The story behind your favourite football chants plus 8 classic examples

11 ATJ SBThis post is brought to you by All That Jazz Wines – makers of fine New Zealand Pinot Noir & Sauvignon Blanc

Any football fan will be familiar with the sound of football chants ringing around the stadium on a saturday afternoon. And anyone who’s been to a few grounds will recognise the same set of tunes being adapted again and again by the home team’s fans to reflect their club’s culture, rivalries, successes and shortcomings. These tunes that have spawned a thousand football chants are so familiar now that we take them for granted. But at Footballers’ Wines we got a little bit curious as to where the tunes actually come from, as well as challenging ourselves to find the funniest and most original modern day uses of them. Our research led us on a journey via 19th century American gospel hymns and Bahamian Folk songs to Joe Hart’s dandruff and Jonjo Shelvey’s resemblance to an Evil Wizard. Enjoy.

When the Saints Go Marching In

Original:

When The Saints Go Marching In

Oh When the Saints
Go Marching In
Oh When the Saints Go Marching in
I want to be in that number
When the Saints go marching in

When the Saints Go Marching In is a hymn from the gospel tradition in the USA. The phrase “I want to be in that number” refers to the specific number of 144,000 who are mentioned in the Bible’s book of revelations as getting a direct passage to heaven on the day of judgement. The precise origins of the song are not known but it’s been played as a popular jazz standard since the early 20th century, notably by Louis Armstrong.

The Football Chants:

My Garden Shed

My garden shed,
Is bigger than this,
My garden shed is bigger than this,
It’s got a door, and a window,
My garden shed is bigger than this…

The most obvious usage of the tune in football is by fans of Southampton FC (aka ‘the Saints’) who have adopted the song as their anthem. However we’re fans of a couple of other more original interpretations, including this one ‘my garden shed’, which allows any away fans to mock the home fans if their stadium is perceived to be on the small side.

Fluffy Sheep Are Wonderful

Oh fluffy sheep are wonderful,
Oh fluffy sheep are wonderful,
They are so white and so fluffy,
Oh fluffy sheep are WONDERFUL…

Beloved of Swansea fans, this chant is tongue-in-cheek response to the many chants aimed at Swansea by English fans regarding sheep. We’ll leave it to your imagination to guess what the content of those might be.

football chants

sometimes the simplest football chants are the best

The John B Sails / Sloop John B

The Original:

The John B Sails

Drinking all night, we got in a fight,
I feel so breakup, I wanna go home.

The John B. Sails is a Bahamian folk song from Nassau, first written down in 1915. It’s been recorded many times, in many different styles and with many different titles. It was in its guise as ‘The Sloop John B.’, recorded by the Beach Boys in 1965 for their iconic Pet Sounds album, that the song really reached massive popularity in the UK.

The Football Chants:

We Won It Five Times

We won it five times,we won it five times,
in istanbul we won it five times

Liverpool fans adapted the song to point out that they’ve won the European Cup/Champions League five times, a record for an English club.

The Intertoto, We Won it One Time

We’ve won it one time,we’ve won it one time,
The Inter Toto, we’ve won it one time…

Self deprecating Fulham fans, not able to boast of such a bulging trophy cabinet as their Liverpudlian rivals, were forced to reference their most recent piece of silverware – the 2002 (and now defunct) Intertoto Cup.

Jonjo Shelvey, Harry Potter’s Coming for You

He’s coming for you, he’s coming for you, Harry Potter, he’s coming for you

Jonjo Shelvey’s passing resemblance to Harry Potter’s arch enemy Voldermort made the then Liverpool player the subject of this cheeky chant.

football chants

One of the truer football chants

Yellow Submarine

 

The Original:

Yellow Submarine

In the town where I was born,
Lived a man who sailed to sea,
And he told us of his life,
In the land of submarines,

So we sailed on to the sun,
Till we found the sea green,
And we lived beneath the waves,
In our yellow submarine,

We all live in a yellow submarine,
yellow submarine, yellow submarine,
We all live in a yellow submarine,
yellow submarine, yellow submarine.

And our friends are all aboard,
Many more of them live next door,
And the band begins to play.

