Five Greatest Football Anthems
Football is full of great supporter anthems. No, we’re not talking about terrace pop songs or ‘We’re on the Ball' by Ant & Dec. Here, we look at five football anthems that really do get the emotions running on the terraces.
July 19th, 2012
You’ll Never Walk Alone (Liverpool & others)
The anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is played at football grounds across the country but it is at Anfield where the song was first heard on the terraces.
The show tune was originally from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel, but it is the cover version by Gerry and the Pacemakers, released in 1963, that fans will be most familiar with.
The song was first sung by fans in the 60s and has become synonymous with the club, with the words “You’ll Never Walk Alone” also featuring on the club crest and on the Shankly Gate entrance to Anfield.
According to former Liverpool player Tommy Smith, the song was adopted after legendary manager Bill Shankly listened to the track “in awe” during a club coach trip.
You’ll Never Walk Alone is undoubtedly with the most common football anthem in the world, with also sung by supporters of Celtic, Feyenoord, FC Twente, Borussia Dortmund, Mainz 05, FC Kaiserslautern, Borussia Mönchengladbach and FC Toyko (amongst others). The anthem was also adopted by Bradford City supporters after a cover version was released in 1985 in the aftermath of Valley Parade disaster.
Leeds! Leeds! Leeds! (Leeds United)
Unlike many football anthems, which are simply adapted versions of existing songs, Leeds! Leeds! Leeds! (more commonly known as ‘Marching on Together’) is an original composition by Les Reed and Barry Mason for Leeds United FC, originally appearing as the B side to the club’s 1972 FA Cup Final record.
In celebration of Leeds United’s promotion to the Championship in 2010, a fan campaign saw the anthem re-enter the charts at number ten and remained in the UK singles chart for three months.
The song is also been used by the Leeds Rhinos rugby league team and even the Leeds Ultimate Frisbee team, LeedsLeedsLeeds, were also named after the song.
Sunshine on Leith (Hibernian)
Sunshine on Leith was the name of the second and most successful album by the proclaimers – largely because of one track about a man being willing to walk a very long way to collapse on somebody’s doorstep.
However, the title track from that album has gone on to be arguably the greatest anthem in Scottish football having been adopted by fans of Hibernian – with the club originating from the Leigh area of Edinburgh.
The song was sung emotionally by fans as Hibs won the 2007 Scottish Cup final whilst another song on the Proclaimer’s album, Cap in Hand, contains the line “I can understand why Stranraer lie so lowly, They could save a lot of points by signing Hibs’ goalie.”
The Greasy Chip Butty Song (Sheffield United & others)
Originally sung by Sheffield United fans but adapted by many others, The Greasy Chip Butty Song is a lyrical insight to the glorious delights that awaits one on a visit to the Steel City – including a gallon of Magnet, a packet of Woodbines and a good pinch of snuff.
Sung to Annie’s Song, by John Denver, it is believed that Blades fans first sung Greasy Chip Butty during a Division Two victory at Stoke in 1985. Versions have since been sung by fans of numerous other football and rugby clubs in the UK and, in 2007, a special Chinese version of the song, entitled ‘Greasy Egg Noodle’ was released by the Sheffield Star in honour of Sheffield United’s sister team – Chengdu Blades.
Cant del Barça (Barcelona)
Played to more than 90,000 passionate Catalans at the Nou Camp, Cant del Barça is the official hymn of FC Barcelona.
The hymn was first commissioned in 1974 in celebration of the club’s 75th anniversary and focuses on the strength of the club’s Catalan heritage.
The song was re-released to celebrate the club’s centenary in 1998 and, since 2008, the phrase Cant del Barça has appeared on Barcelona’s shirt.