One of the more humorous club songs now, as we visit Bramall Lane, home to Sheffield United!
(photo from Npower)
Affectionately known as The Blades, the club is undoubtedly one of the oldest and most famous in English football. And despite now residing in League 1, they still have their notoriously fanatical support, renowned for belting out "The Greasy Chip Butty Song" at home games.
However, whilst the song is reasonably well known in the footballing world, it's origins are a lot less clear. The song from which it borrowed the tune, "Annie's Song" by John Denver, was a huge hit back in 1975. It is claimed that it was first sung at an away-day victory over Stoke City in the opening match of the 1985/86 season, back when Sheffield United were in the second division. The lyrics were imaginatively reworded to include all of the simple pleasures of Yorkshire life, featuring such past times and luxuries as "a gallon of Magnet" and "a night out in Sheffield". However, other theories suggest that it may have come from a local radio jingle, whilst others suggest that United may have pinched it off someone else (more on that below).
John Denver: The man who started it all
(photo from Audiophile Paradise)
As with most football songs, there's always a bit of controversy somewhere in their history. "The Greasy Chip Butty Song" is no different, with fans of local rivals Rotherham United instead claiming that they came up with the song. This is heavily disputed though and it is widely acknowledged by most that the song is Sheffield United through and through.
The song's legacy, however, has not stopped at the borders of Sheffield. There are versions out there for other sporting teams (as is what happens with all great chants), including in Norway and Canada. It has even crossed over into completely different sports, with St Helens Rugby Club having their own variation in which they pride themselves on Greenalls ale and kebabs. The Chengdu Blades (Sheffield United's Chinese sister team) also has their own unique version, written by newspaper The Star. The hilarious lyrics are as follows:
"You fill up my senses/ Like a gallon of soy sauce/ Like a packet of chopsticks/ Like a good crispy duck/ Like a night out in Chengdu/ Like a greasy egg noodle/ Like Chengdu United/ Come thrill me again."
And, on that note, let's have a listen to the Sheffield-based original, recorded just before the fiery Steel City derby with Sheffield Wednesday.
(I've also posted the lyrics below as they can be quite hard to pick out in the video)
"You fill up my senses/ Like a gallon of Magnet/ Like a packet of Woodbines/ Like a good pinch of snuff/ Like a night out in Sheffield/ Like a greasy chip butty/ Like Sheffield United/ Come fill me again.... Na Na Na Naa Naa Naaaaa, ooo!"
As with every post for traditional club songs, I got the opinions of a few Blades fans to give you, the readers a bit of perspective. For this, I got in contact with fans via The Student Room and the S24SU forum.
Jack (18), from Sheffield, said, "I think it's great that we have our own distinctive anthem. It always gets me psyched up, especially just before the big derby (with Sheffield Wednesday)!"
Gemma (26), from Ipswich, reinforced the fact that it is special only to them. "It's obviously "our" song and there's nothing like the whole crowd singing it just before a big game. It's also only relevant to people who live in Sheffield, which makes it much more special."
Paul (44), from Gosport, told me about a recent development in the fans' singing habits. "Before, it was only really ever sung at home games. But more recently, we've been singing it at away games as well. The good thing is, the home fans don't really have any reply one it get's up and going."
Riley (24), from Chester, took issue with this new habit though. "It's a good song to sing but it's hard to get going at away games. At home, they play the first line over the tannoy so everyone can come in at the same time but, away, you need one dedicated singer to take the lead at just the right time. At bigger stadiums, including Wembley, it just doesn't work."
As for "The Greasy Chip Butty Song", you can debate the pleasures of Sheffield mentioned but no-one can argue the passion with which it is sung.
Thanks for reading folks!