by beckoning gestures with the fingers.

One we recall well was three minutes from the end of a game against Cardiff City in January 1984 immediately after Portsmouth had scored a late equalising goal from a penalty. The Cardiff fans were shattered and several flung themselves at the fences, in vain attempts to climb over to get at the home fans. The Fratton End fans responded by urging them on with several repetitions of the chant: "Come on, Cardiff". The final whistle blew to the jubilation of the Portsmouth fans who continued to taunt the opposition fans as they streamed out of the ground.  

"Come an' 'ave a go, if you think you're 'ard enough"

Although popular in the 1970's this chant was rarely heard after the early 1980s. It used the same basic rhythm as "You're gonna get your fuckin' heads kicked in". Like the previous chant it was a ritualistic invitation to the opposition fans to come over the fences and fight. The chant was accompanied by beckoning gestures with the fingers and was repeated at least once.

"Come 'n join us, come 'n join us, come 'n join us o-ver 'ere."

This is the classic invitation chant. Although it has a similar message to the previous two, the fans sang it in a much more light-hearted manner and it is best seen more as part of the ritualistic banter between the two sets of fans rather than an aggressive invitation.

There was always a good deal of light hearted banter between the two sets of fans. Pompey fans would often comment derisively about the standard of the opposition singing, as in . . .

 "You wha' You wha'? You wha' You wha' You wha'?"

We first heard this chant at Fratton Park during the 1982-83 season and it became very popular at many clubs in following years., ie "What was that?"

"What's it like to see a crowd?" . . . (Tune: "Cwm Rhondda")

There are several variations of this chant. It was typically sung when there is a good home crowd, and a much larger one than the opposition could expect for their home matches. In another version the fans remind the opposition of the score, as in "What's it like to lose 4-1?".

A cutting example of this chant occurred in the Birmingham v Chelsea match in December 1988. Birmingham had not scored for a few matches and Chelsea were running away with this game when Birmingham scored a suprise consolation goal. This prompted the Chelsea fans to open up with "What's it like to score a goal?"

 "Sing when you're winning,

You only sing when you're winning.

Sing when you're winn . . . ing,

You only sing when you're winning"  

Tune: Guantanamera.

This was in reponse to the singing of the opposition fans whose team were winning. There is another popular version of this song in which the opposition fans are taunted for their lack of singing. For example: "You only sing when you're sailing" (against Pompey!), "You only sing when you're fishing" (Grimsby), "You only sing when you're mining" (Cardiff).

"Bye, bye, Brighton, Brighton, bye, bye." (Tune The Chimes)

After a good win for the home team, the opposition fans were typically bid farewell . At Chelsea, the Shed used to bid farewell to the opposition team and its fans in a game in which the home team had come out on top with a strong and swelling chorus of, e.g., "Bye, bye, Fulham; bye, bye, Fulham; Bye, bye, Fulham; bye, bye; Bye, bye, Fulham; bye, bye, Fulham; Bye, bye, Fulham; bye, bye." (Tune: "Auld Lang Syne").

Opposition fans at the end of a game where their team has taken a hiding and making an early exit were regaled with "We can see you sneaking out, we can see you sneaking out". This chant is still heard in the contemporary scene, but with modern day policing there is often no escape from home grounds for the opposition fans until the game ends.

Please note: some football chants used racist, sexist or homophobic language. They are included here simply to ensure the completeness of the record and their publication in no way condones such sentiments.

Racial chants

Although widely heard during the 1970's, racial chants declined in the 1980's, mainly due to the increased vigilance of the police who were empowered to arrest people making racial remarks or taunts. However, the fans themselves became more aware of the inappropriateness of such chants. At Fratton Park during the 1970s coloured players in the opposition team were invariably the target for a stream of abusive chants and noises. The "Nigger" chant was most frequently heard, using the same tune as the "Scummers" chant with more emphasis being placed upon the first syllable, repeated several times with the fans pointing towards the unfortunate player. Other common racial taunts included the monkey grunt "Ugh, Ugh, Ugh ...", "You're so black it's unbelievable!" and to the tune of the Conga "Throw 'im a banana, Throw 'im a banana. La, la, la, la, La, la, la, la." and "Get back on your jam jar, Get back on your jam jar. La, la, la, la, La, la, la, la". Chelsea fans in the 1980s were heard to sing the following version of "The Bananaboat song" (popularized by Harry Belafonte) directed towards a coloured opposition player: "Tay-oh. Tay-oh. Daylight come and I wanna go home."



Reference to their league status:

Going down Stars and stripes

You're going down with the Brighton Guantanamera

Staying down Stars and stripes

We're going up, you're not. Chant

General abuse:

We hate (Brighton) and we hate ... Tennessee Wigwalk

We hate (Brighton) we do. Tune?

