The football chant

Photo by the author

Football chants have been around since the early 20th century but only really grew in the 1960s. Crowds at games took popular songs and added their own lyrics to them. Some chants can be identified to certain clubs – ‘when the saints go marching in’ for example – but many are general, changed around to suit the club and their nicknames.

I was at a game a couple of weeks ago, singing along and, if you’re a football fan and supporter who goes to games, you’ll recognise this. A chant started and I joined in. After two or three cycles, I realised the chant was dying so stopped. The song didn’t make another cycle round. A few minutes later, another song started and this one went on for a good 10 minutes, ebbing and flowing, getting louder and softer but still a constant noise.

I got to thinking about why one chant will stick and why others fall. The first one had simple lyrics but is relatively new; I say relatively because it’s been sung for about 20 years. It has a more complex melody and is sung a few times throughout games. The second song is shorter in terms of lyrics – 5 words – and has a clapping section where, people who don’t/can’t sing – can still join in.

Inducting new fans into the club, you want to get their energy and enthusiasm so the second chant is a better way of engaging them, keeping them interested and help them feel included.

Tell me again, why is your work induction programme so complicated?

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