Today, I'm looking at the traditional club song of my hometown team, Derby County, otherwise known as the Rams!
(Photo from The Daily Echo)
As an avid Derby County fan myself, I will try and keep this post as objective as possible but please forgive me if my bias somehow seeps in!
To understand "Steve Bloomer's Watching", we first need to look at the legendary Steve Bloomer (affectionately nicknamed the "Destroying Angel"), undoubtedly one of the best footballers to ever play the game. Truly a brilliant sportsman (he also played baseball and cricket for Derby teams), he made his professional debut at the tender age of just 18, firing home 4 goals in a game against Darley Dale. He went on to have a prolific career, including a 14-year tenure at Derby County, scoring a total of 332 goals in 525 games for the Rams. Known for having a very slight frame, he terrorised defenses with his natural skill and pure instinct for the game.
It's no surprise then that he's considered one of Derby County's biggest icons with an anthem to match. First used on Boxing Day of 1997, "Steve Bloomer's Watching" was written by 2 Derby fans (Mark Tewson and Martyn Miller) after hearing "Up There Cazaly" at an Australian Rules Football game. They re-wrote the song to include Derby's football greats whilst their musician friend Stephen Halston-Reid modernised the composition.
BBC Radio Derby and actor Robert Lindsay soon got involved after hearing the reworked song. Lionel Pickering (director), Jim Smith (manager) and several squad players also joined in to record the song under the name 'Robert Lindsay and the Pride Park Posse' (arguably the most cringeworthy band name ever).
Robert Lindsay: Leader of the "posse"
(photo from The Times)
Since then, it has been played before every single home game, allowing fans young and old to remember the greatness of Steve Bloomer, the game's first real superstar. Bloomer now sits alongside the home dug-out at Pride Park in the form of a bust, "guiding our heroes in the black and the white" as it says in the song.
Now to have a listen:
Another unique feature of this blog is that, for every song, I'll be getting the opinions of the club's fans. Because, let's face it, they're the ones who sing it week in, week out.
For "Steve Bloomer's Watching", I spoke to several people on the DCFCfans forum to gauge their opinion. Unfortunately, the responses were much more negative than I had anticipated.
Sam (17), from Derby, said "When I was younger, it was alright but I've heard it so many times now, its getting on my nerves. No-one really joins in, you just get half the ground clapping and shouting "Derby!" at the end."
James (22),, from Derby, raises the issue of when it's played: "I'm sure the song used to be played to coincide with the kick off which was better as there would be a big load of noise as the game started. Now it's played 10 mins before kick off so less people are interested in joining in and are still finishing off their pints downstairs."
Callum (17),, from Heanor, agrees: "It doesn't help how it's played ten minutes before kick off. Singing it then just feels pointless to me."
On the other hand, Dan (25),, from Blackpool, says, "I like the song & always join in! It's our song & no-one else sings it unlike some chart or old songs adopted by other clubs. It's something nice & unique to us even if the tune is a rip-off of an old Aussie song!"
As for myself, I have to agree with Dan. I find the song to be very uplifting and, just before the kick-off of an important game, it certainly gives me chills when it rings around the stadium. Take the other weekend, for example, during the passionate East Midlands derby between Derby County and Nottingham Forest. 27,000 home fans all standing and belting out "Everybody's frightened of that Derby pride!"
That, my friends, is what a football game is all about.
That brings to a close the first real post of 'Songs Of The Stands'! Thanks to all the participants who gave their opinions and I hope you stick around for the next post in a couple of days!