We hate (Brighton). Chant

What d'ya think of (Leeds)? Shit! Chant

You're just a bunch of wankers. Chant

Their poverty:

In the (Brighton) slums In our Liverpool home

You're in debt. Stars and stripes

On the dole. Stars and stripes

We've got more jobs than you. British Airways

Lack of manliness:

Does your mummy know you're here? Cwm Rhondda

We thought you were hard, we were wrong. British Airways

Poor singing:

'E's only a poor little (Brighton) 'E's only .. sparrow

Can you hear the (Brighton) sing? No-oh. Camptown races

(Brighton, Brighton) gi' us a song. Chant

You're not singing any more. Cwm Rhondda

It's all gone quiet over there She'll be coming .

Sing up you bums. Auld Land Syne

Poor support:

Is that all you take away? Cwm Rhondda

What's it like to see a crowd? Cwm Rhondda

We've got more fans than you, (Brighton) British Airways

(Scummers) where are you? Cry baby bunting

Physical discomfort:

You're getting wet, we're not. Chant

It's lovely and dry over here. She'll be coming ...

Getting wet. Stars and stripes

Singing in the rain Singing in the rain


Who's the wanker with the flag? Cwm Rhondda

You can stick your fuckin' flag ... She'll be coming ...

Ejected fans:

For he's a wanker, he's a wanker, Chase me Charlie


Fatty, fatty ... Chant

You ought to go on a diet Guantanamera

You're so fat it's unbelievable Chant


You will die. Stars and stripes

You're gonna get your fuckin Chant

Come 'n 'ave a go Chant

You'll never make the station. Chant

We'll kick shit out of you. British Airways

Come on (Cardiff). Chant

Come and join us. Chant

Response to their singing (general):

You wha'? Chant

It's nice to know you're here. On Ikla Moor baht'at

You only sing when you're winning Guantanamera

You're just a bunch of wankers Chant

Scream/scream Chimes

Fuck off (Brighton). Chant

Fuck off, fuck off Chimes

Fuck off, fuck off ... Amazing Grace

Response to specific chants:

You are shit. (to 'We are Leeds') Stars and stripes

Who the fuck are Leeds United? Battle Hym of the R

You'll never walk again (to 'You'll nev) You'll never walk ...

Shit! (to club name: eg 'Brighton') Chant

Seaweed, seaweed (response to 'Seagulls') Chant

Fuck off you Spurs (to 'Come on you Spur) Chant

You're the shit of (Merseyside) Cwm Rhondda


Get 'em off. Stars and stripes

Get your tits out for the lads. Cwm Rhondda




Skinhead. Chant

Baldy Chant

Old man, old man. Chimes

(Derby County) geriatrics Deck the hall

Coloured players:

Ugh, ugh, ugh. (Monkey grunt)

Nigger, Nigger. Chant

Get back on your jam jar, la, la, la, la. Conga

Throw 'im a banana, la, la, la, la. Conga

You're so black it's unbelievable. Chant

Ex-Southampton players:

Scummer, Scummer. Chant

(Watson) is a scummer, la, la, la, la. Conga

We hate Scummers and we hate Scummers. Tennessee Wigwalk

Ex-Portsmouth players:

Reject, reject. Chant

Pompey reject, hallo. Chant

Star players:

(Keegan) is a wanker, la, la, la, la. Conga

(Charlie Nicholas) is a wanker, is a w. Chant

When 'e gets the ball he does fuck all. It's a holi- holiday

(Arsenal) reject, hallo Chant



Walking tune Laurel & Hardy tune

Old MacDonald had a farm. Old MacDonald

If you all hate coppers clap your hands. She'll be coming

Kill, kill, kill the bill. Chant

Tra la la la la, Nik, Nik, Nik, Nik. Blue Danube

When the red, red robin When the red, red, robin (WHU)



Who's the wanker in the black? Cwm Rhondda

The referee's a wanker. Chant

You're a Scummer in disguise. Cwm Rhondda

You're a bastard, referee. Oh, my darling Clem.

We want th' ref. Chant

Cheat, cheat, cheat. Chant

Stick your whistle up your arse Cwm Rhondda

Ee-i-ady-oh, we want the ref Chant

Baldy, baldy. Chant

'E's got a bald patch on 'is 'ead. Chant

The referee ain't got no hair, do-dah Camptown Races

Blow your fuckin' whistle Chant




Scummers Chant

Scum, scum, scum ... Chant

Oh, we hate Southampton Oh, come all ye ...

