As spoiled as we are in America with multiple platforms to view Premier League matches, I get the distinct feeling that HD television viewing, as glorious as it can be, doesn’t come close to attending a match in person. Sure it’s nice to sit back, relax and watch football from the comfort of your own home, but the living and breathing action of the world’s game right in front of your eyes, live and in person is an event not to forget, regardless of how many matches you’ve attended in your life.
My opinions on the benefits attending live as opposed to watching on TV are simple assumptions based on my personal experiences attending live sporting events in the States. I’ve in fact never stepped foot in England and hope to one day change that, but until the Yankee dollar shapes up, I’ll have to make due with satellite television and the Internet.
We could spend all day weighing the positives and negatives of going to a match v watching from home, but the one irreplaceable and distinguishing factor between the two is without a doubt the atmosphere and more specifically the crowd songs that take place at a match. A proper football atmosphere would surely beat the couch, even if it’s the gloomy English weather accompanying you on match day instead of your significant other on the couch.
We’ve recently asked for a lot of feedback from EPL Talk readers concerning their match day rituals, football viewing company, and how may matches watched on TV per week, but in a way we almost neglect the punters, the actual paying customers who scratch and fight their way through traffic and trains to attend a match. Hopefully this post will give you a chance to have your say.
There are a variety of ways Americans are drawn to football. One of them that continually gets mentioned when I talk to new soccer fans is their fascination with the crowd songs. It could be the simplistic flipping of the channels only to end up on a match aired at an odd time on an odd channel. If the potential future footie fan stays for longer than a few seconds, it’s likely they grew up playing the sport as a youth. They know the rules, they know the purpose, but it’s possible they’ll stay a few additional seconds as their interests are peaked if and when they hear the crowd singing.
Close your eyes and imagine multiple thousands of supporters grouped together, standing and singing as one in full voice. It’s a powerful mental image and compelling moment when captured on TV and leaves a lasting impression on a potential newbie American soccer fan. Call it lost in translation or call it poor audio transfer, but the fantastically entertaining songs sung at football grounds are rarely discernible on TV. The combined efforts of the faithful singing few usually comes across as a melodic roar in unison. Audible, but often unclear.
I’ve always hoped either an FSC or Setanta (RIP) would run a ticker across the bottom of the screen as a sort of football subtitle of crowd songs so I can read, understand and even learn a few songs of my own. One can find a good deal of song lyrics and the melodies those songs are based on with a bit of research and just a few moments using Google, but it’s not the same as being able to understand the songs while watching the match.
The fan run websites are rarely updated and are sometimes of poor quality. The apps available in the official App Store that contain football chants and fan songs are mostly worthless and rarely even worth the pound or dollar spent.
So we turn to you, the football punter. You’ve spent half a weeks wages on a ticket, pre match meal or pint and transportation to the grounds only to sing so loud and so long you’re likely to lose your voice. What then are the songs you sing to your heroes? Which ones are the best, most creative, or worst?
As a Manchester United supporter, one of may favorites is the song sung about central defender Nemanja Vidic. It goes a little something like this:
He comes from Serbia
He’ll ****** murder Ya!
And although I don’t condone the threat of violence, every time I hear United fans sing it, I can’t help but to sing along and will often have the tune stuck in my head for the rest of the day. If one really pays attention, they can often form together bits and pieces of a song and come up with enough to sing along.
From what I’ve witnessed across the pond on a 42′ LCD HD TV, the songs at English grounds continue to drive the atmosphere and make the sport a thing of wonder. Songs have been sung well before my time and will continue on well after I’ve left the Earth as sacred traditions to supporters of English football. These cherished rituals will continue to be passed down from generation to generation as the football going public continue to show up and support their club with pride and full voice.
Use the comment section below to share your favorite, least favorite or most humorous song heard or sung at a match.