11
Jan 13

MANCHESTER UNITED FOOTBALL SQUAD – “Come On You Reds”

Popular77 comments • 3,908 views

#708, 21st May 1994

As a football-shunning nipper in the 80s it seemed to me that an FA Cup Final song barged its way into the charts every year, swayed through the top ten full of song like a beery fan on a train carriage, and was gone. And looking at this Wikipedia page – a memento to the rise and fall of the genre – I was basically right.

By the time I got to University, my terribly narrow social circles were broadening a little, and football was gentrifying a lot, so I had friends who bought FA cup records. The songs themselves were no better than they had ever been, often – to the extent that they sounded ‘up to date’ – quite a bit worse. But why should they improve? Who would it benefit? To criticise a club song for its music would be like criticising a souvenir scarf for its insulating properties. Cup Final songs were souvenirs, and maybe something to fuel your sense of belonging and anticipation in the lead-up – “belonging” being the emotion these bluff, comradely, incompetent things managed best and most often.

The year before, one Arsenal fan had come back from town with a cassingle of the stupefying “Shouting For The Gunners” – an honest title, at least. He put it on repeatedly while we played point-and-click games on his PC, making us hunt through its bellowing wreckage for a forgotten fragment of tune. Next to that, “Come On You Reds” was Bacharach and David – and certainly it’s crafted enough to have all the elements you’d want in a Cup Final song. The dab-your-eyes reminder of past triumphs or tragedies. The noble attempt to make the current team roster scan. Yeomen of light entertainment doing their duty for the lads – a manful job by The Quo here. Only a decision to marinade the song in trebly, plastic keyboards spoils the mood.

It’s still terrible, but it’s the right kind of terrible, just about. Which doesn’t explain why it got to number one when the likes of “Ossie’s Dream” and “Anfield Rap” had fallen short. Its platonic incarnation of Cup Final hit-ness can’t explain that on its own. But consider that the friend who bought it had also bought an “Eric The King” duvet cover, and that he’d shown no interest in football at all the year before, and things become clearer. Man U and the Premiership were rising together, the club winning on the pitch and exploiting the new football audience and its hunger for stars. I’d also guess – though I still wouldn’t have cared enough to know – that England’s failure to qualify for USA 94 was good business for Man U, as a huge potential audience turned more of its eye on the domestic game. They weren’t yet the most popular club in the country, but they were hungry, many were young, and some walked like rock stars already. Pop rewards such things. Even I knew who Eric Cantona was.

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Comments

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  1. 51
    Jimmy the Swede on 12 Jan 2013 #

    Erithian is right, of course. NOTHING justifies Munich songs but Mike does make a good point about the Duncan Edwards/Bobby Moore thing. Not only has this been a constant mantra of the ever-emotional Bobby Charlton (one must on the other hand always remember that Charlton himself was a Munich survivor) but is held to be a neccessary truth by a broad swathe of United followers and handed down through the ages. It’s ultimately a pointless claim and does indeed belittle Bobby Moore, a dear much-missed true English hero.

    Apropos the 1994 Cup Final, the Swede (lifelong Blue) alas was present at this. As thefatgit recalls, it bucketed down all day and the game was effectively ruined by a quite absurd refereeing decision by Harrow schoolmaster David Elleray. Having quite rightly awarded United a first penalty, which was converted, he then ran half the pitch to award them another which was not a foul and not even in the penalty area. This too was put away and it was game over.

    Some years later, I wrote to Mr Elleray, having read his autobiography, in which he admitted that he knew he had made a mistake the second he awarded the second penalty but felt unable to correct it under the protests of Chelsea players, particularly Dennis Wise. At the precise moment he gave it, though, he insisted he gave the decision honestly. In my letter, I commended him on his candour and compared it (perhaps rather strangely) with Harry Gibbs’ decision to award Joe Bugner a points win over Henry Cooper in 1971, an astonishing calculation in most observers’ eyes. Similarly, I mused, Gibbs had got it badly wrong but his decision was entirely honest. I also included in my letter a substantiated story that a gang of Chelsea fans had piled into a van, intending to pay Elleray a visit at his place of work soon after the Final. Alas, these lads were not the most enlightened creatures and instead of arriving at Harrow, they instead spent a couple of hours wandering around Harlow in Essex in search of “that Geography geezer”. I have to say, that in his very nice reply to me, Elleray mentioned how funny he thought this was. Me too, I have to say.