There is a club just down the road Laughing policeman

Oh, when the scum don't win fuck all Oh, when the Saints

He shot, he come all over (Lawrie's) bum Quartermaster's

Who's up (Lawrie's) bum? Knees up Mother B

Scummers are losing Cry baby bunting

Northern teams:

Hovis tune (Hummed) Hovis tune

West country teams:

Oo-ar, oo-ar, oo-ar Chant

Oo-ar, oo-ar, oo-ar, oo-ar Chimes

Welsh teams:

En-g-land Stars and stripes

Sheep, sheep, sheepshaggers Chant

Sheepshaggers Stars and stripes

St George killed ya dragon, la, la, la. Conga

You can stick your fuckin' dragon ... She'll be coming ...


Yiddoes, yiddoes Chant

Yids, yids, yids Chant

The Yids, we gotta get rid of the yids Chant


We hate students Chant

You can stick your fuckin' boat race ... She'll be coming ...

Read the 'Sun' Stars and stripes


You're just a bunch of turkeys Chant

You couldn't score with a turkey Guantanamera

Bootiful Stars and stripes


What's it like to have no ground? Cwm Rhondda

We got a ground, you ain't Chant

Aston Villa:

Shit on the Villa Roll out the barrel



Greeting when the team comes onto the field:

Who the fuckin' hell are you? Cwm Rhondda

What a load of rubbish. Chant

For poor play:

Brighton are boring Cry baby bunting(

Boring, boring, Brighton. Chant

You're worse than Derby County Chant

You're so shit it's unbelievable Chant

What's it like to be outclassed? Cwm Rhondda

We thought you were shit, we were right. British Airways tune

Take the piss Stars and stripes

Spot the loony, hallo Chant

Close misses:

Oh, lucky, lucky. Tune?

You thought you had scored. British Airways tune

What the fuckin' hell was that? Cwm Rhondda

You couldn't score in a brothel. Guantanamera

Home Goals

Easy, easy, easy ... Chant

Foul play:

Just because you're losing Cry baby bunting

You dirty Northern bastards Chant

Off, off, off, off. Chant

Handball. Chant

Send 'im off. Stars and stripes

Opposition player down injured:

Get up you poof, get up. Auld Lang Syne

Get 'im off. Stars and stripes

Let 'im die. Stars and stripes

Bring on the dustbin. Chant

You'll get a boot wrapped around your head Chant

'It 'im on the 'ead with a baseball bat. Chant

Clapping (with increasing tempo)

Ee-a, ee-a, ee-a (sneer)

Tom Hark Tom Hark chant

The score:

One-nil ... Amazing Grace

(Brighton, Brighton) what's the score? Chant

What's it like to lose 4-1? Cwm Rhondda

Five-one, five-one Chimes

Pompey one (Forest) nil alle-lu-jah Michael row the boat

Towards the end of game:

Bye, bye, (Brighton). Chimes

At away games:

You're supposed to be at home. Cwm Rhondda

Where were you at Fratton Park? Cwm Rhondda

We'll be back again next year Cwm Rhondda


Thankyou very much for the 3 points .. Aintree Iron

Possession cheers and boos

Mock applause

We wish you a merry Christmas We wish you a merry


 Recordings were made of the singing at several other clubs and details are giuven below, but we should stress that our knowledge is only as visitors, or more correctly intruders, as we secretly recorded the singing from the home ends. The clubs we studied most closely in the 1980s were Chelsea (The Shed), West Ham (South Bank), Arsenal (North Bank) and Oxford United (London Road End). We also made recordings at other clubs: Brighton, Bristol City, Cardiff City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Fulham, Bournemouth, Wimbledon, Derby County, Manchester United, Manchester City and Preston North End, but these do not feature here.


One of the top clubs for singing in the country in the 1980s was definitely Chelsea, and we made a special study of their songs. We acknowledge the help of Mike Ticher, founder-editor of 'When Saturday Comes' and Nick Brown of Harrow. Most of the singing at Stamford Bridge in the 1980s came from the Shed End (South Terrace) with some also from the benches on the east and west sides of the ground, creating a great cacophony of sound all around the ground. As Pompey fans, we were very familiar with the experience of standing on the open North Terrace on bleak winter afternoons in the early 80's and being hit by a wave chanting from all sides of the ground when Chelsea scored.

The Shed was a mainly covered terrace at one end of the ground with four main chanting sections. Looking from the pitch, the first section of terrace on the left was the 'Whitewall', referring to a white wall running down the side of the terrace. Moving across to the right the next section was known as 'The Middle', where most of the young singing fans gathered. The 'West Side' wass the section of covered terrace towards the right hand side of the Shed and is somewhat quieter than the Middle, but does become aroused on big occasions.