We all live in a yellow submarine,
yellow submarine, yellow submarine,
We all live in a yellow submarine,
yellow submarine, yellow submarine.

As we live a life of ease(life of ease)
Every one of us(every one of us) has all we need,(has all we need)
Sky of blue,(sky of blue) and sea green,(sea of green)
In our yellow(In our yellow) submarine.(submarine)

Yellow Submarine by the Beatles was, even by that band of band’s ridiculously high standards, a huge hit single. The song was written by Paul McCartney as the by now traditional song-for-Ringo-to-sing on the Revolver album. The single went to number 1 where it remained for four weeks, making it the biggest selling single of 1966. Yellow Submarine also hit number 1 in countless other countries around the world. Mindful of the fact that Ringo Starr didn’t have a big vocal range, McCartney wrote the song so it was as comfortable to sing as possible. It’s the sing along quality of the track combined with its popularity that made it perfect for lots of people to sing together, and ripe for some terrace usage.

The Football Chant:

A Team of Carraghers

Number 1 is Carragher,
Number 2 is Carragher,
Number 3 is Carragher,
Number 4 is Carragher, CARRAGHER

We all dream of a team of Carraghers
A team of Carraghers, a team of Carraghers
We all dream of a team of Carraghers
A team of Carraghers, a team of Carraghers

Number 5 is Carragher,
Number 6 is Carragher,
Number 7 is Carragher,
Number 8 is Carragher, CARRAGHER

We all dream of a team of Carraghers,
A team of Carraghers, a team of Carraghers,
We all dream of a team of Carraghers,
A team of Carraghers, a team of Carraghers…

Number 9 is Carragher,
Number 10 is Carragher,
Number 11 is Carragher,
and 23 is Carragher, CARRAGHER

This ode to the Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher is a classic adaptation. Carragher was famous for his work rate and passion for Liverpool FC – he was a one club man. This stoic quality combined with his ability to play in several different positions across the defence (and even at times in midfield) inspired this chant in which the Kopites fantasise that the hard working utility player could somehow be cloned to create an entire team of Carraghers.

football chants

sometimes football chants aren’t about the players, but pick on other people in the stadium – as in this case, the police

Bread of Heaven / Cwm Rhondda

 

The Original:

Bread of Heaven / Cwm Rhondda

Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven, Feed me till I want no more, Feed me till I want no more

Cwm Rhondda (Welsh for the Rhondda Valley) is a hymn written by the Welsh amateur composer John Hughes in 1905. The stirring tune has made the hymn durable and hugely popular. So much so that it’s been sung on various British state occasions such as the funerals of Princess Diana and the Queen Mother, and the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. It was also used as the informal anthem of Wales n the “Green and Pleasant Land” section of the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony.

The Football Chant:

Let’s Pretend We Scored A Goal

Let’s pretend, let’s pretend, let’s pretend we scored a goal, let’s pretend we scored a goal

The tune crossed over into sporting use by rugby fans in Wales. But it’s said to have been used by football fans from the early 20th century onwards. It’s most common use is in the chant ‘You’re Not Singing Anymore’ – used whenever the opposition’s fans fall silent after conceding. But we’ve selected this adaptation by some Aston Villa fans, who after seeing their team getting thrashed decided it was a good idea to at least pretend their team had scored a goal.

Where’s Your (insert insult here) gone?

The Original:
Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep

Where’s your mama gone? (Where’s your mama gone?)
Little baby Don (Little Baby Don)

The Song was a massive hit in 1971 for the aptly titled Scottish band, Middle of the Road. A favourite with continental DJs, the demand from holidaymaking brits who’d danced to the song during the summer months dragged the band from semi-obscurity in Italy into the spotlight. But although the band never went on to have long lasting success, the song has found immortality as the basis for many a terrace anthem.

The Chant:

Where’s Your Dandruff Gone?

Where’s your dandruff gone (where’s your dandruff gone?)
Where’s your dandruff gone (where’s your dandruff gone?)

When England Goalkeeper Joe Hart started starring in commercials for anti-dandruff shampoo Head and Shoulders, it was only a matter of time before football fans used it as verbal ammo against him.

 

 Got any more great chants we should know about? Let us know in the comments section below.

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