It is the dying seconds of an important game against your most hated rivals - a locally-born lad has come on for the last few minutes of the game and manages to jump higher than all around to meet a searching cross, closes his eyes and hopes as he makes contact, he has done enough to steer the ball towards the net.
The crowd rises expectantly, collectively drawing in their breath as the goalkeeper flails his arms to reach the ball, but to no avail - it evades him and arrows towards its destination untroubled. An almighty roar goes up from three sides of the ground and one of the greatest sights in football begins - the pure, unadulterated GOON - every fan is in a momentary state of ecstasy: jumping, bouncing, dancing, cheering, hugging, back-slapping, arm-waving - all in a glorious, chaotic, un-choreographed sea of colour...
(photo from http://visitriodejaneirobrasil.com , thanks)
....until they are suddenly snapped out of this delirium by the the blaring sound of Song 2 by Blur rattling its way through the stadium's antiquated pa system. or Chelsea Dagger, or that one by those two swiss blokes I can't be bothered googling....
CHA-CHA SLIDE.....move to left...one hop this time....
the delirium then becomes a mass sing along of the dumbest denominator. duh der der der derrrrrr der.........woooohh hoooooohhhh...............der dada der dada der dada der-di-dah...........etc etc - the pa guy had been sat there, waiting for that moment, finger poised over the red button - bang! - apocalypse now - thousands swaying to the music, pumping their arms along to the beat with ridiculous grins on their faces.....STOP IT NOW!! The enjoyment and exuberance of that single, precious moment that is a goal - the holy grail and raison d'etre of football - has been hijacked and homogenised into a sterile product.
Why? The practice is less proliferate in the Premier League and more noticeable lower down the scale - is it a ploy to pad out the lack of crowd? Do those fans really want it? What has helped the club make the decision to do this?
Board meeting: "you know what would really get the crowd going? After we score, we could play that annoying song by the fratellis, make the whole stadium dance along - that would really raise the atmosphere" - er, no. Scoring the goal has just done that.
Seriously, what could make the feeling you get as the ball hits the back of the net more euphoric? Certainly not a mass sing and dance-athon to pre-recorded music - let the fans celebrate on their own. Let them goon about and go crazy. Let them make such a racket in their area of the ground that it swallows up the silence that seeps out from the opposing fans - NOTHING can improve that - not even Song 2.
|when the music's over, turn out the lights...|
(c/o Portadown Football Club Website, thanks)
I once attended a basketball game, years ago, at the then "Nynex" Arena in Manchester. Knowing me, it was probably a freebie. There I was, attending with the hope of working out whether I could find any enjoyment at all in a sport where both teams score points with virtually every attack, when the music hit me and made me jump. This was not just music for every basket scored (by the home team only, of course), nope - it was music to accompany an attacking play, or music to rally the crowd and the team when they were under the cosh. This was live sport, being played out as if it was on my xbox. to a crappy soundtrack. I hated it, obviously.
(That reminds me of the story I once heard that at Watford, if there was a particularly low attendance, there used to be a crowd chant played over the crackly pa "....cczczczczzc...COME ON YOU HORNETS...czcczccrackle fizzz...." as the team attacked - someone please let me know if that was true)
YOU'VE GOT TO TAKE THE POWER BACK...
It is a worrying trend that has somehow lasted. It's time to take the power back and say no. No, I am not going to celebrate on demand. I recently saw a tweet from Grimsby Town fans that were bemoaning this very aspect of the game and saw that they are trying to get a campaign going in the hope that the club will listen. Now - let it be known that Grimsby Town have scored more goals at home than almost every other team in Europe this season -therefore, they have had more enough of a taste of this tacky phenomenon to make a judgement - you never know, the club may just listen to their thoughts - try and help them along - have a look at the campaign here: Ban the Music