During matches when there were few away fans to taunt and the game was relatively dull, these sections would engage in some good natured banter and competitive chanting. For example, they would try to outdo each other with "White-wall", "Mid-dle", "West-Side" chants, or the Middle would taunt the Whitewall with, "Orient ran the Whitewall" and "One man went to paint, went to paint the Whitewall". Finally, there was another small group of fans called the 'Teabar', so-called because they stand in front of where an old tea-bar used to be (now a hot-dog stand). They occasionally sang, but tended to be older than the other groups and less overtly expressive.

Chelsea's songs and chants of the early 1970's were documented by Simon Jacobson in an article in New Society (27th March 1975) entitled "Chelsea rule - okay". Here are a few of the less common ones:

To the tune of "My bonny lies over the ocean.

 If I had the wings of a sparrow,

If I had the arse of a crow,

I'd fly over Tottenham tommorrow,

And shit on the bastards below.

 To the tune of "Clementine" (substituting some other unfortunate player for the redoubtable Charlie George).

Where's your lipstick, where's your lipstick,

Where's your lipstick, Charlie George?

In your handbag, in your handbag,

In your handbag, Charlie George.


The next song was originally sung at Stamford Bridge in praise of Chelsea star Peter Osgood, though it had its origins at Highbury for Noel Brady. Chelsea also used it for Ray Wilkins and Clive Walker, though has not been heard at Stamford Bridge since Walker. Tune: "Noel, Noel".

 Osgood, Osgood,

Osgood, Osgood,

Born is the king of Stamford Bridge.


Jacobson reports a version of the fun chant "Zigger, zagger" which used to be led by an old Chelsea fan named Mick Greenway in the 1960's and 1970's. We are grateful to Nick Brown for the following version, though nowadays (in the absence of Greenway?) the chant is more likely to be "Oggie, Oggie, Oggie".

 Zigger, zagger, zigger, zagger. (Leader)

Oi, oi, oi. (Chorus)

Zigger (Leader)

Oi (Chorus)

Zagger (Leader)

Oi (Chorus)

Zigger, zagger, zigger, zagger. (Leader)

Oi, oi, oi. (Chorus)


'Blue is the colour', the 'official' Chelsea song, was recorded by the squad in 1972 following several good years for the team, in which they won the FA Cup in 1970 and consistently finished in a high position in Division 1. The record was a big hit, spending 12 weeks in the charts and reaching number 5. It was probably the best football record ever made.

Blue is the colour.

Football is the game.

We're altogether

Winning is our aim.

So, cheer us on through the sun and rain

'Cause Chelsea, Chelsea, is our name.


Everywhere Chelsea fans go so does "One man went to mow". Mike Ticher and Nick Brown say they first heard it at the Leeds v Chelsea match in February 1983 while the fans were being escorted from Leeds station to the ground. The song got well established in the 1983-84 promotion season at Stamford Bridge, where fans in the section of seating in the East Stand Lower Tier known as Gate 13 and in the benches in the West Stand regularly sung it.

One man went to mow,

Went to mow a meadow.

One man and his dog, Spot,

Went to mow a meadow.

(and so on up to ...)

Ten men went to mow,

Went to mow a meadow.

Ten men, nine men, eight men,

Seven men, six men, five men,

Four men, three men, two men,

One man and his dog, Spot,

Went to mow a meadow.

Chelsea! XXX

Chelsea! XXX

Chelsea! XXX

Chelsea! XXX


Here are a few other typical Chelsea songs of the 1980s:

 Carefree, whoever you may be,

We are the famous CFC,

And we don't give a fuck,

Whoever you may be,

'Cause we are the famous CFC.

 Tune: "Lord of the dance". There is a shorter, more punchy, version: "We are the famous, The famous Chelsea."

Come on, you Chelsea,

And score, score, score!

When you get one you'll get more

We'll sing you assembly

When we get to Wembley,

So, come on, you Chelsea,

Let's score, score, score.


Come along, come along,

Come along and sing this song,

We're the boys in blue,

In Division Two,

And we won't be here for long.

 The tune comes from the hit song of 1979 "Hooray! Hooray! It's a holi- holiday!" by Boney M, which is, in turn, an adaptation of the traditional song, "Polly Wolly Doodle".

 The "Celery" song caught on in the mid 1980's when fans around the country took to taking sticks of celery with them into the grounds, that is, until the police decided that such vegetables might constitute a threat to law and order and stopped the practice! Tune: not identified, but is the same as the popular "Wemb-er-ley" song.

 Celery, celery

If she don't come

I'll tickle her bum

With a lump of celery.

