Arsenal are the greatest football team
But not without our black players
Chants. Where would football fans be without them? Ones that say your team is the greatest football team, or that certain players have unique attributes, or that the opposing team or the ref has very negative ones. Coronavirus stopped all that for a time and we were forced to watch matches without the chanting. The experience is poorer. They have been around since the late 50’s/early 60’s and seemingly Liverpool and Everton were among the first to adopt such elements to their repertoire. Very quickly, all teams started coming up with their own or adapting other ones to suit themselves. They now form an irreplaceable part of the matchday experience, in my opinion.
Easily offended at Euro 2020?
My blog today was inspired by two elements. One was the revelation that the Italian team were seemingly annoyed by the English fans singing You can stick your twirly pasta up your arse to the tune of She’ll be coming around the mountain. It didn’t stop them winning and I reckon if I was on that Italian team I would just find it funny. The other, more serious one was the abuse that Steve Bruce revealed during his time at Newcastle, most of it from Newcastle fans and the press. He was called an idiot cabbage head, a fat waste of space and worse. Our own Mikel Arteta went on record supporting him and it is not right, that a manager or a player, who has worked hard to be selected for his team and get to where they are in their career, is out there trying his best, gets dogs abuse for no fair reason. In the real world of work where most of you work, such abuse is rare and there are many laws to protect you.
We're up to our necks in Fenian blood
I also want to talk about the dark chants of football, where Rangers bloodthirsty chant about the Billyboys probably takes pride of place. If you don’t know it, google it, truly vile. There are also the racist ones, directed at Black players since they started appearing in English football in the 70’s but adopted worldwide, it seems. And of course, the anti-German ones beloved of English fans praising the death toll in 2 world wars. Is there a purpose to such songs, other than the venting of bile? Well, they might upset some players, throwing them off their game, helping your team to win. Truth be told, I reckon they upset all players, if they are on the receiving end, but some choose to try and use them to up their game, in essence, to get the fans to stick their chants up their arse.
However, what about the chanting against your own team? This is, in the context of what I said in the last paragraph, is paradoxical. Singing, in order to undermine your own manager, owner, player or players, is more likely to affect your team’s performance and make you lose. So it doesn’t make sense, does it? Often it is very personal, about characteristics they can do nothing about such as the aforementioned Steve Bruce who, like most people, including you, dear reader, has put on some weight as he has got older.
Toon toon, barmy army
Plenty to chant about with Mike Ashley
Let’s take Mike Ashley, possibly the most hated of owners in the Premier League. Why? As far as I can see, it is because he is a cockney wideboy, who only bought Newcastle to make money. As opposed to the trend started by Roman Abramovich and continued by Newcastle’s new owners, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, where direct profit is not involved, but rather an improvement in status, in enjoyment, a chance to move in circles hitherto not available. The money advanced is seen as a payment that brings all sorts of benefits, which are not easily quantified, but are connected to improving the perception of the entities involved. But, again, it is not because they care passionately about the team, only about the benefits.
There is little evidence that these new owners cared about the team and the football community in which they are grounded. Maybe that comes over time and it is the peak that Mike Ashley never conquered, as Newcastle fans never felt that he cared. It is not a charge that can be levelled at Abramovich, but is it really that? Chelsea have had continuous success, Newcastle none, and that is more likely the reason for whether the fans like the owners or not and also whether the owners get a buzz out of their team. Abramovich has had many great nights to bond with the fans, Ashley very few.
Consistent winning seems to be the difference
You're getting sacked in the morning
Steve Bruce recently complained about the abuse he suffered at Newcastle. Bruce was a top player, playing for the best team in the land, Manchester United, and won many honours in his time. He was never given a chance to manage at a team that was likely to win trophies but is generally regarded as a good coach and manager who clocked up 1000 appearances as a manager, a testament to his ability. Sam Allardyce famously said that if he was given a chance at Real Madrid or Bayern Munich, he would have won everything. Maybe Bruce feels the same. Instead he gets called an idiot cabbagehead by his own team’s supporters. It’s not right, is it?
A good human being gets sacked - ask Saint-Maximin
Can anything be done? Can we ban all offensive chanting? Should we? We could, of course, pick out a food from a country and sing about it. The Italian team, apparently, were offended by the English fans singing, You can stick your twirly pasta up your arse, at the Euros Final. To me, it was just funny. I can think of others that would work well. For the Scottish, there are several choices, You can stick your fried Mars bars up your arse, or, You can stick your smelly haggis up your arse. For the Irish, You can stick your bacon and cabbage up your arse, or, You can stick your soda bread up your arse. For the French, You can stick your slimy snails up your arse, and of course, many of the European countries have smelly and even live cheeses that I am sure inventive football fans can dream up chants about. The Germans have their sauerkraut and curryworst and many others for English fans nostalgic for a replacement for the world war chants.
When you're sat in row Z, and the ball hits your head, that's Zamora
I always liked the funny and the inventive chants that fans can come up with, and, honestly, I would much prefer if they were the only ones I heard. I don’t want to hear abuse of black players or any players, managers or staff for that matter. I don’t stand up to show I hate Tottenham and I see no reason to hate them. I loved it, back in the 70’s, when Manchester United fans were losing in the FA Cup final at Arsenal, they reversed the traditional chant sung at the qualifying rounds of Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be, we’re going to Wemble lee, to, … we’re losing at Wemble lee. A nice touch, funny and sad at the same time.
As for me, I am not hopeful of change, but I am glad to get my feelings out there. And for all those that know me, you know I don’t eat cheese and I don’t like tripe, so the traditional favourites beloved of Bulgarians are out for me. You know what you can do with your Shopska salad and your Shkembe Chorba!