Football Chants: Familar Refrains Territorialising Terraces

Football chants — whether they be melodies borrowed from popular music, historic tunes or spontaneous improvisations — chants have long been sung in the UK terraces since the beginnings of the beautiful game.

As collaborative expressions of social and cultural identity, whilst applauded as the legendary ‘twelfth man’, football chants have traditionally been wielded as double edged sonorous swords. Whether sung to encourage and spur on the home team or at other times bellowed to intimidate and undermine the opposition, they are key football fixtures inseparable from the game. Arguably a way for fans to carve out sonorous spatial dominance and battle it out for territorialisation of the terraces. In this next DOCCO ‘The Refrain', we’ll be exploring this world across different episodes, entering into the fray and uncovering why football culture and chanting is life-affirming for loyal devotees.

Join us as we embark on this next leg, and tune your ears into a cacophony of sound. From West Ham's melancholic anthem with ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’ to Portsmouth’s purest minimalism in ‘Play Up Pompey’ listen in to a variety of songs, opinions and musings from a diverse range of characters. We’ll meet some of the faces giving voice to these melodies, super fans, chant master composers and the like, posing the question — Why are football chants so important to the sport?

Below is a overview of upcoming episodes, to look forward to:

EP1: Football Fans

Every club in the world, big or small needs their supporters to survive. Meet these faithful fans as they unpack the role of chants within football culture.

EP2: The Goalkeeper

Once holding the world record for the most expensive goalkeeper, Phil Parkes - former West Ham and England footballer reveals a players perspective on chants.

EP3: I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles

A musical ode to West Ham’s seminal anthem, a chant typifying the elusive dream of sporting glory.

EP4: Mr Pompey FC

Meet John Portsmouth Football Club Westwood, one of the UK’s most recognisable football supporters. When not working as a bookseller John can be heard rallying fans and ringing his bell across the terraces.

So lend us your ears and eyes, soak up the atmosphere as we finally kick off this new DOCCO!

Be sure to check out our first episode here:

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