This was something supplied to me a long time ago now by @Fredorrarci, he of the cult blog Sport Is A TV Show. And in truth this should be there and not here. But it isn’t. So, let’s get on with it.

I’ve never really found the best approach for posting this. I had an idea of selecting a track or tracks and use it/them to be the subject of a post or tweet, but this never took off.

Sorry. I should tell you what I’m talking about:

Chumbawamba: Sportchestra! – 101 Songs About Sports

Chumbawamba - Sportchestra 280

This is a curious double album. It’s credited to Chumbawamba but is also features a number of guest musicians.

he band, known for “agit pop” with their songs addressing the issues of the day, released this in 1988 and many of the subjects covered on the album have mostly been forgotten now.

Chumbawamba were at the forefront of the 1980s anarcho-punk movement, frequently playing benefit gigs in squats and small halls for causes such as animal rights, the anti-war movement, and community groups. The band’s collective political views are often described as anarchist.

Because the album has, at the title says 101 songs, I’ll concentrate more on the tracks with a football connection and playlist the others.

Very perversely the songs are arranged on the album in what seems to be a random order. Eg: Track 1 (or the first track on the A Side of the LP as it was) is not the first song. It is in fact number 21, then the one after that is number 37. You’ll hear what track number in spoken introduction before each (very short) song.

No.21 – Desmond Lynam’s Sports Trivia

From the heights of Montezuma to the shores of Sicily
From the rainplains of Africa
Across the shining sea
From the East to the West
From the rainforests to the dustbowls
It’s bigger than Jesus
Bigger than Rock & Roll
What is it?
» Full lyrics (opens in a new tab)

No. 84 – Jimmy Hill
In the lyrics “… if he had the wings of an angel/black arse of a crow, he’d shit on the BBC below…”

No. 3 – We want beans not goals
A year before the 1986 World Cup there was an earthquake in Mexico and many people were living in poverty, in shacks as the tournament took place. Which led to protestors chanting; “We want beans, not goals“.

No.10 – Hmmm…
Lyrics: Outside the ground at Luton Town/ A crazy opportunist has sprayed upon a wall/ A simple proclamation for all to read/ “Revolution is a better game than football”
The album was released at the height of Thatcher’s reign and her government were trying to introduce ID cards for football supporters to deal with this ‘hooligan problem’.

No.75 – Memories of Shilts
Apparently this is about the time Shilton was caught in the back of his car with another woman. » Lyrics

No.1 – “Good afternoon and welcome to White Hart Lane”
Executive boxes and business deals, that’s what the games all about.Groundhopping

chumbawamba - groundhopping - lyrics

No.38 – Shoot
“I heard that in the First World War / The soldiers called a truce / For a Christmas game of football /Instead of fighting their pointless war…” » Lyrics

No.16 – A lament to the Best
George Best

Oh, where are you now George?
Now that wingers have been laid to rest
And shirts have adverts across their breast
And it’s all about who’s the richest
Where are you now George?
With those boots that laced up the side
And that Irish shirt that you wore with pride
And that picture of you with Mike Summerbee and bride
Oh, where are you now George?
I dreamed of you dribbling past City’s back four
And leaving Joe Corrigan fumbling on the floor
And the Stretford End singing “More! Bestie! More!”
Where are you now George?
In a boutique down Carnaby Street?
Or gambling on the horses at an Aintree meet?
Oh where oh where are those magic feet?
I know where you’ve been
On Granada every week
I want you to come back to me
And have you seen George Oghani
And Charlie George?

No.94 – Rip it up
A few football fanzines are mentioned in the lyrics

No.5 – Benefits of the game
Benefits of the game lyrics

No.67 – Sunday league footy

“Let’s face it lads, you’re really crap!

No.91 – School team
» The lyrics look like a personal recollection by the singer of their school days.

No.11 – Heysel Stadium
chumbawamba - heysel stadium - lyrics

No.2 – Chelsea’s back four

No.89 – Mad Max
A track all about the late publishing tycoon (and pension robber) Robert Maxwell. The former owner of Oxford United and attempted merger with Reading to call them “Thames Valley United”. He also had his fingers in Derby County and also tried to get a grab of Man Utd.

No.48 – All’s well at Oakwell
This track sings about how crap the facilities for disabled fans are at other grounds, such as Derby, Liverpool, etc. But not at Barnsley ! No seriously, that’s what the song is about. » Read the lyrics.

No.99 – Back Home
Err… so. This one begins with a recording of the 1970 England squad singing Back Home, but then you will hear someone start laughing and laughing and laughing… the song fades out but the laughing continue for another couple of minutes.

No.86 – One Sided Game
Is exactly that. Singing about watching a match which the viewer percieves because of the ref’s action, is a conspiracy against them.

No.13 – Geoff Hurst’s Goal
Take a wild guess as to what this one is about. Not just that though, goes onto mention the Falklands War, Maradona and other items. » Lyrics

No.14 – Sweet FA
Song about homophobia in football.

No.58 – Frickley
Does as it says on the tin.

No.19 – City Man City
Also does as it says on the tin.

No.22 – Brian
And finally… A collection of football cliches.

– You can find the lyrics to nearly every song here.

– More info about the album is here and here.

One Reply to “Chumbawamba and Sports”

  1. Cheers Webbie. As big fan as I have long been of the Chumbas, I never managed to get my paws on a copy of this album.
    By the way, the final track (no. 22) is actually playing no. 56 Changing Gears…

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