Thanks to the special relationship between the US and Britain, many elements of American culture have made their way across the pond. Some of them have been great (pizza, Breaking Bad, Soundgarden), some not (pointless wars, wearing hats sideways, Beyonce) but when they start creeping into our football, it’s time to draw a line in the sand (well, paint one on the turf). The half-time pie is being gradually replaced by a hotdog, fans spend their Saturday afternoons watching a TV programme that has the word ‘soccer’ in it’s title and, perhaps worst of all, we seem to have adopted the spleen-meltingly galling habit of playing music when somebody scores.
There has always been music at football. Stadium tannoys have long belted out ‘Now, That’s What I Call Toilet 29’ before the game. More recently, wrestling style entrance music has been added to the tinny pre-match stream of Spandau Ballet B-sides in an attempt to create a sense of occasion, to give the Bovril-slurping punters the impression that Southend vs. Hartlepool is an unmissable clash of titanic forces that will decide the future of humanity rather than the lifeless 0-0 insomnia cure it will almost certainly turn out to be.
Surely, though, if there is one moment when fans don’t need an official soundtrack to whip them into a simulated frenzy it’s the one when the home team actually scores a goal. This is, after all, what people came to see. It’s the point in the game when even Arsenal fans risk life and vocal cord to break their traditional vow of silence, so surely there’s no need for a musical accompaniment. Especially one so prodigiously crap you’d expect it to be managed by Dave Basset.
Wolves, for example, have taken to marking the increasingly rare occasions on which they actually do score goals with the seemingly ubiquitous Tom Hark. It’s a perfectly good way to point out ‘We All Hate Leeds Scum’ but it’s not in much danger of turning up on Desert Island Discs – and this is a club who has Robert Plant as their Vice President. Robert Plant! From Led Zeppelin!!! If the ‘traveller of both time and space’ can’t abate these waves of tacky inanity, what possible hope is there for anyone else?
If you ask someone from the club PR office (or whatever other denizen of sterility is charged with coming up with these ‘initiatives’), they’ll undoubtedly tell you that goal music enhances the atmosphere inside the ground. This is, quite frankly, a steaming pile of horse leavings! Fans up-and-down the country have been creating an atmosphere for decades by inserting player names and swear words into catchy, well-known melodies. Now, however, they just ‘duh duh duh’ along with whatever mindless, droning techno-drivel gets pumped out over the PA-system like lobotomised lemmings in the last scene of Close Encounters.