The Role of Music in Football

by / January 1, 2012


With Euros upon us, we thought we’d take a look at how music is used in football. From the anthems to the crazy songs made by the fans.

Everyone seems to go a bit crazy, sentimental and patriotic when we come together for major sporting events like Euro 2012. All of a sudden everyone is very aware of where they come from and what other country they will be playing against. Politics and history come brimming to the surface again and emotions start running high. How does music play its part in all of this?

National Anthems

We get to hear everyone’s national anthems. We compare them to our own and of course “ours is better”. Some do the job better than others. Some are good for a crowd to sing, and others don’t really have much impact at all. We get to hear the footballers sing – and most of them cant! Why do we have a national anthem? They usually reflect the history and traditions of the country and symbolise how they have come through hard times. So it would seem fitting that a national anthem would give sportsmen the emotion and determination to try their best and win.

They are usually very grand pieces of music written for orchestra making them hugely epic. They are, more often than not, sung in the native tongue of the country. This reinforces the fact you are “fighting” for your country. But is a major sporting event really the right place to use national anthems? Could the history and politics involved bring old grudges to the fore? There are obvious tensions between some countries at the Euros e.g. Poland and Russia. Singing their national anthems could make emotions run even higher and result in crowd violence. In the past, players have been axed from teams for not singing the national anthem – is this taking it a step too far?

Football Songs

In comparison, football songs tend to have a more light hearted approach. The main aim to get the crowd singing something upbeat and jolly in support of the team. The lyrics are football related – and so they should be. A good football song needs a catchy chorus that is memorable and easily learnt by the fans. Some even changing the lyrics to well known songs – Delilah, Ring of Fire, When the Saints…

Crowds beat large drums and blow horns just to make a noise. Music is a big part of the sport before, during and after. The White Stripes, Seven Nation Army riff is played after every goal in the Euros, and every fan sings along to celebrate their success. Often football songs quote player’s names. An example being Three lions for England talking about Linekar and Moore. And remember “we’re all part of Jackie’s army”? Surely the fans connect to these songs more? They must evoke feelings of happiness and support rather than the anger and raw emotion of a national anthem.

On the flip side, fans can use songs to intentionally offend the opposing fans. Singing about their lack of talent, the personal lives of the players and more worryingly – singing about awful tragedies like the Munich Air disaster.

No matter what way they are used, songs play a massive part in football. What’s your view on the subject? Do National Anthems have a place in sport? Do fans take it a step too far with the lyrics?

We’ll leave you with the most random football songs ever – about a Vindaloo??

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