As editor of MyFootballWriter, I’ve been thoroughly spoilt this week.
First up there was Martin’s fine and inimitable take on the win at Hillsborough, followed on Tuesday by the wonderful Bowles family’s insightful take on their day in Sheffield and then Anita Byrne-Phillips’ stirring plea for the Yellow Army to ‘believe’.
Yesterday was Connor’s turn, who, as ever, found the right words to put into perspective just where City are right now, and today Emma’s lovely piece has highlighted just how much the Class of 2019 actually care.
Five wonderful pieces of writing across four days, all of which combined to make my job an easy one. Each one beautifully written, interesting, amusing, heartfelt and, at times poignant, with not even a hint of gobbledegook or gubbins in sight.
So… my turn. Time to redress the balance. I’m about to fill that void. Be gentle…
It’s hard to recall a spell in the club’s recent history when things – however temporary – have been going quite so swimmingly.
The football has been glorious.
We keep winning.
We’re keeping clean sheets.
Fans and players are united.
Even board and fans appear united.
There really isn’t much to find fault with – something that, as a City supporter, doesn’t sit comfortably – with the only source of angst right now being of the contractual variety (another column for another day).
So in order to bring some semblance of order to proceedings, I’ve scratched around and found something. Something that’s been grating for ages. Something that occurs every single time City play – without fail – even when they’re coasting to a 4-0. Something that irks almost as much as a Luke Chambers fist-pump. Something that grinds the gears like the face of a smirking Chris Wilder.
Bet you can’t guess…
Well, I’m loathe to even say it, but the root of it is On the Ball City.
‘But, it’s the oldest and greatest football song known to man’ I hear you say, and you’d be right, but in my – admittedly non-musical – eyes, it’s only the greatest when it’s being sung properly. And it’s not being sung properly – not even close to it.
And I’m not even talking about the whole song being sung at a slower tempo – something that the Along Come Norwich boys and I tried and failed to highlight a couple of seasons ago.
No, we’ve given up on that. Our Utopian view of On the Ball City being sung as it was so beautifully in Wembley during the 1975 League Cup Final (@ around 17:05) has long since floundered amid the cacophony of a thousand Y’Army voices belting the old girl out at thunderous, breakneck speed.
It was a nice idea, but never really had a chance of becoming embedded as the norm in the way us dreamers had dreamt.
But I still draw the line at that absolute $hitfest that is the final line of the song as it’s sung 21st century-style. You know, the one that’s followed by a punchy and raucous, “CITY… *clap, clap clap*… CITY… *clap, clap, clap*… CITY… *clap, clap, clap*…”
For those that don’t know (and I’m not sure there can be anyone), the lyrics are…
Kick it off, throw it in, have a little scrimmage,
Keep it low, a splendid rush, bravo, win or die;
On the ball, City, never mind the danger,
Steady on, now’s your chance,
Hurrah! We’ve scored a goal.
The purists will argue the opening line, if staying true to the original version, should read, “Kick off, throw in…” – as opposed to the accepted version, which has a couple *its*chucked in to smooth out the required number of syllables.
But that’s semantics… I can live with a couple of superfluous *its*, but what I can’t live with is a final line that bears not even the slightest resemblance to Hurrah! We’ve scored a goal.
Not even close. Nothing like it. May as well be in a different language.
Instead, we get… “Hurra… we-sca-da-g… and that’s on a good day. On a not-so-good-day it can be abbreviated to “Hur… w-sc-dg”.
I mean… for the love of god, is it really too much to ask for it to be slowed down from breakneck to just plain old rapid, in order to accommodate a couple of additional syllables? Syllables, I hasten to add, which have always been there, but over the years have been forgotten?
Or, has that final line become the football song equivalent of a LOL, LMAO or a TMI? If so, why not go the whole hogg and just go for HWSAG? – although that too would be a syllable overload.
I just think WTF.
How would you feel if you were a ‘we’ve’, a ‘scored’ or a ‘goal’, whose place in the greatest football song in history has been virtually erased?
I know we all love rounding the whole thing off with a rousing … CITY… *clap, clap, clap*… but would it hurt so much to wait an extra second before reaching said crescendo, allowing the actual words of the song to be sung in full?
Are we really in that much of a rush?
I realise, of course, I’m edging into territory beyond my remit – and I apologise in advance to the good folk of ACN and Barclay End Norwich, who have collectively done sterling work in stoking up the Carrow Road atmosphere this season – but minus anything else to whine about, this feels like the right time to get this niggle off my chest.
Oh, and while I’m at it, it’s not ‘spend it rush’, it’s ‘splendid rush’. Just saying.
But hey… I suspect that, not for the first time, I’m the one who’s out of step and no-one else is the slightest bit bothered.
I did promise you some gubbins though – and hopefully, I’ve delivered. 😊