Music And Football – The Ability To Unite


There’s been a lot of chatter here recently on EPL Talk about different cultures, stereotypes (good or bad), likes and dislikes, etc. Since it’s all opinion in the end, let’s see if we can’t spread a little love ’round these here parts, if not for your fellow man, then for none other than the spirit of the season. In my one good deed before Christmas (since I haven’t started my shopping yet), my hopes are to unite both sides of the pond, and for that matter, all readers of EPL Talk with the power of music.

I want to pose a question that will hopefully shed the bright light of understanding between the British and American readers of EPL Talk (the “light” is that in the end, we all have our differences, but our love of football is bigger than those petty differences). Now that you’ve wiped the tears from your eyes, What music do you directly relate to your love of football?

In my life, the power of the beautiful game has brought me more joy and purpose than almost any other hobby or art I pursue (Yes, football imitates art!). I’ve experienced many different cultures in one form or another through football and subsequently developed a respect and understanding for those cultures. I can honestly say, I’m more well rounded as a human being because of football. But there are also many powerful and possibly life changing moments that can surface from the power of music. When you combine the two, well,….you have something very special.

Music is universal, it’s a language, it crosses borders and still translates, it transcends the power of the spoken word, it’s alive and relevant and like the power of football, music unites.

Supporters of the English game have cherished music since the inception of organized football. Crowds to this day continue to passionately belt out songs about players and managers they love, hate, or are indifferent to. Circumstances be damned, supporters will create songs to sing at matches regardless of the situation – often times to the theme of current pop songs. Crowd songs are just as much apart of British culture as 3:00 PM kickoffs, Match of the Day, teatime and Bovril (if you don’t know what Bovril is, don’t ask).

I myself watch 100% of my football on T.V. (thank God for satellite dishes). Living in the States has it’s advantages, but if you’re a serious football supporter and the closest MLS franchise is over 5 hours away, it’s safe to say singing songs at football grounds really doesn’t apply to you. So I recently took a look at my iPod to see which groups or artists have football related lyrics in their songs. It would be the closest I could come to a proper football song. I wasn’t surprised to find that most of these groups are the ones I already directly relate to my love of football, for one reason or another, they go hand in hand.

  • Arctic Monkeys – Open supporters of Sheffield Wednesday, the Monkeys’ When the Sun Goes Down EP features the song, Settle for a Draw. More about relationship issues than football, the song still reminds me of the underdog on the road gaining that valuable and much needed point.
  • The Streets – U.K. Rapper Mike Skinner, a Birmingham City supporter, rhymes on Same Old Thing, a track off his 2002 debut Original Pirate Material, “If they don’t win this and the next run they getting relegated to the third division”. Skinner’s debut is still considered a brilliant first effort as he paints a pristine picture of a day in the life of a geezer – or, everyday occurrences living in the U.K.
  • Glasvegas – the Glaswegian group open up their self-titled debut with Flowers & Football Tops, an ode to a young man who’s tragically died. The idea that “football tops” would be in a song concerning death proves how much football is ingrained in Scottish culture.

These are just a small few in a long line of football related music, songs and lyrics. Oasis were, (before they officially called it quits) at their height, one of the biggest bands in the world, all the while being massive Manchester City supporters. Doves are also City supporters while  members from Elbow also from Manchester, support United. It doesn’t have to be a top 40, or Indie-rock act, I’ve often heard British ex-pats in the States say they get goose bumps whenever they hear the original theme song to Match of the Day, which first aired in 1964 and still runs to this day on BBC.

Whether you’re a player or supporter, I want to know what gets you ready for a match? What bands or songs do you listen to while headed to the pub to support your club? After a victory, what songs do you sing, or which bands do you listen to to celebrate? Is it the epic sound of Arcade Fire, the minute brilliance of Radiohead, or, are you drawn to the cultural relevance of The Smiths?

Remember, while we all have our differences, teams we love and teams we hate, we all visit this site cause we share the passion of football. Football and music share the ability to erase borders, to captivate their audience, and most importantly of all, unite cultures.

18 thoughts on “Music And Football – The Ability To Unite”

  1. OMG, Jesse, that last paragraph is *sniff* beautiful. I want to grab someone’s hand and sing Kumbaya….although I don’t know what team it would make me want to support.