 Nick Brown recalls a Watford v Chelsea Cup match in Febuary 1987 when about 75% of the Chelsea end seemed to have celery and were throwing it up into the air. He also recalls the last away match of that season at Wimbledon. Chelsea fans who smuggled celery into the ground kept a low profile until halfway through the second half, when the Wimbledon fans began singing "Where's your famous celery" the Chelsea fans responded by throwing hundreds of lumps of celery into the air. The police were powerless against such veggie-force!

One of Chelsea's main rivals over the years in London have been Tottenham and most of the chants against them have been anti-semitic, referring to the alleged Jewish element in Tottenham's support. The most popular anti-Tottenham chant contains two parts that are usually sung one after the other. "The famous Tottenham Hotspur ..." is sung to the tune of "John Brown's body". "Who's that team ..." is a variation of the 1978 Scottish World Cup song "We're on the march with Ally's army ...". Tune (Children's hymn): 'Jesus died for all the children'.

 The famous Tottenham Hotspur went to Rome to see the Pope,

The famous Tottenham Hotspur went to Rome to see the Pope,

The famous Tottenham Hotspur went to Rome to see the Pope,

And this is what 'e said - Fuck off!

Who's that team they call the Chelsea?

Who's that team we all adore?

We're the boys in blue and white,

And we'll fight with all our might,

'Cause Chelsea are the greatest football team.


The following variation of the second part comes from Chelsea's successful years in the 1970's

Who's that team they call the Chelsea?

Who's that team we all adore?

We're the boys in blue and white

And we'll fight with all our might

'Cause we're out to show the world the way to score.

Bring on Tottenham or the Arsenal,

Bring on spastics by the score,

Barcelona, Real Madrid,

Tottenham are a load of Yids,

And we're out to show the world the way to score.


The next song was popular with all London clubs. Even West Ham sang it as "We are those bastards in claret and blue"! Tune: song from the musical, "Mary Poppins":

Chim Chimini, Chim Chimini, Chim, Chim Cheroo.

We hate those bastards in claret and blue.

Chim Chimini, Chim Chimini, Chim, Chim Cheroo.

We hate those bastards in claret and blue.


The team name sung to the tume of 'Amazing Grace'. This can rise into a great swelling chorus with many thousands of voices, lasting several minutes.






Here is another chant that was popular at many clubs but not at Pompey. The team name is spelt out, letter by letter by a single-voice leader echoed by the main chorus.

See-ee, See-ee.

Aye-aitch, Aye-aitch.

Ee-ee, Ee-ee.

E-el, E-el.

E-es, E-es.

Ee-ee, Ee-ee.

Aye-aye, Aye-aye.

What 'ave you got?

Chelsea XXX

Chelsea XXX


We heard this one in the Shed during Chelsea's promotion years (83-84 and 88-89). The tune comes from the hit song of 1979 "Hooray! Hooray! It's a holi- holiday!" by Boney M.

Come along, come along,

Come along and sing this song,

We're the boys in blue,

In Division Two,

And we won't be here for long.

Other popular chants at Chelsea included "We'll knock Wednesday off the top" "We'll be top by 5 o'clock" and "We'll go up as champions" (Cwm Rhondda).

 Specific pleas for goals is expressed in many ways. In the following song, to the tune of "Bless 'em all", the Shed made reference to Wembley, though it was heard during league games.

Come on, you Chelsea,

And score, score, score!

When you get one you'll get more

We'll sing you assembly

When we get to Wembley,

So, come on, you Chelsea,

Let's score, score, score.


Towards the end of a drawn game the Shed may urge the team on with (Tune: Those were the days)

We only want one goal,

We only want one goal,

We only want,

We only want one goal.


Another rarely heard plea for a goal from the Shed comes with tune of Al Jolson's famous song "Mammy":

Che-el-sea, Che-el-sea,

I've walked a million miles,

For one of your goals,

My Che-el-sea. 

In March 1975 the magazine New Society published what we think is the first description of the newly emerging repertoire of songs and chants, by Chelsea supporter, Simon Jacobson (xx). Jacobson documented many of the songs popular on the Shed End of Stamford Bridge in the early 1970's. Of special interest in Jacobson's collection are the abusive and threatening chants. Many of these 'aggro' chants are still with us, though much less prominent than they were. Here are a few particularly nasty examples from Jacobson's collection that are rarely heard nowadays (even in the Shed!):

 In the dark, dark alleyways of Liverpool

Where the Mile End's never been,

Lies a mutilated body of a Scouse git,

Where the North Stand kicked him in.

