surinenglish

Songs sung true

It won't have escaped many people's notice that Liverpool made a remarkable comeback against an over confident Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final this week. It's universally agreed that it was a stunning performance and wholly-deserved victory. The fans played their part magnificently, willing the ball into the opposition net by kinetic energy or something. So far, so brilliant.

As you might expect, we were all watching the match down at The Shakespeare and were carried along on a wave of euphoria as were millions around the world. Still, something kept nagging at me in spite of everything and the more I tried to ignore it, the more it just wouldn't let me be.

In the end, I had to admit the horrible truth to myself - the singing of You'll Never Walk Alone before the match wasn't very good at all. Oh, it was loud, of course - very loud in fact - but that was precisely part of the problem.

Amid the desperation to impress the world, it ended up being sung far too fast and too highly pitched and consequently considerably out of tune. Plus, there were two competing renditions that had been initiated a few seconds apart which didn't help matters much.

The Spanish football channel cut to some adverts, which may or may not have been coincidental.

It might sound a bit churlish in the circumstance but these details are important - you only have to look up some old Kop videos on YouTube to see that the singing in the sixties and seventies was far, far better than it is now. Beautifully paced and pitched, self-confident but without any hint of hubris.

In the fifteen years I spent standing on the Kop come rain or shine (nine as a season ticket holder) I was lucky enough to witness some magical evenings but also hardy enough to freeze half to death clutching a cup of Bovril watching dour midweek nil-nil draws with Middlesbrough and the like.

At that type of match, there were often fewer than twenty thousand of us in attendance but there were some pretty good singers on the terraces and they provided a tuneful and witty soundtrack for the matches which, to tell the truth, was half the fun. Happy days.

Anyway, back to Liverpool's excellent run and onto this year's final in Madrid.

We'll all be watching down at the pub and I'll be quietly biting my nails - largely in the hope that at least we get the singing right.