Sing When You're Winning

Barnsley FC's resident poet Ian Mcmillan explores the rich history - and wild variety - of chants and songs that have echoed around British football grounds since the late 19th century.

On any given weekend between August and May, tens of thousands of people stand shoulder to shoulder in Britain's greatest theatres.

They have all come to watch football, and they are all going to make some noise.

They are the largest, loudest, funniest and most impassioned choirs on earth.

As World Cup fever grips the nation, Ian Mcmillan traces the history of this remarkable aspect of Britain's culture, including the stories behind some of the classic terrace songs such as The Pompey Chimes and I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles, as well as one of the earliest known chants - a special composition by Elgar for his beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Celebrity fans ranging from New Order's Peter Hook to comedian Mark Watson share their favourite chants and chant-related anecdotes, while former footballing legends Mark Lawrenson and Lee Dixon provide insight into how chants are percieved in the dressing room.

Former referee Graham Poll - who famously booked a player three times during the 2006 World Cup - explains how it feels to receive personal abuse from a baying crowd, and Liverpudlian star Gerry Marsden reveals why You'll Never Walk Alone was adopted at Anfield.

Three Lions writer Ian Broudie (The Lightning Seeds), former poet laureate Andrew Motion and BBC presenter Tim Lovejoy are also among those offering opinions on the subject.

And there are interviews with the loudest and proudest chanters in the country; remarkable characters such as Old Trafford terrace legend Pete Boyle and leader of the England Supporters Band, John Hemmingham.

show more detailshow less detail

Episodes

First
Broadcast
Comments
20100616

Barnsley FC's resident poet Ian Mcmillan explores the rich history - and wild variety - of chants and songs that have echoed around British football grounds since the late 19th century.

On any given weekend between August and May, tens of thousands of people stand shoulder to shoulder in Britain's greatest theatres.

They have all come to watch football, and they are all going to make some noise.

They are the largest, loudest, funniest and most impassioned choirs on earth.

As World Cup fever grips the nation, Ian Mcmillan traces the history of this remarkable aspect of Britain's culture, including the stories behind some of the classic terrace songs such as The Pompey Chimes and I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles, as well as one of the earliest known chants - a special composition by Elgar for his beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Celebrity fans ranging from New Order's Peter Hook to comedian Mark Watson share their favourite chants and chant-related anecdotes, while former footballing legends Mark Lawrenson and Lee Dixon provide insight into how chants are percieved in the dressing room.

Former referee Graham Poll - who famously booked a player three times during the 2006 World Cup - explains how it feels to receive personal abuse from a baying crowd, and Liverpudlian star Gerry Marsden reveals why You'll Never Walk Alone was adopted at Anfield.

Three Lions writer Ian Broudie (The Lightning Seeds), former poet laureate Andrew Motion and BBC presenter Tim Lovejoy are also among those offering opinions on the subject.

And there are interviews with the loudest and proudest chanters in the country; remarkable characters such as Old Trafford terrace legend Pete Boyle and leader of the England Supporters Band, John Hemmingham.