    To hell with The Gaffer. 😉

  2. Excellent article, Jesse.

    Here are my answers to your questions:

    What music do I directly related to my love of football?
    Most of it is centered around the World Cup. New Order (“World In Motion”) and Fat Les (“Vindaloo”) are two songs I never get sick of and both are legendary songs. For me, personally, I relate The Cult to football. Ian Astbury is a massive Everton supporter, and Billy Duffy is a massive Manchester City supporter, so I can never get them out of my head and always relate them to football.

    MOTD theme song = goosebumps
    Definitely yes!

    What bands or songs do I listen to when headed to the pub?
    Joy Division.

    Which bands do I listen to to celebrate?
    Arcade Fire.

    The Gaffer

  3. Man Utd (best team ever) fans:
    Gaz from Supergrass
    Ian Brown from Stone Roses
    Tim Burgess from Charlatans
    Richard Ashcroft from Verve
    Justin Timberlake
    Peter Hook from Joy Division
    Bonehead from Oasis

  4. The only place to be every other Saturday is, strolling down the Fulham road.

    Love that song, gives off the feeling of going to the Bridge.

  5. looking at all the other music here,is this going to be a shock to everyone. i am a 57 year old spurs fan from london. when i was about nine years old a new jazz record made it to about number 9 in the record chart. it was from an l.p. called jazz samba. i fell in love with this music, and listening to this wonderful stuff i also fell for brazilian international football. in the song, the girl from ipanema, is the line “like a samba that swings so cool and sways so gently ” go on and give this record a go, i know you to will see how they match up. coys

  6. Figured I should input something here as well.

    There’s a few bands I don’t listen to anymore I associate to football, mainly The Killers. Also MGMT and I’m from Barcelona. Just bands I listened too when I was beginning this wonderful venture into professional football. City of Blinding Lights always sticks with me because of ESPN.

    Currently I connect Los Campesinos!, Phoenix, and Arcade Fire among a few others. Pretty much anything with a foreign sound to it.

  7. I would say “world in motion”. New Order was massive in the States at the time so the song got lots airplay on top 40 radio coupled with a lot of DJ’s dissing “soccer” as they explained what the song was based on.

    The Theme song for “Road to Wembley” gave me goose bumps as a kid. The early 90’s theme song played before PL matches shown in the States a close 2nd.

    Morrissey’s early 90’s “We’ll let you know” from his “Your Arsenal” Album, as told from Football’s dark side – The Hooligan.. Some of the chilling lyrics below”

    “We’re all smiles
    Then, honest, I swear, it’s the turnstiles
    That make us hostile”

    “We will descend
    On anyone unable to defend

    Finally, recently I stumbled upon an obscure 50’s Calypso track – an ode to both of Manchester’s football clubs, United and City, sung by the Legendary Trinidadian Calypsonian Lord Kitchener, who briefly lived in Manchester in the 50’s. cut and paste the link below to listen:

    1. Hi,

      Yes. The Theme Sound for the “Road to Wembley” is also my favourites.

      Does anyone have a recording of the sound?


  8. When Ian Curtis (from Joy Division) was asked in an interview what his favourite color was,he responded “city blue”…as in man city.

    Elvis costello is a massive liverpool supporter.

  9. most of the comments on here so far seem to be very manchester-centric. i suppose this makes sense given the city’s rich music and footballing histories.

    being a huge music geek and club/country fan of arsenal/netherlands, anything relating to these two will always make my ears perk up.

    just see it fit to mention that the recent underworld album as a track called “ring road” with lyrics mentioning how “…boys wear England shirts and West Ham shirts and ARSENAL shirts”

    also appreciate the super furry animal’s track “smokin'” with the lyrics: “gonna manage my time just like JOHAN CRUYFF, if we do it together we’ve got meaning of life.” this one also makes the list of great songs to smoke drugs to i suppose.

    the new order track though, for me, is the quintessential footballing song.

  10. Does anyone remember the UK tv show “Road To Wembley” from ITV back in the 80s which covered the current FA Cup season? I have been wanting the theme song to that show forever but can’t find it anywhere online. If anyone has any leads, please post. Thanks

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