Those are some lyrics to a song about the England team from 1970, do they ring a bell ?

England World Cup fans back in the day

Chris needs your help. He’s got a song stuck in his head and it’s driving him mad. He’s emailed me and I’ve drawn a blank. He’s been on every forum to ask and no joy.

Here’s a post from him on the WSC message boards:

“In 1970 when Back Home was the official England World Cup Song there was another song that got little airtime but sounded like the squad (although it could have been anyone) and the words included members of the ’70 England Squad passing about leading up to the words “Martin to Ossie and bang”.

Thats all I can remember and I have tried all the usual searches, tried posting this same question on numerous football websites and even emailed the homepage of a couple of old england players from back then…no replies of any relevance to date.

The Martin to Ossie words were reference to Martin Peters (Tottenham) and Peter Osgood (Chelsea) and I have posted the question on Chelsea and Spurs sites as well.”

Chris told me that the name of the song was “On The Ball” and as soon as you see that you think – ah, that song which Ant & Dec sang for the England/World Cup in 2002.

Well yes but…

The Ant & Dec song was reportedly a cover version of an old Arsenal chant/song, which is weird because Chris found more evidence about this record via this Japanese website which has scans of the record covers and/or labels of every footballing song released in 1970 (which I’d give my right arm to get hold of all of them) and on that page is a scan of a label of the song that (Chris thinks) he’s looking for:

The record label for the 1970 song

Curious thing – the track was written by Harold Spiro who was a big Spurs supporter. He is credited as co-writer on the 2002 A+D England WC song.

A short while later Chris mailed again with some news…

“getting closer…

Someone on a Chelsea site has just pointed me to Discogs and someone on there has the record but with a different Catalogue number and release date a year too late…

I’ve ordered it although I’m waiting for him to get back to me, I think it could be a mistake with the date as the one in my pic says 1970 in small letters and 72 somewhere else.”

As he said Chris ordered it and a short time later…

“Oh mate I’m gutted…got the record and although very similar its not it and was released in 1971 obviously for the Arsenal double winning side back then…I don’t know if they were singing it before that and it influenced the one I’m after or if they got the idea from the one I want but it is very similar…”

So then there’s the question – Is that 1970 song by The Supporters one in the same as the one recorded for the Arsenal ? Because nobody has a copy of that 1970/Supporters single in their possession (and if anybody does speak/write in Japanese and could email that above site), we will never know.

Unless you can help.

Where is your old record collection ? Is it shoved away in a cupboard somewhere ? Drag it out and have a look through. You might have it.

– Until then have a listen to the 1971 (Arsenal) version of the song, as supplied by Chris:

» Arsenal ’71 – On The Ball

…and because I’m feeling a bit vindictive today (for no reason) you are getting PJ & Duncan as well:

» Ant & Dec – We’re On The Ball

Sept 2020 Update: The version by The Supporters mentioned above has the lyrics mentioned in the title. Go to this post and scroll down to see the answer to the question.

13 Replies to ““Martin To Ossie And Bang””

  1. The 1970 was picked up on by Chris Evans 1998 and he played it endlessly on TFI and his Virgin Radio show – presumably it was there that Ant & Dec picked up on it.

  2. Still thinking about this and it definately wasn’t a mistake, It was on the radio quite a bit and Martin to Ossie were definately the words…its driving me mad.

    Don’t give up on it as someone somewhere will recognise it.

  3. Me again and I’m still unable to track this down, I did wonder if it might have been released in after 1970 for the euros, it definitely was played on the radio and the lyrics were “martin to ossie and bang” I wouldn’t have confused it with the Arsenal version.

    Someone must have heard this.

  4. I remember a version being played on Fantasy Football league which used the words ‘and then Wham’, prompting baddiel or skinner to joke about not realising either George Michael and/or Andrew Ridgely played for England…
    It featured contemporary players of the time

  5. Hi I have this record in my collection which I have had since 1970
    A side we are on the ball
    B side On the ball, sing your own words

    1. Hi John,

      I have spent years and years trying to track down this song. Is there any chance you could convert both the A and B side to MP3 and email them to me. I’d be grateful.

    2. the song is done in the reggae style,then big with the skinhead/sudehead scene.john we’re you a skinhead/sudehead back in 1970?

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