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Shall I sing a song for you

“You’re not singing anymore, you’re not singing, you’re not singing, you’re not singing anymore.” So what, why would you sing at the first place? I thought people have come to watch a game of football, not being happy about others not singing. After all how much easier it would be to play and follow the game if people didn’t make all those loud noises in the stands.

Before I came to England I was used to play hearing only an occasional sole voice of a hot dog salesman. Now instead of shy “two with a price of one” I can hear 23000 people singing from the bottom of their lunges. It feels and sounds like a different game here.

But why are people singing during the game? Do they just like singsongs or try to spend some time during the boring parts of the game? Is it because they have incredible voices but were too afraid to join Pop Idol competition? I know, it is mainly to support your own team. To be involved. To feel even remotely that your cheer made a difference. There are two battles: one on the pitch, one on the stands. It seems to be as important to win the singing competition as the game.

I bet you have caught yourself making weird bodily movements when you have heard a good tune. I bet you have shouted something irrational during a sports game. Sports and music can get you very excited. Normally there are two major reactions when people get excited. Moving the body or making noises are the most common ways to express oneself. Sports and music create that need but are also a cure for the same need.

On the pitch it is actually almost impossible to hear what people are singing. Probably better that way, at least you don’t feel bad if they are caining you. Most of the time I can’t even tell whether a tune is from latest charts or centuries old battle songs. It is hard to catch the lyrics and melodies from a mass of loud voices. Not that the lyrics are too complicated, on a contrary, but obviously it is not going to be 23000 tenors singing perfectly in tone. No matter what it is, the sound makes the atmosphere and gets you going on the pitch. It can be sometimes bit embarrassing though when they are singing to you and you don’t understand to thank because don’t get the words. Or the other way. You thank although they are actually singing to someone else.

The first note can start many ways. Someone or some situation just creates a chant, and if many enough join it and repeat it, chant is born. The structure of the songs relates to the game: they are simple and rhythmic. Songs must be easy to learn and sung by masses. If you start to sing Croatian national anthem in a Chelsea game I doubt many will sing along with you. It has to be a known song and easy lyrics so everyone can join it quickly.

A good supporter knows variety of songs and is supporting his team passionately, even naïvely. That is part of the excellent irony that Halifax Town supporters are proudly singing that they are by far the best team in the world. If that was the scale, I wonder what Real Madrid or Juventus supporters are singing then.

“You are sh*t and you know you are” or “She takes it up the a*&¤”. Not just supporting your own, but as many songs are made to abuse the opponent. Rivals and their players and wives can get anything from sexual suggestions to dead threats. In football songs’ rudeness and political incorrectness are accepted, there seems to be no shame. It would be illegal to do some of these things at normal environment so I guess some people can get excited for being bit rebellious, get the aggressions out through singing.

It is a very much a social thing. Singing “We are FC Thisandthis” gives you the feeling of belonging to something. People can feel the social connections with the singsong about themselves. In some places the cultural heritage gives it more meaning like at Pompey, were some chants sums up the whole city and its society. Then there are also a variety of pop songs with changed lyrics like Arsenals “We’ve got that double feeling” from Top Gun. I am still waiting the day that a team takes a real challenge and makes either Bohemian Rhapsody or any Rnb song their own chant. Most songs are definitely simpler than these, although there are also complicated legends like “You never walk alone”, sung by Liverpool and Celtic. These are often taught in the families as a heritage.

It is a big honour for a player to have an own song. Normally just the best players get one, the ones that supporters appreciate enough. Others just get the occasional repetition of their name without any melody. Obviously players come and go, and the songs get recycled to other players. Nevertheless it is still an honour and some player’s songs just stay evergreen, part of the club’s history and traditions. I am sure there are many young Man Utd supporters who have never even seen Cantona playing but still know and sing the song “Ooh aah Cantona”. It is easy for him though with that kind of name. How do sing for a player whose name is Riihilahti then? That rhymes next to nothing. I am now eager to play better to give this challenge to supporters.

Music and sports create similar reactions in people. Them are ways to express your feelings and emotions. And when you are doing it as a part of a commonly accepted social thing, it is easier to get involved. The more you can combine and stimulate all three big sensations, visual, auditory and kinaesthetic, the more you are enjoying it. So while watching a game you should sing and dance like a bell end. That is a big part of the game. Or have you ever tried to watch a football game mute from a telly? It is not the same game anymore. You just desperately want to start on your sofa “The Great Escape”.

"Sing while you are winning, but only if you can"

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