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One Ginger Pele by Chris Parker

Release date: 10th January, 2009
Publisher: New Holland Publishers

List Price: £5.99
Our Price: £3.72
You Save: £2.27 (37%)
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As snow has swept across the land this week, it's been noticeable just how many more smiles there are on people's faces. Our economy may be disappearing down the pan, but it doesn't take much to cheer us up; a modicum of soft snow, a semi-legitimate day off work spent sledging and suddenly, the world looks significantly brighter, if a tad slushy.

Assuming the snow clears by next week, those wishing to retain their sense of happiness and joie de vivre could do a lot worse than drop the price of a lunchtime sandwich on a book which is virtually guaranteed to raise a smile. If nothing else, you'll be humming the words to football's wittiest ditties for days to follow.

Many of us have been at sporting stadia and listened (or possibly joined in) to some of the funniest chants around. A personal favourite occurred at White Hart Lane some years back when Tottenham scored against visitors Swindon, then mired near the foot of the Premier League table, a position from which they failed to recover.

The goal prompted Spurs fans to launch into a less-than-original, "Going down, going down going downÖ", whereupon the Swindon fans immediately replied with, "So are we, so are we, so are weÖ" To their enormous credit, most Tottenham supporters laughed and applauded their opposite numbers.

If that's the type of atmosphere we want to encourage at football grounds (and we surely do), then perhaps every fan should be given a copy of One Ginger Pele in order that they may see what's possible when we take ourselves less seriously than normal.

Although this is a comparatively short book laden with large font, it does manage to include some classics. One of the funniest was 'penned' by West Brom supporters after they signed Swiss defender Bernt Haas. Fitting his name to the tune of 'Blue Moon' with an accuracy of which Robbie Williams would be proud, Baggies' fans came up with, "Bernt Haas, I've gone and Bernt my Haas, I've gone and Bernt my HaasÖ"

Thankfully, some of the most amusing chants do not emanate at the grounds of the nation's "biggest" clubs. Consider, for example, the number rattled off by Bristol City fans which, once interpreted, is happy, tuneful (if you like the Wurzels) and self-deprecating:

I can't read,
I can't write,
But that don't really matter.
Cos I comes from the West Country,
And I can drive a tractor.

For many, the best chants are quick retorts such as that practiced by Swindon fans at Tottenham. These range from the cutting to those which get their opponents thinking. "Where's your famous atmosphere" asked Chelsea supporters of their Liverpool counterparts last Sunday, to which the Kop promptly replied, "Where's your European Cups?"

However, another personal favourite was heard at Ashton Gate a couple of seasons ago when Plymouth supporters took umbrage at the way their players were being fouled. "You dirty northern b******" they chanted from the away end, causing much merriment amongst the home fans who hardly consider themselves to be northern.

Hopefully, after reading One Ginger Pele, you will be resurrecting similar moments - and, most importantly, smiling.


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