The funniest songs of all time at a football ground

By Tony Attwood

Following up on the Untold piece about chants over the weekend the Guardian quotes the “Three nil and you can’t get home” song from Sunday, and invites readers to send in their own versions of popular singing numbers from the terraces.

Of course it is written within the constitution of the Guardian that they can’t praise either the Gunners or the Gooners without slapping them down at the same time, especially where a long word that you might not have heard before is involved, so we have the obligatory “The Emirates is not known for its rambunctious atmosphere…”

[Rambunctious: difficult to control or handle; wildly boisterous: turbulently active and noisy – difficult to do that with the stewards around]

Of course Stadium Wenger can be noisy – it all depends where you sit and what the game is.  Sit in the club level and shout and it feels like you’ve made a faux pas at a funeral, while in much of the rest of the ground it’s noisy – although that is a bit of a sophisticated acoustics and architecture argument for a football journalist.  But the reality is that if the ground becomes difficult to control then the police shut the whole thing down, and even wildly boisterous is tough to get to without risking ejection.

Anyway, leaving aside the sideswipe, not to mention 19th century Americanisms, it got me thinking, not just of the recent “He wants his own song” and “Oooooooooooospina” (a reversal of the shout that used to be given when opposition goalkeepers kicked the ball out in the 1960s), my favourite of all time was the 1991 night at Highbury when Arsenal playing Man U, having had two points deducted for a handbags and 30 paces non Rambunctious event at Old Trafford.

I’ve told the story before, so apologies if you recall it, but when a journalist not only uses the word Rambunctious but also uses it inappropriately, my ire is raised and I start to repeat myself.

It was, I think, the first and last punishment of its sort dished out by the league ever, and was of course singled out to be given to Arsenal who unacceptably looked like winning the league for the second time in three years, having rubbed Liverpool’s noses in it just 18 months earlier.  You could hear the League’s cotton mill and mine owners growling about upstart cockneys without them having a  clue what a cockney was (or what the inside of a cotton mill or a mine looked like).

Liverpool were playing late afternoon (for TV) and needed to win to keep their chances of the title alive.  They didn’t and Arsenal were champions again while we celebrated in the pub.

Then, we poured into Highbury, and could hear but one song, going around the whole stadium at an incredible volume (which must have confused the journalists of the day what with it being a “library”).  To the tune of “she’ll be coming round the mountain” we sang, “You can stick your fucking two points up your arse.”  Over and over and over again.

Even more amusingly, ITV who were televising the game, turned down the crowd noise as befits a library, and the delicate nature of evening viewers of ITV, and the commentator said, “and you can hear the crowd already singing, ‘We are the champions’.”  As if.

Beyond that old favourite, when we beat Tottenham through the Fabregas goal in which he nicked the ball from Tottenham as they kicked off after a goal a minute before half time, and whizzed through the whole team… and to the tune of the old Tottenham “when the spurs” song, we sang “Oh when the wheels, come off the bus, oh when the wheels come off the bus, I want to be in that number…”

Thinking of Tottenham (as one must when thinking of funny things) I loved the time when they were thinking of going to Stratford.  Of course as we know, they couldn’t find the bus so never went, but after something like 98 years of their anger at Arsenal having the temerity of moving its ground by seven miles, we could sing “North London is ours, fuck off to Stratford, North London is ours”.

Or when the wonderful St Totteringham (or Totteridge) day comes around, to be able to sing, in the low solumn manner as befits such an occasion, “It’s happened again, it’s happened again, Tottenham Hotspur, it’s happened again.”

Ah such very simple pleasures.


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26 Replies to “The funniest songs of all time at a football ground”

  1. I had a rare outing to the dark part of the world for the 3-3 (robbed again, I recall) when the Stratford song got a full airing!

  2. The best one of this year –

    “Oh wake me up, Yaya Sanogo, you sure are better than that cunt from Togo”.


  3. Not an Arsenal chant but a night spent watching Bristol Rovers v Burnley as the home support sung about the Cockney bastards !

  4. Nice post Tony, two of my favourites were singing “he smokes when he wants” to Jack Wilshere. However one match that stuck in my mind was a league fixture at Highbury against West Ham back in 97/98 I think it was. Bergkamp was having a great game and in response to us singing “we’ve got Dennis Bergkamp2 they were singing “we’ve got Iain Dowie” and “we all agree, Dowie is better than Bergkamp” (clearly ironic). The final nail in the coffin for Dowie (who had a poor game) was that when he committed a foul (and was booked); the West Ham fans were shouting “Off! off! off!” to their own player. Priceless!

  5. mine has to be some time at the end of the 70s or early 80s at Highbury. The programme had a printed warning about swearing, how there was no place for it and action would be taken against foul mouthed chanters. We were playing United and before long we were singing ‘We’re not swearing any more, we’re not swearing any more” (to the tune of Bread of Heaven)

    This was later followed by ” you stick you’re F*****g swearing up your arse!”

    before United went and scored.

    “Swearing is back, swearing is back” was the cry

  6. My favourite song was when Barthez committed two howlers and passed the ball to King Henry XIV who gleefully accepted the offer and scored twice in that away game at Man Utd. Thereafter whenever an Arsenal player had the ball, the crowd sang “Give it to Barthez! Barthez is a Gooner!”. Hilarious. That was the day when I became an Arsenal fan!