    My only pleasant memory of that horrible day was as we, the vanquished blue army, headed back up Empire Way to the station. It was absolutely pelting down now and this matched our mood. As my sorry little party of six approached one of the toilets by the side, I spotted a young girl of about 19/20 decked out in blue standing to one side, waiting, one assumed, for her boyfriend to emerge from the lavvy. She was absolutely lovely. As I came up level with her, she suddenly burst into tears and Gentleman Jimmy immediately scuttled over to “comfort” her with a tight hug. “It’s alright, love!” I assured her, as I buried my head in her hair, “we’ll win it next year!” (we didn’t). After taking in a very pleasant faceful, I backed away only to see that a queue had formed behind me of other willing offerers of support, all blokes surprisingly. It was like that scene from Airplane with the hysterical hostess. Fabulous. It was a lovely end to a very unlovely day!

  2. 52
    MikeMCSG on 12 Jan 2013 #

    #50 There’s an important difference from Hillsborough in that it’s a raw wound for many living people whereas those upset about Munich songs seem to be getting vicariously indignant on behalf of United fans of two generations ago . It all seems a bit Princess Di to an outsider ( and I’ll prepare to be unpopular again when we get to 97). But yes it is their business and probably incomprehensible to fans of clubs with nothing remotely worth commemorating in their history.

  3. 53
    Erithian on 12 Jan 2013 #

    You may be right that it’s not as raw for the fans concerned (although there are bereaved families still around), but the point is that it’s still tasteless and deliberately offensive, and marks those taking part as arseholes (see also: songs commemorating battles of 1690 etc). And hey, it’s not a competition.

  4. 54
    MikeMCSG on 12 Jan 2013 #

    # 53 No it’s not. Let’s move on.

  5. 55
    wichita lineman on 12 Jan 2013 #

    Re 51: “Why does it take the tears of a woman to see how men are?”

  6. 56
    swanstep on 13 Jan 2013 #

    I’m very much enjoying having a couple of Popular entries (and associated sets of comments) to think over in quick succession, but sadly I’ve nothing to contribute on this one. I’ve always been mystified by the Quo’s appeal, and I’m not in touch with the Premier League stuff (let alone Man U history: I thought they were singing ‘Busty Babes’ at the beginning!).

    One unrelated matter, could anyone identify this (sort of) minimalist techno track for me? I believe I had it originally on an Astralwerks promo/sampler compilation from around 1997-1998, and its key vocal line is ‘Year 2000…., Year 2000…., Year 2000 is right around the corner.’ I have the track marked up in my iTunes mp3 collection just as ‘Track 08′ and as by Gearwhore, but I can’t find anything (e.g., at discogs) by Gearwhore that it could be, nor can I find any track 8s on any listed Astralwerks comps that it could be. It therefore seems likely that my labeling and possibly my memory is spurious (so I recommend just listening from scratch).

    Anyhow, it’s a nifty track (at the time I thought it was easily the best thing on an otherwise indifferent cd), and I’m reasonably confident that it’s not *that* obscure and that someone here will recognize it. (Note that automated tune ID services such as Tunatic, Midomi,…have been no help. Has anyone *ever* found such services able to resolve any genuine mysteries as opposed to confirm the completely obvious?)

    More generally, I have a bunch of under-identified tracks a lot like this one – sole tracks kept from now-only vaguely-remembered techno/dance compilations. If others have similarly infuriating gaps in their iTunes libraries then perhaps communal ID-ing of mystery tracks could be a quasi-regular topic on FT (with some loose convention that no one person should flood the topic), say especially in otherwise fallow periods? I know I’d be happy to listen to other people’s interesting mysteries!

  7. 57
    Jimmy the Swede on 13 Jan 2013 #

    Re 55: “I dreamt that I was Humbert and she was Lolita!”

