Arsenal Book Review: ‘We’ve Only Got One Song’

‘We’ve Only Got One Song’ by Mark Andrews and Matthew Bazell (A book review from John Williamson)

Singing songs and chanting on the terraces of any given football ground is as old as the game itself; it’s surprising that, as far as I’m aware, no book has been written previously on this subject. In this day and age, there is a lot of speculation and controversy as to why atmospheres at most football grounds has been diluted which includes all seater stadiums, political correctness and in my opinion, the lack of the imagination of the chants themselves.

Arsenal fans, Mark Andrews and Matthew Bazell, along with the help of some of their Gooners friends have written a book dedicated to the terrace songs and chants of Arsenal Football Club that have been sung at home and away stadiums including ditties from the early days of the Clubs formation to the present, meaning that even though many of those covered are no longer heard, over 425 songs will remain with us forever.

The book contains not only the words to the songs themselves, but also the tune as well as the story behind each song where possible, which results in a well written and researched book that contains not only the popular songs but also those that in this day and age are deemed as controversial.

When I started going to football in the late 1960s, nearly every player had their own song, even those who were less popular, each one was sung during the warm up, with the players acknowledging the Arsenal faithful. Today, this rarely happens, fans have some for their favourite players but most are generic songs where the tunes are taken from other clubs chants.

As well as covering these songs, the book looks at chants mocking other teams and portraying football violence which was rife during the 1970s and 80s. In modern day football, a lot more chants are becoming anti Arsenal, as any fan knows, there have been chants against managers which have caused fractions amongst fans and of course those against the owner of the Club.

There is also a chapter dedicated to our ‘friends’ from N17, Middlesex which are in the main, related to their lack of trophies. Whilst there are no anti-Semitic chants in the book, it does cover this subject on as to why certain words or phases were used in the past and are no longer.

While most of these songs will never hear ‘the light of day’ again, its has to be noted that big cup ties and European matches away from home where the Arsenal following appears to be older, a few of the past songs can still be heard including two of my favourites; ‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’ and B’Jesus said Paddy’

My hope for this book is that well as us older fans reminiscing the past, it will provide inspiration for those younger fans who are making their mark on the Club, hopefully a few old songs will be heard once again on the ‘terraces’………

‘We’ve Only Got One Song’ by Mark Andrews and Matthew Bazell can be bought here.

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