Sunday, January 21, 2007

O Canada!/O Palace!

I began watching English Premiership football a few years back in the States thanks to Fox Sports World (which I believe is now called Fox Soccer Channel). Watching the games, one of the things I always admired was the crowd's enthusiasm. All game long, the spectators would sing hymns to their team, and it wasn't just a few spectators; it seemed to be the entire audience. The only thing that seems to come close to the enthusiasm of English soccer fans is maybe the fans of the New York Yankees, or maybe Philadelphia Eagles fans when they're busy booing Santa Claus or throwing snowballs with alkaline-battery cores at the opposing team's players. English football sides, on the other hand, seemed to all have fans that sing and chant all match long.

Fast forward a couple of years and I of course live in London. I'm learning of the great tradition of bleacher chants among the Britain's football faithful (including one clever, wicked, yet somewhat racist and sectarian one directed at Shunsuke Nakamura, the midfielder for Glasgow Celtic. He's Japanese, while chow mein is a Chinese dish, and his status as a resident alien in Scotland probably precludes his voting for Northern Ireland's Sinn Fein party.)

In any case, last night we were invited to a Canadian themed pub in Soho to celebrate the birthday of a friend of Mrs. Werbenmanjensen. (Side note: Not a single game of ice hockey on TV, but Indiana U was busy beating UConn in basketball.) We happened to sit next to two gents not affiliated with our little party who initially declared allegiance to the Edmonton Oilers, but later on disclosed that they were in fact fans of Crystal Palace FC, which of course takes its name from the Crystal Palace. The Palace had been in the Premier league when I first started watching English football, but have since been relegated to a lower league (although my new friends assure me the Palace is now "gagging for promotion" from 18 points down).

Crystal Palace had fought magnificently to a 1-1 draw against Hull earlier in the day, so my new friends were eager to teach me one of the Palace bleacher songs.

To the tune of "Land of Hope and Glory" (you know it as "Pomp and Circumstance"):

We all fol-low the Pa-lace,
Over land and sea (and Brighton!)
We all fol-low the Pal-ace
On to vic-tory
(all to-gether now)

And it kind of goes on from there. You can go to this web site for more of the Palace cheers, although some of them have some very naughty words.

I will never be able to go to a graduation ceremony again without thinking of Crystal Palace FC.

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Blogger JJ said...

Should there be a Salary Cap in Football?
Personally I think there should be! It’s just getting to be stupid money in football at the top of the premiership!
It’s always the same teams at the top proving that football success is based purely on money which ruins the idea of it being a sport! They’ve done it in rugby, basketball, hockey and American football and it makes the sports more competitive and better to watch!
I do a little Spread Betting from time to time and most matches don’t hold much surprise who is going to win, its boring! I want to see a team at the bottom pulling off an amazing season beating last seasons winners in a close fought battle!
Make things fair! It shouldn’t be about money!
All there is all that money in the premiership and barely any of it stays in the UK so it’s not even helping the economy!
From my Spread Betting, if I ever win big (which is never, I’m unlucky) it’s still nothing compared to the average premiership players weekly wage!
This Rant was brought to you by Spread Betting Spike. 

1:31 PM  

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