Songs from the terraces

9th February 2013

When I saw former Swans and Wales midfielder John Mahoney walk out onto the pitch before the Stoke game, a long forgotten song suddenly started echoing from the dark recesses of my memory.
"The one and only John Mahoney, la, la, la, la, la, la . . ." kept going around and around my head on repeat for the rest of the match.
It also sparked further memories from that era.
"He's here, he's there, he's every *******where, David Giles, David Giles."
And: "We'll take more care of you, Latch-ford, Latch-ford."
The chant about the former England striker came from a British Airways advert from the 1970s. I'm not sure how the North Bank boys made the connection between Bob Latchford, the Swans and British Airways, but it sounded good.
If that was a tenuous connection, there was an even more puzzling chant adopted for Jeremy Charles, who later went on to play for today's visitors.
"OK Charlo, now you're a yaga yaga, 
OK Charlo, I wanna be one too."
This was sung to the tune of a hit singe of the time called "OK Fred" by reggae singer Errol Dunkley, which reached Number 11 in the charts in 1979.
Only when I started writing this article did I find out that a yaga yaga is an easy going person, which I suppose could fit the bill for Jeremy, but I didn't know that when I used to belt it out on the North Bank.
There was no ambiguity surrounding the chant composed for ex-Liverpool hardman Tommy Smith when he transferred to the Swans.
This was a variation on a famous Anfield anthem, with a menacing twist: "You'll ne-ver walk again, you'll ne-ver walk again, be-cause . . . Tommy's gonna get you, Tommy's gonna get you!"
For the rest of the weekend after the Stoke win, various player related songs from the past 35 years kept springing into my mind.
Everything from "Su-per, su-per John; Su-per, su-per John; Su-per, su-per John;  Sup-er John-ny Cornforth" to "Lee Trun-dle, My Lord; Lee Trun-dle, Oh-Ohhh Lee Trundle"!
Of course, there is now an updated version to the Kumbaya-inspired chant for LT10, which has been adapted for Michel Vorm.
And who can forget the classic "We all dream of a team of Alan Tates" sung to the tune of the Beatles' yellow submarine"?
One chant even hit the headlines when Swans fans latched on to Scott Sinclair's relationship with the actress who played Rosie Webster on Coronation Street. But we won't dwell on that cos even Sally don't care, apparently!
The chants were brought bang up to date at the Stoke game with the brilliantly topical: "He feeds who he wants, he feeds who he wants, Angel Rangel, he feeds who he wants."
The "Sloop John B"-inspired chant, just goes to illustrate how brilliantly spontaneous football fans can be as the East Stand choir picked up on to the news that the kind-hearted Spanish full-back had spent the previous evening helping feed some of Swansea's homeless.
They were at it during the Liverpool match earlier this season. When the Reds' goalkeeper Pepe Reina went down injured, Swans fans helpfully suggested to former manager Brendan Rodgers which player they thought would make an ideal replacement.
The physio had barely reached the stricken keeper before the East Stand burst into another Sloop John B-based ditty: "Put Suarez in goal, put Suarez in go-al. He's a diver, put Suarez in goal."
Of course, there are probably just as many chants composed about opposition players as there are about home players, but unlike the Suarez song, they are usually unrepeatable in publications such as this!
By the way, apologies if I've got the words of some of these chants wrong, I'm notorious for mis-hearing song lyrics and making up my own words.
Strangely, my errors often seem to be supermarket related.
For example, my take on Oasis' Wonderwall is: "Because maybe, you're going to be the one at Sainbury's."
And how about Abba's Super Trouper: "I was sick and tired of everything,
when I called you last night from Tesco."
Apparently there's a new book out which catalogues various Swans chants from down the years, so if you want the definitive versions, rather than take my dubious word for it, you can always go out and buy a copy.
Player-related football songs aren't just confined to the stands and terraces though. Some players haven't only had chants dreamt up about them - they've had full blown chart hits written in their honour.
I'm sure followers of today's visitors QPR came up with plenty of terrace chants about 70s fans' favourite Stan Bowles.
But chart band "The Others" took it one step further by penning a 2004 single entitled "Stan Bowles", which reached number 36 in the charts.
The hugely successful singer songwriter Billy Bragg wrote a song "God's Footballer" about promising England Under-23 star Peter Knowles, who spent his playing days banging in goals for Wolves before ending his football career at the age of 24 to become a Jehovah's Witness.
This was in stark contrast to the song written about Peter Knowles' brother, Cyril, who played full- back for Spurs.
The cheery "Nice one Cyril" by the Cockney Chorus was one of the most popular football songs of the 1970s and reached number 14 in the charts. I wonder how many other footballing brothers have had separate successful pop songs written about them?
There are plenty of other players to be immortalised on record. Here are  just some:
Punk band The Toy Dolls were so inspired by former England striker and legendary Nottingham Forest manager Brain Clough cuffing a couple of his own fans around the ear after a match against QPR that they wrote "Cloughie is a Boot Boy".
The late Clash frontman Joe Strummer penned "Tony Adams" in honour of the former Arsenal and England centre half, while Birkenhead's finest Half Man Half Biscuit  were inspired by another Arsenal legend when they wrote "Bob Wilson Anchorman".
Although inspired may be the wrong word as this was no tribute to Wilson's goalkeeping talents while playing for Arsenal and Scotland, but a lampooning of his presenting skills on TV.
No such criticisms for the on-song Swans this season. Given the harmonious way they have been playing it's no wonder us fans have been in fine voice here at the Liberty and up and down the country.
And I'm sure the team will provide plenty more material to inspire more songs of praise between now and the end of the season.
Come on you Swans!