Soccer fans sing and chant during games for several reasons. One reason is to unify their support for their team, usually during the national anthem, or to encourage their team while playing the game. In addition to singing for their team, fans can also chant to rattle their opponents during a match. In other instances, fans can chant about a specific play during a game to get on the referee for a missed call.
So, what is the history of soccer fans chanting and singing? What are some examples of famous chanting during matches? Here is the complete breakdown of why soccer fans sing during games.
A Brief History of Soccer Singing
Football singing and chanting goes back to storytelling via folk songs and war cries in the 19th century. Folk songs and war cries were a sense of identifying your group and what you stood for in beliefs. These war cries and folk songs eventually made their way into soccer.
In 1887, the first song that referenced soccer was “The Dooley Fitba Club” or “Fitba Crazy” during the Scotting Cup. That song mentioned soccer and was sung in music halls during that time.
A Change in the 1960s
In addition to modern music playing in stadiums, the internationalization of the sport was growing. With the growth of international games, the national anthems came before the game. Singing the national anthem has a great sense of pride for fans of their team, which is part of the movement in singing at soccer games.
Along with singing the national anthem, fans began chanting moments during the soccer matches. Chanting began for specific players after a goal, a goalkeeper stopping a goal, or even taunting other players for the other team.
Why Do Fans Sing During Games in Soccer Today?
There are numerous reasons why soccer fans sing and dance during games. You will find plenty of singing throughout football matches, from friendly matches to The World Cup Final. Here are some of the common reasons why singing occurs during games.
Singing the National Anthem + Team Football Anthem
Football fans sing their countries’ national anthem or football team anthem before games. For example, Liverpool fans sing out “You’ll Never Walk Alone” before a game. Millwall fans sing “No One Likes Us, We Don’t Care” before games begin.
Boosting the Morale of their Team
Another way that soccer fans help boost the morale of their team is by singing. For example, Manchester United Fans might chant their team name during a Premier League game when they are winning or chant a player’s name after a goal. Getting thousands of fans to cheer on their squad or players help boost the team’s morale during the game.
Fans can also sing during a game to help rally their team when they are losing. Having the support of thousands of football fans singing during a match is a great way to boost a team’s morale.
Stressing out the Opposing Club
Soccer fans want to get home-field advantage for their football club, so one way is to make the atmosphere hostile for the visiting team. One way to make the atmosphere aggressive is to mock the other team or players during the game.
Examples of mocking the players would be a goalie not blocking a goal, which fans might chant that person’s name for a while after that moment. Another example of creating a stressful environment is to chant a player’s name if they were in the news for a scandalous reason.
Reacting to a Bad Call by the Referee
During soccer games, there might be calls that don’t go in your team’s favor. Sometimes, fans will chant to rattle a referee to show their displeasure in their call. The hope in chanting and singing is to make the referee feel they missed a call, and perhaps your team will get the next call in their favor.
Bringing a Sense of Comradery with Other Soccer Fans
Whether it is your first time going to a soccer game, or your one hundredth, there is something special about being around thousands of fans rooting on your home team. Soccer chants and singing during a home game can unite fans, even strangers.
Sometimes during a soccer match, fans will begin creating noise to add to the excitement of the game. For example, fans might start singing “Ohh Ohh Ohh Ohh ohhhh,” which doesn’t have any type of meaning except that it sounds fantastic and is easy for anyone to join in, which is the goal of soccer singing, to get as many people in it as possible.
In addition to singing, some fans bring in horns or drums to make noise during games. Again, there is no music with these instruments, but it is a way to create additional noise in the stadium.
Is there any Controversy with Singing or Chanting in Soccer?
Unfortunately, there are instances where singing and chanting have unacceptable behavior during games. In 2019, a match between Chelsea and Tottenham had the game go into a delay for taunting in inappropriate behavior. You can read more about the story from ABC News.
How Does the Singing Begin / Who Starts it at Soccer Games?
Typically, the most vocal and die-hard fans begin the chants during the game. Usually, these fans sit near each other and loudly start singing for other fans to join.
Do Other Sports in the United States Have Singing?
Baseball games during the seventh inning traditionally play “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” which is the closest any of the four core sports get to fans singing. Take Me out to the Ballgame is usually broadcasted on the big screen and is slow to sing, making it easy for casual fans to join in during a game.
Like Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, some places have unofficial songs as part of their baseball game. For example, Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline plays during the middle of the eighth inning at Fenway Park. Other stadiums have incorporated other songs, like YMCA at Yankee Stadium.
Outside of that, college football stadiums like to incorporate popular songs into the game experience for fans. For example, Michigan Football plays Mr. Brightside at the end of the game for fans. Sometimes the fans will sing the song during the final few minutes when their team is winning.
Popular Club Songs Today
Arsenal: Good old Arsenal
Leeds United: Marching on Together
Liverpool: You’ll Never Walk Alone
Manchester City: Blue Moon
Millwall: No One Likes Us, We Don’t Care
West Ham United: I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles
Conclusion: Why Do Soccer Fans Sing
In summary, soccer fans sing to help boost the morale of their favorite team while connecting with other fans at the game. Soccer singing began gaining mainstream attention in the 1960s when more modern-day music would play over the speakers at games along with the global spread of the game itself. Fans would sing along to the music along with singing their national anthem.
Today, singing has grown in popularity as a way to cheer on your favorite team. In addition to rooting on your team, fans can also taunt the other team to rattle them with songs. Some reasons to chant against a player is if they mess up during the game, so you sing to rattle their spirit.
Next time you are at Wembley or another football stadium, you will hear plenty of fans singing games before, during, and after a game. Listen closely to hear what they are saying, and maybe you can join in!