Farewell to Man City, farewell to Liverpool,

We will fight for the Chelsea

To win the football league.

Tune: "From the halls of Montezuma".  

We went up to Wolves,

We took their North Bank,

We come down to Arsenal,

They're not worth a wank.

So take my advice,

There's nothing so nice

As kicking the fuck out of Tottenham.

Tune: "Messing about on the river". 

If I had the wings of a sparrow,

If I had the arse of a crow,

I'd fly over Tottenham tomorrow,

And shit on the bastards below.

Tune: "My Bonny lies over the ocean". 


The famous Liverpool anthem, "You'll never walk alone", stemmed from a recording of the song from the musical "Carousel" by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein in 1963. The record was an immediate hit and quickly rose to Number 1 in the charts. The story of its adoption by the Kop relates to an occasion in 1963 when the Liverpool players sang it on a TV show together with Gerry and the Pacemakers. The fans sang it on the Kop and it has remained the Liverpool anthem ever since.

The song is usually repeated several times with the second verse being punctuated by synchronous clapping (XX):

 "Walk on, walk on,

With hope in your hearts

And you'll never walk alone,

You'll never walk alone."

Walk on XX walk on XX

With hope XX in your arms XX

And you'll ne XX ver walk XX alone,

You'll ne XX ver walk XX alone."

 The first verse of the song is typically sung slowly and with much feeling, with the fans holding scarves horizontally above their heads and swaying from side to side. This is an impressive and moving sight when engaged in by many thousands of fans at an arena such as Wembley. The second verse is sung more quickly with the clapping interspersed with the words as illustrated above.

Although the song is linked with Liverpool it is now popular with fans throughout the country. With scarves now out of fashion the scarf waving tradition has largely been replaced by the fans fists punching into the air in time with the song. A truncated and threatening version of the song is sometimes sung in response to the celebrations of opposition fans, "You'll never walk again".

We had the following substantial lyric from Ian Tilley, the then Editor of the Liverpool fanzine 'When Sunday Comes' which, he claimed was sung more often than "You'll never walk alone"!

 "Let me tell you the story of a poor boy,

Who was sent far away from from his home,

To fight for his king and his country,

And also the old folks back home.


So they put him in higher division,

Sent him off to a far foreign land,

Where the flies fly around in their thousands,

And there's nothing to see but the sand.


The battle it started next morning,

Under the Arabian sun,

I remember the poor scouser, Tommy,

Who was shot by an old Nazi gun.


As he lay in the battlefield dying, (dying, dying),

With blood rushing out of his head, (of his head),

As he lay on the battlefield dying,

I remember the last words that he said.


Oh! I am a Liverpudlian,

I come from the Spion Kop,

I like to sing, I like to shout,

I go there quite a lot, (every week),


I support a team that plays in red,

It's a team that you all know,

It's a team that we call Liverpool,

And to glory we shall go.


We've won the League, we've won the Cup,

We've been to Europe too,

We've played the Toffees for a laugh,

And left them feeling blue.


1-2, 1-2-3, 1-2-3-4, 5-0!"



 "Glory, Glory, Tottenham Hotspur" was one of the earliest and most famous of modern football anthems. It was first sung by at White Hart Lane in the early 1960's, but was adopted by fans of other clubs, with some variation in wording. The basic chorus line is:

Glory, glory, Tottenham Hotspur,

Glory, glory, Tottenham Hotspur,

Glory, glory, Tottenham Hotspur,

And the Spurs go marching on, on, on.

 The tune comes from the traditional American hymn, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", or in its more familiar title, "John Brown's Body".

According to Spurs' historian Phil Soar in "And the Spurs Go Marching On" (00), the song was first sung at White Hart Lane in the 1960/61 season when Tottenham achieved the League and FA Cup double. Bill Nicholson, Spurs' manager at that time, also recalls the anthem in his autobiography "Glory, Glory" (1985), but dates its first appearance a year later. Nicholson describes it thus:

"A new sound was heard in English football in the 1961/62 season. It was the hymn 'Glory, Glory, Hallelujah' being sung by 60,000 fans at White Hart Lane in our European Cup matches. I do not know how it started, or who started it, but it took over the ground like a religious feeling."

The Spurs' anthem, more than any other, marked the beginning of the new era in football singing, heralding a torrent of new songs and chants, first at Anfield, Liverpool, then across the country as a whole.


Simon Wright, Secretary of the Supporters' Club in the 1980s and editor of their fanzine "Fingerpost", sent us Albion's version of "Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside" (a typical Midlanders' fantasy!), which the Brummie Road End fans are quite partial to:

Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside,

Oh, I do like to be beside the sea,

Oh, I do like to be upon the prom, prom, prom,

Where the brass bands play

West Brom, West Brom,

West Brom, West Brom,

West Brom, West Brom." ... etc

The "West Brom, West Brom" chant can go on for as long as 8 minutes with the two "West Brom's" being bellowed out by two different sets of voices in a two-tone effect, which when well done can be very effective.