  8. 58
    wichita lineman on 13 Jan 2013 #

    Re 56: “Busty babes”. Priceless. Well Swan, you had more to say about Man Utd than you thought! That’s on a par with “what’s wrong with being sexy?”

  9. 59
    wichita lineman on 13 Jan 2013 #

    16-8-2-1-2-3-10-11-20. Almost text book chart rise and fall. Can’t say that about the next entry (cough). Or many others to come.

    The reason I looked it up was because I never heard this at the time. Admittedly I was trundling around Europe with a bunch of Chelsea fans for a month, listening (mostly) to the Barry Gibb/Barbra Streisand Guilty album, but I’d assumed it was a hit-and-run #1 over the Cup Final weekend.

    The title, as Erithian and Jimmy know, was stolen from Come On You Leafe.

  10. 60
    Jimmy the Swede on 13 Jan 2013 #

    Leafe it out, Lino!

  11. 61
    rabbitfun on 13 Jan 2013 #

    Re 56: Swanstep, apparently the track is called Year 2000 (!) and it’s by Freaky Chakra. Not that I would know, but the Shazam app helped me out here.

  12. 62
    swanstep on 13 Jan 2013 #

    @61, rabbitfun. Bingo! Thanks so much. And big props to Shazam over competing services such as Tunatic and Midomi for getting this.

  13. 63
    ciaran on 13 Jan 2013 #

    #29 – Just to speak a bit about this point “the Irish jig element no doubt appealing to our nearest overseas fanbase”.

    I would still say Liverpool are marginally the most popular premiership side in Ireland.lot of connections with our history of emigrants going to the area although I knew one or two that went to manchester aswell.

    Liverpool supporters are largely those over 30 years old.

    I was born in Limerick but even then it was nearly all Liverpool amongst our primary school.I can recall the same day of a neighbours 8th birthday party that coincided with liverpool winning the league beating QPR.I would say the support of the birthday crew was very much liverpool in the majority and would imagine any other party the same day were celebrating liverpools win as much as the kop.the support is still high in the area even though there was a couple of united die hards back then.

    now living in cork city (home of one roy keane) im still amazed at the devotion to anfield by some when utd would be the obvious team to follow given keanes assocation with the club and to a lesser extent the 20 year domination.

    that said the last time liverpool won the league in 1990 which of course helped the fanbase grow but 2 other significant events happened the same year. ireland made the world cup quarter finals with staunton,whelan and houghton plying their trade with the pool (as was aldridge the season before) and cork won the double in the national sports hurling and gaelic football wearing red and white shirts a la the pool – only the second time it ever happened in 100 years.for any young fans around this area it may have been a factor so in essence the reason for the devotion to the pool in the 30+ crowd.its been downhil ever since (bar 2005) but they still are passionate about the club which is admirable.

    united support has become bigger you wont be surprised to hear but having watched liverpools champions league win in the pub back in 2005 and uniteds win in 2008 the liverpool one was the busier and most emotional by a country mile.and i dont support either.

    I dont know if you ever heard this but there was a song made in Ireland back in 1996 that was number 1 in the Irish charts the same year.roughly around the same time as euro 96 so Ireland missing out on the tournament in a way could have led to this.terrible but similar to the record being debated.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P71ic8Py_bM

    Good result today.enjoy

  14. 64
    D.C. Harrison on 14 Jan 2013 #

    Re – 39 “Q: Which act had a top 10 in 1985, changed the WHOLE LINE UP, and had a No1 in 1994?
    A: Manchester Utd.

    Pretty rare feat I thought but Punctum at 2 mentions Bryan Robson’s inclusion, -I thought he’d left by then- and after the chore of watching the video he is there, so that ruins that one.”

    If I was ever going to make a first post on here, it was bound to be a football pedant one. As well as Robbo (who was left off the bench in what could have been a final bow-out before he left to manage Boro), Mark Hughes played in both the 1985 and 1994 cup finals, so was presumably on the records.

    Clayton Blackmore was also on the books until 1994, so may well have added his own Welsh tones to the choir despite being well down the pecking order at those points in his career.

