The way in which fans approach the support they give to their team has always been fascinating to me. The beautiful game brings out a host of different emotions for everybody. Whether that’s hurling a tonne of abuse at your team thinking it’ll motivate them into success, or lending your support at any given opportunity to spur your team on into scoring that goal you so desperately need - it’s often hard to not get carried away.
Support from fans is something that changes from club to country and in England i’d go as far as to say we’re a tame bunch. We’re often so subtle that in International games, England fans rely on the famous brass brand to kick off a rendition of The Great Escape, which then dies a death after fans realise they’ve been clapping for ten minutes and their hands are sore. It goes to the extremes in some leagues across the world, with teams having to play matches behind closed doors due to fans being too raucous. In the English leagues though, fans are often silent until something happens that’s worth shouting about, and even then it’s a mix of people either heckling their team or applauding them. But despite all of this, all clubs share one thing in common and that’s singing the songs that relate to their club.
I’m not in a position to argue who invented singing at football matches, but one place that has had a strong influence throughout history for both music and football, is Liverpool. With the famous Kop wall blasting out a plethora of songs throughout a game, it’s both intimidating to the opposition and the visiting fans; especially as Liverpool hold the record for the loudest fans in the country.
Going back to where it all started, In 1962, Liverpool emerged into the top flight after being in the second division for a lengthy 8 years. Two years on, In 1964, the Beatles take the world by storm and Merseybeat becomes a household genre that swept the nation. That same year Liverpool take the title. The first ever Match of the Day, sees Liverpool take on Arsenal, a clip I’m sure most of us have viewed endless times on Youtube. 10,000 plus Liverpool fans in Beatles attire swaying back and forth belting out “She Loves You Yeah Yeah Yeah”.
But before this, In the early 60’s, the tannoy at Anfield would play the top ten chart tunes before the game and at half time. Fans would often be heard singing the number one song of the day. With Merseybeat in full swing, It was Gerry & The Pacemakers who had formed in 1959 and enjoyed two number ones in 1963. They released ‘You'll Never Walk Alone’ in October of the same year, which then became a song that stuck with the Liverpool fans. It was in 1965 when well known Scottish footballer and highly respected Liverpool manager, Bill Shankly, sat down to record an episode of BBC 4’s long lasting show, Desert Island Discs. His song choice then, is now arguably one of the most famous football anthems ever. It is still proudly echoed at Anfield to this day.