Sing your hearts out for the lads: a history of football songs

Ever wondered where football’s most popular terrace songs come from? My feature in the latest issue of FourFourTwo attempts to find out, tracing the origins of various favourite chants and ditties, adapted from hymn books, the pop charts, music halls, and operas.

“At the 1888 FA Cup Final, West Brom and Preston fans joined together to sing Rule Britannia and Two Lovely Black Eyes, the latter a popular music hall number featuring the chorus: ‘Two lovely black eyes / Oh what a surprise / Only for telling a man he was wrong / Two lovely black eyes!’ At least one song from this era can still be heard in modern football – the Newcastle United anthem Blaydon Races originated in the city’s Victorian music halls.”

Read the full story in the March 2014 issue of FourFourTwo.


Published by Paul Brown

Writes about football, history, true adventure. The Guardian, Four Four Two, When Saturday Comes, The Blizzard, Longreads, Deadspin, etc. Latest book: The Ruhleben Football Association. Twitter: @paulbrownUK