Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Crystal Palace F.C. - "Glad All Over"

Welcome back to Songs Of The Stands, just in time for us to look at another classic football chant!

(photo from FM Base)

This week, we're delving back into the Championship to look at London-based club Crystal Palace F.C. With three games left to play, they sit relatively comfortably in the play-off places, albeit by only a couple of points, in fifth position. They also hold the enviable stat of being the second highest scorers in the league, meaning the fans get plenty of chances to listen to the song we're looking at today. That song is "Glad All Over", a staple at Selhurst Park for over 50 years.

As with most football songs, the song was taken from popular culture around at that time. "Glad All Over" was written by Mike Smith and recorded by The Dave Clark Five. Released in November of 1963, it got the group their first ever number one several months later, in January the following year. More impressively, it reached number 6 in the US charts too, one of the first "British Invasion" artists, other than The Beatles, to have success Stateside. It also fared well in other areas of the world, charting highly in mainland Europe and also Australia.

Unlike other football songs, however, the transition from chart to terraces was pretty much instant. Usually, it can take several years before a song is widely accepted as tradition but, in the case of "Glad All Over", it had easily caught on within the year and was solidified in matchday tradition by the end of the decade. So much so, The Dave Clark Five actually played the song live at Selhurst Park in 1968. Ever since then, the song has been sung before, during and after matches (providing Palace win). 

In addition to this, the club also released an official cover version to coincide with their 1990 FA Cup run, in which they reached the final. The single featured several squad members and famous faces, including a very young Alan Pardew and current Sky Sports pundit John Salako. The release also led them to do many promotional performances on TV shows, to much hilarity (see video later on).

John Salako: At home on Sky Sports News
(photo from TV Newsroom)

Whilst Crystal Palace may be the first and original adopters to the song, many other clubs have also used it since as an unofficial anthem of sorts. The most notable of these is US sister club, Crystal Palace Baltimore, who have used the song since the cover version release in the 90's. Other Football League clubs have followed suit, with Blackpool, Rotherham United, Port Vale and Swindon Town all known to play the song after scoring. The tradition has also spread north of the border, with newly-promoted Partick Thistle F.C. renowned for playing it over the PA before kick-off.

Now for the moment you've all been waiting for. I promised you a hilarious video and here it is. I present to you the Crystal Palace squad on "Jameson Tonight", performing "Glad All Over"!

Now it's time to get the fans' opinions. This week, I spoke to a family friend and users on The Student Room forum to gauge their opinions and pick their brains.

Richard (59), from Allestree, said, "I actually remember the song from my youth so I've always kind of liked it. It's also somewhat of a lucky song for us as it got us to the FA Cup final when it was released. In my opinion, we should re-release it again now to get us through the play-offs!"

Jamie (24), from Croydon, said, "I like how it's unique to us to be honest. I know other clubs use it but they don't have the kind of history or tradition with it like we do. It's a Crystal Palace song through and through."

Toni (20), also a South London native, said, "I enjoy the song because it's so uplifting and just puts you in a good mood. After a big win at home, when it comes on, it just feels like one big party. It's wonderful."

Anton (19), from Birmingham, disagreed with the general consensus. "I literally couldn't feel any more indifferent towards it than I do now. It's an alright song and I'll sing along if I go to a match but I don't feel any connection to it at all. Plus, if I recall correctly, it features Alan Pardew, who I can't stand as a manager!"

That's all for this week, I hope you enjoyed reading all about this classic football song! Come by next week where I'll be heading into the terraces of one of the most famous Scottish clubs. Don't miss it!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Manchester United F.C. - "Glory, Glory Man United"

This week, Songs Of The Stands visits the home of the champions elect, the "Red Devils", otherwise known as Manchester United!

(Photo from The First Eleven)

With just six games left to go of the Premier League season and 15 points clear, Manchester United look certain to become champions for the 20th time (only!) in their history. And whilst the 75,000-capacity Old Trafford is sometimes criticised for it's lack of atmosphere, one song is almost guranteed to be heard on matchdays.

That song is, of course, "Glory, Glory Man United", a chant that has been sung at both home and away games for over 30 years now. In this article, I'll be looking at the history of this ever-present chant, as well as investigating what the fans who sing it really think.

Unlike many songs featured in SOTS, no one club can lay claim to "owning" the "Glory, Glory" chants. The tune was taken from "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic", an old-fashioned Civil War hymn originally published way back in 1862. The chorus, which originally featured the line "glory, glory, hallelujah", was first used in football in the early 1950's by Scottish league stalwarts Hibernian. The song, titled "Glory, Glory To The Hibees", was originally written by the late Scottish comedian Hector Nicol and has been used by many a club since.

Both Tottenham Hotspur and Leeds United began using it in later decades, with both clubs releasing it as commercial singles.

It wasn't until 1983 that Manchester United got in on the act, giving the song a whole new level of notoriety. This particular version was written by Frank Renshaw of Herman's Herbits fame at some point in the late 70's. An avid "Red Devil" himself, he volunteered the track to the club some years later, to which the team agreed. Many squad players at the time sung on the recording, along with a few of Renshaw's friends and associates, including his son, Lee. 

The man himself: Frank Renshaw
(photo from Phil Platt) 

Ever since then, it has become a constant fixture at all of Manchester United's games. And whilst other clubs' renditions have faded away with time (although they are still around), the Manchester tradition has only gotten stronger. So much so, other clubs began using the melody to retaliate at games, with "Who the f**k are Man United?" a very popular opposition chant to this day. Even United fans have been known to sing this version, albeit sarcastically, whilst beating a rival team.