 Plymouth Argyle's fans used to regale their team at Home Park with choruses of the popular drinking ditty of Adge Cutler and the Wurzels, "Drink up thy zider". The following song is also popular with West Country teams (e.g. Exeter City):

I can't read and I can't write,

But that don't really matter,

Because I come from the West Country,

And I can drive a tractor.



 The fans of the two major Glasgow clubs have a well established tradition of singing. According to Bill Murray in "Glasgow's Giants" (1985), the singing goes back at least to the 1930's, and probably well before that. The main anthem of Rangers is "Follow, Follow, Rangers":

Follow, follow, we will follow Rangers,

Everywhere, anywhere, we will follow on.

The tune is based upon the old Salvation Army song, "We will follow Jesus", though the original words have recently become corrupted to include religious overtones.


 The main anthem of the Celtic fans, as recalled by John Charles (1962) used to be "The dear little shamrock", but that song was replaced by "It's a grand old team to play for", which the club made strenuous efforts in the 1980s to promote by playing it over the public address system before home games. The history of the song is unclear. It was probably recorded in the late 1950's/early 1960's by the Glasgow entertainer Glen Daley. The tune, we believe, comes from the chorus of the song "Here's a first-rate opportunity" from the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, "The Pirates of Penzance":

 Hail! Hail! The Celts are here!

What the hell do we care?

What the hell do we care?

Hail! Hail! The Celts are here!

What the hell do we care, now?

Sure, it's a grand old team to play for

And it's a grand old team to see,

And if you know your history,

It's enough to make your heart go

Oh, oh, oh, oh.

We don't care what The Animals say, (ie, Rangers)

What the hell do we care?

For we only know, there's going to be a show

And the Glasgow Celtic will be there!"

 The religious rivarly between Protestants and Catholics has been a prominent feature of Glasgow's football since the formation of clubs in the late 19th Century and is also strongly present in the songs of the two clubs. Fans of the 'Old Firm', at least at derby games, are quite happy to sing specifically political songs alongside the football ones, as much to wind up the opposition as to provide support for the home team. Rangers' fans have many Protestant and loyalist songs in their repertoire, some deriving from Ulster and Orange Walks, whereas the Celtic fans sing Roman Catholic and Irish rebel songs. Here are a couple of fairly innocent examples by way of illustration. "No Pope of Rome", sung to the tune of "Home on the Range", by Rangers' fans:

 No, no Pope of Rome!

No chapels to sadden my eyes!

No nuns and no priests, and no rosary beads,

And everyday is the 12th of July!

 In contrast Celtic fans transformed the famous Harry Lauder song, "Roaming in the Gloaming" into the following sectarian song:

 Roamin' in the gloamin'

With a shamrock in my hand,

Roamin' in the gloamin'

With St Patrick's fenian band.

And when the music stops

Fuck King Billy and John Knox!

Oh! It's good to be a Roman Catholic.



 The fans of Oxford United on the London Road terrace of the Manor Ground, became the subjects of detailed scrutiny in the 1970's from two academic researchers who were, at the time, also directors of the club. The first investigation was carried out in the 1974/75 season, when Oxford were a mid-table Division 2 club, by social psychologist, Peter Marsh, who used cameras and video-tapes to study the fans' behaviour. His main concern was to try to make sense of the overt aggression displayed by the fans, in their chants and gestures. His conclusion was that the fans' behaviour, although apparently very unruly, was, in fact, quite well ordered, and controlled by what he called 'the rules of disorder'. Marsh also argued that the 'aggro' was more apparent than real, being essentially a ritual and rarely resulting in overt violence. He compared it with the behaviour of youngsters in the school playground who square up to each other, but who rarely indulge in anything worse than nudges and harmless wrestles. The analysis of video-films demonstrated the remarkable degree precision in the chanting and staccato hand-clapping of the fans. In Marsh's sociological jargon, "... the symbolic conflict is conducted through a channel of communication which is orderly to an almost absurd extent".

