Leeds: A Tribute To LUFC's Brilliant Chants From The Terraces
New owner, new manager, new players - Leeds might even get some new chants. Already heard for the first time is ‘Billy Billy Billy Billy, Billy Sharp’ following his 88th minute winner against Boro.
Leeds are one of those clubs with dozens of songs to their name. Whereas, for example, QPR seem to have only variations on a theme ( ‘Come on You R’s) Leeds fans run through a variety of chants, sometimes revelling in how disliked they are, sometimes inverting traditional songs, and sometimes indulging in downright vitriolic abuse of the arguably acceptable nature.
The ‘signature’ song is ‘Marching On Together’ which has been around since the early 1970’s and shows no signs of fading. Like many a song, it’s not entirely truthful, for example - the chorus ‘We’re gonna see you win’ doesn’t take into account the last 14 years of misery, and the line ‘Everywhere, we’re gonna be there’ doesn’t quite allow for a scenario in which the Yorkshire club is playing down in Plymouth on a wet winters Tuesday night in the Capital Cup. Faced with that, even the hugely impressive Leeds away support might suffer a slight drop in numbers.
The other ever-present songs include ‘We are Leeds, we are Leeds we are Leeds’ sung over and over again until people forget the words, and ‘We are the Champions- Champions of Europe’. The latter annoys opposition fans especially as they will already have reminded Leeds that ‘You’re not famous anymore’ with which the Leeds fans will agree in verse. However, ‘Champions of Europe’ has been sung since the 1975 European Cup Final when Leeds were denied the trophy due to some exceptionally dubious refereeing decisions.
That is one of the legendary games in the club's folklore. Another is the victory against Man U at Old Trafford in 2010 when the then third tier side beat the reigning Premiership Champions – four years on it is still celebrated ‘
“January the 3rd
Remember the date
We beat the team that we f***ing hate
We knocked the Scum out the FA Cup
We’re super Leeds and we’re going up"
The Lancashire side features in many a Leeds song including one inspired by the scenes of Iraqis using their shoes to beat the toppled statue of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Accompanied by the waving of footwear it goes ‘Shoes off if you hate Man U…. Shoes off if you hate Man U”.
Leeds fans are also an argument against the idea that the fan base in English football is becoming more ‘genteel’. Football writers who say this spend too much time at Stamford Bridge or the Emirates and may not have visited Barnsley or Portsmouth recently.
There is illiberal use of the C word home and away by Leeds fans. When Kasper Schmeichel, son of former Man U player Peter, was the keeper, the song honouring him was ‘Your Dad’s a c***! - But you’re alright’. Naturally when he left to play for Leicester and returned the following season the chant changed to ‘Your Dad’s a c***! - And so are you’.
Sometimes opposition supporters are puzzled by the song - ‘We are the Leeds Scum!’ This refers to the infamous Ken Bates remark of 1984 "I shall not rest until Leeds United are kicked out of the Football League. Their fans are the scum of the earth’. That he had the brass neck to later become Chairman of LUFC only encouraged the ‘Get the Chelsea out of Leeds’ songs which began as soon as he took over and never stopped’. We are the Leeds Scum’ is still going strong.
Leeds still reckon themselves to be a big club, hence the provocative ‘We filled your ground for you’ and ‘Your ground’s from B and Q’ type songs. ‘You’re only here to watch the Leeds’ gets a run out at most away games, and goes down especially well when Leeds fill the away end and part of one of the other stands and amuse themselves by singing it to each other.
At the dawn of the Cellino era, there’s already a song for him - ‘Cellino... He comes from Italy - he don’t pay VAT’.
He’d argue he does, and either way, given that he paid for Billy Sharp, and the potentially brilliant Lee Cooper, he is regarded as a beacon of hope. If it goes wrong – get ready for the ‘Get the Pasta out of Leeds’ songs, if it doesn’t, you’ll see the Italian tricolour flying at Elland Road.
Tim Marshall's Dirty Northern B*****ds! And Other Tales From the Terraces - A History of Football Chants (Elliott & Thompson £8.99) comes with a neat reverse cover for those who would rather be seen reading “Soft Southern B*****ds!”...
Examples of the chants, taken from fanchants.com, have been embedded in the ebook version.