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.