- England fans in Ukraine will send blogs and images to ITV News throughout the team's participation in the Euro 2012 Championships. Here, Mark Perryman, a member of the LondonEnglandFans supporters' group, talks us through his top five England chants.
Those of us out here in Ukraine are not only having a great time, we’re the team’s support in the stands trying to create the atmosphere to lift the team as we stand on the verge of making history. So what’s the soundtrack we provide?
I've chosen not only the ones sung loudest, but also those most specific to Euro 2012. So there's no place for usual favourites (think The Great Escape, Self-Preservation Society, England til I Die, Rule Britannia, St George in My Heart, and God Save The Queen) here.
Here’s my personal choice of the top five chants:
- 5. ... But Your Birds Are Fit
My editor tells me I can’t include the first line - but as a clue, it's a suggestion about the opposing team’s quality and rhymes with ‘fit’. Sung at most east European away games provided firstly we are winning and secondly a decent proportion of the local female population boast blonde hair, a sweet smile and legs up to their armpits.
Not the most outrageously sexist chant in the world, more generously it's one for the mainly male England support base at a tournament to express their appreciation of the locals. That said, few have been offered Ukrainian brides yet, or as far as I’m aware.
Don’t forget there are a fair number of women out here supporting England, but not enough to add a chant of ‘But your blokes are fit’ yet.
- 4. Let's All Do The Welbeck
This was heard - and seen - for the first time in Donetsk against Ukraine: an entire stand mimicking Danny’s goal celebration after scoring against Sweden.
On our coach en route to Kharkiv I consulted a panel of experts made up of back seat occupants Kenny and Sally, Steve, Jamie and Dave. They tell me the dance dates back to his celebrations scoring for United and we agree it resembles something eighties Ska band Madness might do with a dash of his African heritage perhaps thrown in - a good dance wherever it comes from.
The entire England section singing and dancing ‘ Lets All Do the Welbeck, is something to see, and be part of, up there as one of the Ukraine adventure unforgettables. If he scores against Italy expect this to erupt.
- 3. Roy Hodgson’s Barmy Army
This one began in earnest in Donetsk against the French and has grown in volume as the results have gone our way ever since.
Against Italy, Roy threatens to acquire England legend status after just four competitive games in charge.
It's difficult to remember any England manager enjoying such popularity in recent years - maybe Sven after the 5-1 drubbing of Germany in 2001 and the two quarters in '04 and '06. And perhaps Fabio's overturning of Croatia, home and away, made him pretty popular too.
But the affection for Roy is of a different measure. For some that's down to him being English, and so far successful. But in my view its also because he was the underdog, not the media favourite ‘Arry was, and a reaction against the crude lampooning of him by The Sun too.
He’s quietly spoken, not flash at all, just gets on with the job. And we love him, loudly, to bits.
- 2. We Do What We Want
My editor tells me I can’t tell you the first line of this one either. Lets just say it involves Sol Campbell and impolitely suggests we don’t approve of him telling us not to come here and suggesting if we did we risked coming home in coffins.
There's nothing racist about this, more the anger at being told what to do and at the shared experience of being misrepresented. For decades England fans had to endure a negative reputation because of the hooliganism and racism of a small but significant minority. Now our reputation is overwhelmingly positive and inclusive. So instead of misrepresenting us our media too easily misrepresents others, the host nations instead.
And among the victims of this episode are Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s family who failed to be here to see Alex make his debut in an international tournament, and Theo Walcott’s family who missed him scoring his first tournament goal. Both families chose not to travel because of these ill-informed warnings not to come here.
- 1. Seven Nation Army
Not sure how this one reached the terraces, but the hypnotic drum beat once provided by Meg White of the White Stripes for their track ‘Seven Nation Army‘ is brilliantly reproduced by the drum and brass of the England Supporters' Band.
With the fans joining in at maximum volume and deliriously shaking every part of their bodies (minus those still smarting from Ukrainian sunburn), the tune has become England’s own at this tournament. If the White Stripes re-release it, I reckon its a shoo-in to top the charts.
So, for viewers back home unable to make out exactly what we’re singing out loud or vigorously dancing to, I hope this handy guide is enough for you to join in - either from the sofa or down the pub.
But as soon as the ball hits the back of the Italians' net, no TV producer will be able to screen out our vocal celebrations. So have the volume control button on your remote handy.
- Mark Perryman is a member of the LondonEnglandFans supporters' group and the author of Ingerland: Travels with a Football Nation. His views do not necessarily reflect those of ITV News.