The other researcher to put the spotlight on Oxford United in the 1970's was the celebrated ape and man watcher, Desmond Morris. In his book 'The Soccer Tribe' (13), Morris approached football fans from an anthropological point of view and portrayed them, somewhat simplistically, as akin to members of a primitive tribe with a variety of complex display rituals. His view of football singing was that it represented a ritualised ceremony with two sets of choirs, synchronised by an "unseen choirmaster". The main source of data for Morris's research came from tape recordings of of the singing of the fans during the 1978-79 football season. The recordings were made, transcribed and analysed by Oxford United fan and post-graduate linguistics student, Nigel Tattersfield, who worked as Morris's research assistant for this investigation. We were grateful to Nigel for making his tapes available to us and for discussions about the songs.

 She wore a yellow ribbon

This was popular at Oxford in the mid 1980's when United having good runs in cup competitions, though other clubs do sing it with variations. We have never heard it at Pompey.

She wore, she wore,

She wore a yellow ribbon,

She wore a yellow ribbon

In the merry month of May.

And when I asked her

Why she wore that ribbon

She said it's for the Oxford

And we're going to Wemb-er-ley.

Wemb-er-ley, Wemb-er-ly ... (fading)


West Ham United -  We're forever blowing bubbles

Newcastle United - The Blaydon Races

Tottenham Hotspur - Glory, Glory, Tottenham Hotspur

Birmingham City - Keep right on to the end of the road

Bristol City - When the red, red robin

Bristol Rovers - Goodnight Irene

Chelsea - Blue is the colour

Norwich City - On the ball, City

Brighton and Hove Albion - Sussex by the sea

Coventry City (Eton B.S) - Let's all sing together

Fulham (Old Father Th.) - Some teams may come

Wolverhampton Wanderers - The happy wanderer

Rangers - Follow, follow,

Glasgow Celtic - Dear little shamrock

Plymouth Argyle - Drink up thy cider


 Bernard Adams of Fratton, Alan P Jeffries of Eastleigh, R.A.Street of North End and P.S.W.Hill of Gosport for their fascinating recollections of Fratton Park in the "good old days".

 Roger Emptage of Reading and Barry Harris of Fareham for the Portsmouth Supporters' Club songs of the 1950's.

 Peter Galliver of London for useful newspaper references to history of the Chimes.

 Andrew Ward of Oxford for the key 1949 Sports Mail reference on the origins of the Pompey Chimes.

 Alan Kerby of Watford, Editor of the Pompey Chimes, the magazine of the Portsmouth Supporters' Club, London Branch, for much useful information and discussion of the Pompey songs.

 Mike Neasom, Sports Reporter of the Portsmouth Evening News in the 1980s, for help in tracing the history of the Pompey Chimes and much needed publicity in his newspaper.

 Mrs Margaret Grist for information about old handbooks of Portsmouth Football Club and Portsmouth Football Club for kindly allowing us to inspect the old club handbooks.

 Tony Hellyer of Teddington and Frank Bulbeck, following Pompey from Ohio in the USA, for their recollections of Fratton Park in the 1960's.

 John Litser of Kirkaldy, Fife for information on Scottish club songs.

 Aston Villa fans, A.J.Smith for the "Bachelor boy" song and E.V.Mooney for his "The bells are ringing" song.

 Martin Mason, Secretary of the Derby County Supporters Club, London Branch, for the information about the Rams' songs.

 Mike Ticher, founding Editor of that excellent fanzine, "When Saturday Comes", for his help with the Chelsea songs and the Celtic Song.


 1. Tony Mason. Association Football and English Society. 1863-1915. Brighton: The Harvester Press. 1980.

 2. Portsmouth Evening News, 23 September, 1899.

 3. Portsmouth Evening News, 28 October, 1899.

 4. Hampshire Telegraph, 16 December, 1899.

 5. Portsmouth Evening News, 8 December, 1899.

 6. Portsmouth Football Mail, 8 January, 1949.

 7. Iona and Peter Opie. The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1959.

 8. Phil Soar. And the Spurs Go Marching On. London: Hamlyn. 1985.

 9. John Charles. The Gentle Giant. London: Stanley Paul, 1962.

 10. Simon Jacobson. Chelsea rule - okay. New Society, 27 March 1975, 31, 780-783.

 11. Peter Marsh. Aggro. The Illusion of Violence. London: J.M.Dent & Sons, 1978.

 12. Peter Marsh, Elizabeth Rosser and Rom Harre. The Rules of Disorder. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978.

 13. Desmond Morris. The Soccer Tribe. London: Cape, 1981.

 Brian J. Fellows. Partners in Chimes. The Portsmouth News, Dec 7th, 1984, p.34.

 Bill Nicholson. Glory, Glory. 1983.

 Bill Murray. Glasgow's Giants. 100 Years of the Old Firm. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing Projects, 1988.

 Bill Murray. The Old Firm. Secretarianism, Sport and Society in Scotland.

Eninburgh: John Donald Publishers, 1984.