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!

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