Besides in the terraces, the phrase "Glory, Glory Man United" has also become somewhat of a catchphrase for both fans and the club. This is particularly evident with the official club poster magazine, named after the famous song. It has been published every four weeks since 1994, being met with fantastic sales figures from fans all over the world.

Without further ado, here is the classic track (complete with a fan-made video of some of United's finest moments).


Now, as usual in SOTS, I wanted to get the opinions of the fans. Fortunately for myself, United have one of the biggest fanbases in the world, so you're never too far away from a Red Devil! For this article, I spoke to some family and friends, as well as using The Student Room forum.

Merrick (55), from Derby, said, "I remember going to several games in my 20's when that song was just catching on. That chant, along with seeing Bryan Robson play, are some of my best memories in that decade."

Jake (21), from Derby, said, "For me, it's one of the best football chants around. It's so simple yet so appropriate because Man United's history is all about glory."

Jack (26), from Leeds, recalls his favourite memory of the song. "A friend and I were lucky enough to get tickets to the United v Barcelona Champions League final a few years back. Hearing "Glory, Glory..." throughout that game was amazing, it honestly gave me goosebumps!"

Amar (17), from Salford, wasn't so positive however. "I try and go to as many games as I can and I always sing along with it. Having said that, I don't like the fact that it's not unique to us. Other teams like West Ham have their own individual chant and yet we don't. We're arguably the biggest club in the world! We should at least have our very own song!"

That's all for this post, thanks for stopping by! I'll be back in a few days with a brand new post and, in the meantime, you can join in the discussion by leaving a comment!

See ya!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Sheffield United F.C. - "The Greasy Chip Butty Song"

Welcome back to Songs Of The Stands!

One of the more humorous club songs now, as we visit Bramall Lane, home to Sheffield United!

(photo from Npower)

Affectionately known as The Blades, the club is undoubtedly one of the oldest and most famous in English football. And despite now residing in League 1, they still have their notoriously fanatical support, renowned for belting out "The Greasy Chip Butty Song" at home games.

However, whilst the song is reasonably well known in the footballing world, it's origins are a lot less clear. The song from which it borrowed the tune, "Annie's Song" by John Denver, was a huge hit back in 1975. It is claimed that it was first sung at an away-day victory over Stoke City in the opening match of the 1985/86 season, back when Sheffield United were in the second division. The lyrics were imaginatively reworded to include all of the simple pleasures of Yorkshire life, featuring such past times and luxuries as "a gallon of Magnet" and "a night out in Sheffield". However, other theories suggest that it may have come from a local radio jingle, whilst others suggest that United may have pinched it off someone else (more on that below).

John Denver: The man who started it all
(photo from Audiophile Paradise) 

As with most football songs, there's always a bit of controversy somewhere in their history. "The Greasy Chip Butty Song" is no different, with fans of local rivals Rotherham United instead claiming that they came up with the song. This is heavily disputed though and it is widely acknowledged by most that the song is Sheffield United through and through.

The song's legacy, however, has not stopped at the borders of Sheffield. There are versions out there for other sporting teams (as is what happens with all great chants), including in Norway and Canada. It has even crossed over into completely different sports, with St Helens Rugby Club having their own variation in which they pride themselves on Greenalls ale and kebabs. The Chengdu Blades (Sheffield United's Chinese sister team) also has their own unique version, written by newspaper The Star. The hilarious lyrics are as follows:

"You fill up my senses/ Like a gallon of soy sauce/ Like a packet of chopsticks/ Like a good crispy duck/ Like a night out in Chengdu/ Like a greasy egg noodle/ Like Chengdu United/ Come thrill me again."

And, on that note, let's have a listen to the Sheffield-based original, recorded just before the fiery Steel City derby with Sheffield Wednesday.

(I've also posted the lyrics below as they can be quite hard to pick out in the video)

"You fill up my senses/ Like a gallon of Magnet/ Like a packet of Woodbines/ Like a good pinch of snuff/ Like a night out in Sheffield/ Like a greasy chip butty/ Like Sheffield United/ Come fill me again.... Na Na Na Naa Naa Naaaaa, ooo!"


As with every post for traditional club songs, I got the opinions of a few Blades fans to give you, the readers a bit of perspective. For this, I got in contact with fans via The Student Room and the S24SU forum.

Jack (18), from Sheffield, said, "I think it's great that we have our own distinctive anthem. It always gets me psyched up, especially just before the big derby (with Sheffield Wednesday)!"

Gemma (26), from Ipswich, reinforced the fact that it is special only to them. "It's obviously "our" song and there's nothing like the whole crowd singing it just before a big game. It's also only relevant to people who live in Sheffield, which makes it much more special."

Paul (44), from Gosport, told me about a recent development in the fans' singing habits. "Before, it was only really ever sung at home games. But more recently, we've been singing it at away games as well. The good thing is, the home fans don't really have any reply one it get's up and going."

Riley (24), from Chester, took issue with this new habit though. "It's a good song to sing but it's hard to get going at away games. At home, they play the first line over the tannoy so everyone can come in at the same time but, away, you need one dedicated singer to take the lead at just the right time. At bigger stadiums, including Wembley, it just doesn't work."

Thanks for all their opinions and, don't forget, you can share yours too by leaving a comment.

As for "The Greasy Chip Butty Song", you can debate the pleasures of Sheffield mentioned but no-one can argue the passion with which it is sung.

Thanks for reading folks!