Whilst the sport we all know and love has been sanitised beyond recognition over the last twenty/thirty years there is one element of the matchday experience that they will never be able to eradicate - the good old football chant. Sure the atmosphere may no longer be as verocious as it once was when the "Roker Roar" was in full voice but when the crowd are in good spirits the football chants will still ring out.
The chant itself can take on a number of different forms. They can either showcase the fan's love and support for their club or a particular player, or, as is more often the case, pick fault with the day's opposition, players or local rivals. The lyrics can be heartfelt, hurtful or simply ridiculous bellowed to the tune of a nursery rhyme, hymn or popular song from the charts.
Some of my favourite footballing memories seem to have a chant attached to them and I believe it is this passionate connection with the sport which makes our game so great.
So without further ado, my favourite, top ten SAFC chants.
10. Darren Bent Is Fast As Lightning...
Okay, okay. We all knew how it ended up but after Saturday I, personally at least, feel I can draw a line under the whole thing and move one. So, looking back, how good was it to have a player of Bent's calibre at the peak of his career banging goals in on such a consistent basis? I hadn't had such confidence in a player with the ball at his feet and bearing down on goal since Kevin Phillips. So when DB found the goal it was great to top the moment off with this superb little ditty:
"Darren Bent is fast as lightning,
Darren Bent is red and white,
when he gets the ball he scores a goal,
he's ******* dynamite"
9. Lee Howey, Lee Howey, Lee Howey...
The Howey's. Lee, the elder, played for SAFC, whilst his brother ended up with Newcastle. This situation helped some cheeky chappys in the Roker Park paddocks to come up with this gem!
"Lee Howey, Lee Howey, Lee Howey,
your brother is a ****"
This chant is a favourite of mine because a number of my Sunderland supporting friends all share a similar story which shaped their childhood: "Dad, what's a ****?"
8. For Brazil He Should Play Danny Collins...
I always liked this chant mainly because it showed that Sunderland fans have a great sense of humour. The sarcastic claim that Danny Collins was so good he should, somehow, play for Brazil! I mean come on! Hang on. What do you mean some were being serious?
"For Brazil he should play Danny Collins,
for Brazil he should play upfront,
for Brazil he should play Danny Collins,
Danny Collins is a skillful ****"
7. Sunderland Till I Die...
There's almost a feeling of defiance about this chant, a mutual consent among the fans that your side chooses you, you don't choose your side. Through the good times and the, more often that not, bad times, we'll be here. I mean what sane person would choose to willingly ride the SAFC roller coaster given the opportunity?
"I'm Sunderland till I die,
I'm Sunderland till I die,
I know I am, I'm sure I am,
I'm Sunderland till I die"
6. Djibril Cisse, Sunderland's Number Nine...
Sure it was borrowed from Liverpool fans and their appreciation for the Spanish foward Fernando Torres, but this chant reminds me of that exciting time with Keane at the helm that was full of promise and anything seemed possible. When the Stadium of Light got this one going it was a joy to behold.
5. Cheer Up Peter Reid...
Ah, the old classic! I'm sure every Sunderland fan will look back with fond memories of this one. Inspired by Reidy's seemingly dour demeanor despite his side's success a terrace favourite was born. Put together by a group of SAFC fans in 1996 who went by the name of "Simply Red and White" the "band" managed to make the top fifty of the charts with their reworking of The Monkey's "Day Dream Believer". The full track they released went something like this:
"Oh I could fly without wings,
on the back of Reidy's kings,
at three o'clock I'm as happy as can be.
'Cos the good times they are here
and the Premiership is near,
so watch out World as all of Roker sings
Cheer up Peter Reid,
oh what can it mean,
to a Sunderland supporter,
to be top of the league
We once thought of you,
as a Scouser dressed in blue,
now you're red and white through and through.
We've all dreamt of the day,
when a saviour would come our way
and now we know our dreams are coming true"
4. We're By Far The Greatest Team...
Another chant I love for its sentiment. The big middle finger it represents. Are we better than the Manchester United's and Barcelona's of this World, of course not but when this chant gets going with all the fans in unison, for a split second you feel the side are invincible.
At the recent 2-0 away win against Bolton for example, when the final whistle went and this chant went up, you could see the Bolton fans looking on in disbelief. Superb.
"and it's Sun-der-land,
we're by far the greatest team,
the World has ever seen"
3. Niall Quinn's Disco Pants...
Whilst Manchester City fans may have started this chant following the beanpole striker's antics on a 1992 pre-season tour of Italy, it was following his move to Sunderland that the chant really took off. The words may have changed recently as a show of gratitude to the big man after the then chairman paid for taxi's for stranded fans following an away game in Cardiff but it is the original that will be forever remembered and given the odd airing at the SOL.
2. When I Was Young...
Just like how day will inevitably turn to night a list of Sunderland chants would not be complete without at least another jibe at our neighbours. I was torn between this and the "Shearer is a ******" chant but in the end went with "When I was young..." I don't necessarily understand why I would have bought a flute when I was younger and if 50p is a good deal or not for said instrument. I've also lost count as to how many NUFC managers have been named in the chant over the years but what I do know is that their is something about this catchy little number that I can't ignore.
"When I was young I had no sense,
I bought a flute for fifty pence,
the only tune that I could play,
and the Toon army,
la la la la..."
1. Wise Men Say...
I love this chant. Simple as that. It's our "You'll never walk alone". For me it embodies all that being a Sunderland fan is about. Despite all the trials and tribulations that we have gone through over the years, the embarrassing relegations, the unkept promises we still keep coming back for more. Its kind of like domestic violence when you break it down but we wouldn't have it any other way.
So, have I missed your favourite? We've had our fair share of great chants over the years so be sure to leave your suggestions in the comments below! Toodles.