  7. My all time favourite has to be “You won the League in black and white,, you won the League in black and white you won the League in the sixties, you won the League in black and white”. Which is a lovely comment on how much water has gone under the bridge since our neighbours last won the League. When we win the League again soon we will have to bring it back with the second verse being “You won the League in two dimensions” to recognize the even further advances in television! rather than our poor neighbours.

  8. @ Walter , Tony – Untold Arsenal ought to have our own song ( or songs ). I think we have earned it.
    You know , seeing that we AKBs have always been loyal and true and often are standard bearers of sorts .

    ” Arsenal ,always looks on the bright side of life !
    Arsene , always look on the bright side of life !
    Untold Arsenal ,always look on the bright side of life !
    AKBs , bless them ! Always look on the bright side of life! ”

    That’s the way , lads , all together now !
    It’ll grow on you ,you know !

  9. Vintage – thank you for reminding me of the black and white. I remember in the old days when I used to go to away games at Tottingham they showed the sequence on the screens and we all sang it throughout.

    Lovely memory

  10. One of the silliest was the North Bank in the seventies singing to the tune of Land of hope and glory….

    We hate Softly Softly
    We hate Z cars too
    We hate Dixon of Dock Green
    but The Sweeney we love you!

    followed by…Jack Regan…..Jack Regan…..Jack Regan!

    Another good one was when we used to sing… Give us an A……R…….S…etc but when it got to E it was always over emphasized and exaggerated. When we played Norwich their supporters were singing…give us an N…O…R…etc. The North Bank sang back What’s it like to have no E’s! Silly.

    We were playing Man City once in the 80’s when they were awful and Arsenal sang… Where were you when you were good! ( It was usual to sing at rival supporters …Where were you when you were shit!)

    Spuds used to sing to the Rod Stewart song we are sailing, so it was nice to sing to that tune when we kept banging the goals in at White Hart Lane in December 1978…..
    We are winning, we are winning, we are winning 1 nil ( which changed to 2 nil, then 3 nil then 4 nil then 5 nil ) Happy days!

    The week Roy Keane got a pay rise up to £50000 he scored an own goal against Real Madrid so when we played them we sung to the same tune we used to sing about Vieira. (Volera?)

    Roy Keano oh oh
    Roy Keano oh oh oh oh
    For fifty thousand quid
    He scores for Real Madrid!

  11. posh spice is a hooker
    she wears a hookers bra
    and when shes shagging beckam
    she dreams of Ray Parlour

  12. Highbury just after Tommy doc had been caught out with the groundsmans Mrs. Who’s up Mrs brown who’s up Mrs brown Tommy tommy Docherty Tommy tommy docherty. Until he left the dugout and walked down the tunnel to the cheers of the north bank. Priceless

  13. You one of my abolsute favourites, i.e. “North London is ours”. One of those, however, which I always thought deserved credit for its uniqueness (although definitely not for its political correctness) relates to a Glasgow derby shortly after the Rangers goalkeeper had been diagnosed schizophrenic. The inventive Celtic fans came up with, “Two Andy Goram’s, there’s only two Andy Goram’s”.

  14. – The West Ham fans when Zamora scored at The Emirates for a 0-1 win….”One shot, we’ve only had one shot”
    – The Ipswich fans some years back. Highbury. We were thumping them a week or so after they were murdered 9-0 by United (I think). “You’re shit if you cant score 9”. I think they were doing the conga as well if memory serves.
    – Arsenal fans versus Liverpool at Highbury. Early 80’s. The ball is deflated and has to be replaced. “Sammy Lee sat on the ball again”.
    – Virtually any German team coming to The Emirates. “Its coming home, its coming home, footballs coming home” (in perfect English)
    – “Shilton hit a lampost”…….this went on an on and on and on. Or lone cries of “Tina” at quiet moments
    – “Granny shagger”… know who this was aimed at 🙂
    – The guy in the North Bank years ago who used to shout “Shoot Pat” to Pat Jennings at virtually every goal kick. I never got tired of that.
    – North Bank years ago….”rip roar, rip roar, give us a song” followed by a single lone voice “Come on you rip roaring reds”…I miss that one

  15. The only chant that I can remember having the whole of the Emirates laughing was in a Champions League match against Porto. In the second half we were winning and cruising and Porto brought on Hulk. He ran around like a headless chicken, achieved nothing and got dispossessed a fair few times. As this continued, Hulk got more and more irate and starting screaming at the ref.

    At which moment some genius stood up and began singing: “Green in a minute. He’s turning green in a minute….”


  16. Thanks arse_or_brain, I remember that one fondly!

    And surely the John Terry Adams family song has to feature somewhere?

  17. OlegYch,

    I have been saying that they should sing this for him since the day he signed for us! I think he would love it! I will start to sing it next time I come to London on February 1st 😉

  18. Neckar stadium Stuttgart 1988, England 0 v Rep of Ireland 1

    Packie Bonner had the game of his life in goal for Ireland. Kept the cream of English football at bay for the whole game. To the cheers of ‘there’s only two Packie Bonners, two Packie Bonners…….
    Might have been the occasion, might have been the result but as an Irishman and a goalkeeper it has always been my favourite crowd moment.
    Sorry chaps for perhaps bringing up an unpleasant memory:)

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