Tens of thousands of football fans will fill Wembley stadium on tonight, not to watch football, but to record chants to be played at high volume over PA systems in ‘behind closed doors’ matches on Saturday. Crowds, standing cheek by jowl will read the chants from big screens, prompting criticism from Milwall fans and staff, whose literacy levels are open to question. Lions followers, experimenting in their own stadium with a subtitled screen, ended up chanting ‘no-one bikes us we don’t cane’.
The chants will be multipurpose, so fans will record chants like ‘I’m (insert relevant team) till I die’ and ‘The (insert relevant game official)’s a wanker and ‘(insert colour of team strip) army! Other chants include: ‘Insert Manager’s name, insert manager’s name, give us a wave’ and the famous ‘clap, clap, clap-clap-clap, clap-clap-clap-clap (Insert team name). The crowds will then chant a list of clubs/curses/satirical comments to be edited in later.
The man behind the idea is David Smithers, whose company is called Chants Would Be a Fine Thing. He explained: ‘It’s a bit like those voice mails where your name is clumsily inserted into the default message. It might sound a bit bumpy, but it’s better than no chants. We want as many non-spectators to come as possible, so we can record a full-throated atmosphere, with an imaginary game not happening before their very eyes.’
The Wembley recordings will be used to heighten the atmosphere of the games, including the ‘Oooh’ of a near miss, the ‘You’re shit aaah’ of a goal kick, the noise of terrace fighting and an annoying bloke with a trumpet. Mike Smythe is one of the sixty thousand volunteers who will pack the Wembley arena to chant at a football match that isn’t happening. He explained: ‘It’s all about atmosphere, and let’s face it, a lot of fans are there for the quality of the chants, rather than the game itself, especially in the lower leagues.’