    Anyways – despite my United obssession being at an absolute apex in 1994 (Cantona was God to this very unhappy 13-year-old), I didn’t consider spending what little cash I had on it. However, compared to the absolute tosh we came out with in 1996, it sounds worthy of Holland-Dozier-Holland.

  15. 65
    speedwell54 on 14 Jan 2013 #

    Re 64.

    Thanks for the further info. I stopped looking after Robson to be honest. I know Mark Hughes is on the cover of this one and I’ll take your word about 1985. Interestingly there is no performance credit on the sleeve for COYR about any individual, apart from Jonathan Pearce the commentator. I don’t know what Mr Blackmore looks like so I can’t confirm or deny that one.

    And welcome.

  16. 66
    James BC on 16 Jan 2013 #

    Another rather forgettable entry. There must be something significant along soon – I can feel it in my

  17. 67
    swanstep on 18 Jan 2013 #

    While we await the second coming of Reg Presley to Popular, I have another track identification challenge/appeal for help:
    “Screaming and shouting, no one is watching”
    Can anyone identify this vaguely goth-y, vaguely synthpop-y, vaguely darkwave-y piece? Tunatic, Midomi, Shazam, Soundhound, youtube’s copyright layer, and general lyrics-googling have all drawn blanks. And it’s driving me quite batty that I can’t place the all-too-familiar voice!

  18. 68
    Tom on 18 Jan 2013 #

    Reg Presley update: I’m still ill with a stomach bug so everything has slowed, I’m having to put most of my limited energy into Actual Work. It’ll come though!

  19. 69
    enitharmon on 11 Feb 2013 #

    And meanwhile, as we mourn Reg Presley’s unscheduled and terminal inability to read his own eulogy, another link in the Populista chain was closed at the King’s Head in Moscow Road, Bayswater on Friday night when erithian and my good self enjoyed a couple of beers, a shared plate of fish and chips, and various items of verbal mutiny and sedition.

    Your northern correspondent’s eyes are still smarting at the price of beer in London. Though not, oddly enough, the price of dodgy kebabs which cost much the same as they do up here.

  20. 70
    Auntie Beryl on 12 Feb 2013 #

    You have to assume that the supply of dodgy meat is fairly uniform across Europe. Might see prices rising over the next few months though.

  21. 71
    MikeMCSG on 18 Feb 2013 #

    #67
    I think I’ve got it ! I think it’s Our Daughter’s Wedding – there’s a track called “No One’s Watching” at the end of their mini-LP “Digital Cowboy” from whence came bonkers near-hit “Lawnchairs” in 1981 which your track resembles.

  22. 72
    thefatgit on 11 Mar 2013 #

    MoTD and Dancing On Ice stalwart, Tony Gubba has gone for an early bath at 69.

  23. 73
    Jimmy the Swede on 12 Mar 2013 #

    Twas Gubba who was sat behind the goal during the 1985 Cup Final. When Norman Whiteside clipped in the winner, Tony rolled onto his back in celebration. I always felt that Gubba suffered from having been chosen to take over the Sportsnight mantle from David Coleman. An impossible act to follow and I’m afraid that “Sportsnight with Gubba” just didn’t take.

  24. 74
    stebags on 8 Apr 2013 #

    Rancid but marginally better than the Pointer Sisters cover

    “I’m so excited, cos it’s man united, they’re about to score a goal & I think I like it”

    *shudders*

  25. 75
    Patrick Mexico on 9 Apr 2013 #

    The worst thing about this is, if you listen to the Top 40 of which COYR made its debut in traditional order (April 30), the next track up is Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under the Bridge. I’m sure many would agree, however much the Chilis have offended British cultural sensibilities over the years, it’s a leap from the ridiculous to the sublime.

  26. 76
    flahr on 9 Apr 2013 #

    Fear not, Patrick, “Under the Bridge”‘s time will come.

  27. 77
    Patrick Mexico on 10 Apr 2013 #

    #76 Haha, indeed! Though when we do get round to that, it will be like tasting pralines and cream Haagen-Dazs turned to gone-off Mr Whippy.

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