It’s Saturday, your team is playing your biggest rivals at home, you’ve been in the pub since 12 watching your 14-fold accumulator not come in as you backed the early kick-off, but never-the-less you’re ready to forget all the problems you have during the week and come three pm, express every emotion possible for 90 minutes.
No football ground around the country is the same, but what’s the one constant? The rallying cry of music which welcomes you through the turnstiles and the same music which embraces you into the atmosphere of a match-day.
The choice of songs through the speakers is the most under under-appreciated component of every match day at every ground at every level- whether it’s a classic song from the 60’s or the latest techno tune, but how important actually is the pre-match playlist?
The correct answer is very important.
Popular walk-out songs which are embedded into football folklore like ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ (Celtic, Liverpool, Dortmund) or ‘ZCars’ (Watford and Everton) are synonymous with the people related to the clubs through tough times or brilliant times, which on a match day which could offer a humbling experience to the players in the tunnel as they prepare to battle for their spectators.
A real sense of community is also presented at grounds such as Saint James’ Park where Newcastle United walk-out to local artist Mark Knopfler’s ‘Going Home: The of Local Hero’ or at Old Trafford Manchester band The Stone Roses’ ‘This Is The One’ rings out to introduce Manchester United.
Staying in the North-East, during the Netflix documentary-series of ‘Sunderland ’till I die’, the football executive at the time Charlie Methven was desperate to enhance the atmosphere at the Stadium of Light with 90s techno music welcoming the players onto the field in a hope to get the players pumped up, but just like the Black Cats that season it’s objectives miserably flopped and Methven was portrayed as some David Brent-esque character in his aims.
What Methven was aiming for was to really get his players fired up with some up-beat, foot-tapping music, and that does work at the other other grounds as ‘Carnaval De Paris’ (Dario G), ‘Pump It Up’ (Endor) and ‘Right Here Right Now’ can successfully get the players and fans in a positive mood and riled up.
20th century classics such as Fleetwood Town’s ‘Together in Electric Dreams’ and various clubs’ ‘Sweet Caroline’ are great examples of when young meets old. The songs create a feel-good factor where nerves are channelled through the voices in attendance where everyone can come together and belt out the words to emphasise the bond they have for their team to help push the players on.
The 20th century classics are the type of songs you and your dad can belt out on karaoke at the local 10 pints deep together after a win and feel no shame in doing so.
The ‘football casual’ culture through music is still popular to this day- songs like ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger (Oasis)’, ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ (The Courteeners) and ‘Parklife’ (Blur) bring the nation together during international competitions and music festivals in a hope their team can emulate the fan’s good times onto their respected club’s pitch.
When life is somewhat back to normal and fans will be allowed back into stadiums in bulk, appreciate the music playing through the speakers as it’s more important than you think in the fight for three points.