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Shit Ground No Fans by Jack Bremner

Release date: 04th November, 2004
Publisher: Bantam Press

List Price: £9.99
Our Price: £5.99
You Save: £4 (40%)
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What is it that inspires a grown man to travel the nation's football grounds in order to compile a football chant songbook?

Jack Bremner suggests it was the announcement by Poet Laureate Andrew Motion who launched a competition to find his lyrical footballing equivalent. On offer was a £10,000 first prize for the person who could write a new football chant that had "wit, inventiveness, energy and humour and the ability to be taken up by people on the terraces."

Unfortunately for Bremner, the prize was won by an Aston Villa fan who created a clever piece of street poetry, a homage to Juan Pablo Angel, that was, "offensive to absolutely nobody." It was, says Bremner, "the last chant you would ever hear at a British football groundÖbecause football fans don't do nice chants." Quite.

Many of our stadia may be all-seater nowadays, but chanting and football songs have not, thankfully, disappeared altogether. The wittiest can be appreciated even by opposition supporters; those with a darker humour at their core are merely envied.

If anyone has ever accused you of still (if you're over 25) or currently (if you're at school or university) getting a kick from schoolboy humour, you will love this book. It's one into which you will regularly dip and, following another ten minute bout of laughter, put it aside and walk around for the rest of the day with a recurring tune playing inside your head.

Many football chants are based upon a collection of 'core' tunes, particularly Guantanamera and Go West, but Bread of Heaven is a regular, put to good and amusing use in Manchester City's dig at their near neighbours' commercial aspirations:

We're the pride of (x2)
We're the pride of Manchester
You're the pride of Singapore

Or in the spontaneous lines used by Chelsea fans when a male streaker ran onto the Stamford Bridge pitch:

Is that all (x2)
Is that all she gets at home? (x2)

More spontaneity (and a different tune) was evident a few seasons ago at Elland Road when Lee Bowyer, then a Leeds player, took to the pitch following his revelations in Court that he occasionally went out without wearing any pants:

He's here, he's there,
He's got no underwear,
Lee Bowyer! Lee Bowyer!

Of course, football fans are allowed to poke fun at themselves or their team, but woe betide opposition supporters who try to do the same. For this reason, you have to conclude that Notts County supporters have a sense of humour as they regularly belt this one out at Meadow Lane to the tune of Blue Moon:

Juve, Juve
It's just like watching Juve (x3)

Then there's those crazy Rushden and Diamonds supporters who created:

We're the worst team in the League (x4)

to the tune of He's got the whole world in his hands. Credit too to Boston United supporters; following the Football League's decision to dock their club ten points for financial irregularities in 2002, they came up with:

We're cheats and we know we are
We're cheats and we know we are

Given the book's title, it will be apparent that some of the dirtiest football songs, i.e. most of them, cannot be reproduced in a family newspaper. Nevertheless, one wonders if there is any great psychological meaning underpinning Bremner's collection? The conclusion has to be no - it's just great fun - although please note the warning about 'adult content' on the book's cover.


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