Negative chants are no good

Date published: Friday 15th February 2013 2:45

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How easy is it to start a chant?

My brother and I tried to start a chant during the last home game against Burnley. We didn’t succeed. We tried because we were disappointed with the chants that were aimed at the manager when he made substitutions straight after we conceded in the second half.

Like everyone we had sat through a dire first half, with little football being played by either team, and we could see that the 4-5-1 that the manager had laid out wasn’t really working.

We could also see that Chris Eagles playing behind Marvin Sordell had produced little of note, that Eagles was having a terrible game, and that some of the loanee debutants were delivering performances that were fitful at best.

What we couldn’t see is why the majority of the crowd burst into a chorus of “you don’t know what you’re doing” when Dougie Freedman made the substitutions. It’s not as if it was a negative decision (taking off an attacker for a defender) or a nothing substitution (swapping one combative midfielder for another) but he brought on two strikers, therefore changing our frontline and moving Eagles out to his more regular wide berth.

From listening to the sweaty, sweary angered shouts behind the chants we worked out that the ire directed at the manager was for leaving Eagles on the pitch, which we understood in a way, but in no way deserved the response it got from the crowd.

When both substitutes managed to score the goals that took us level and then ahead, my brother and I tried to start a chant of “you know what you’re doing” but for some reason it did not take off as we felt it should. Perhaps it didn’t have the prerequisite negativity that Bolton chants seem to have to have ingrained in them.

Earlier in the game the crowd had got behind the team with a stirring rendition of “Come on Bolton, come on Bolton!” The problem with this chant is that it can easily slip from chest thumping encouragement into gritted teeth frustration and I’m sure that it sounds like the latter even when it is intended as the former.

The other popular chant that I’m against is going to be hard to discuss on a family friendly blog such as this but I’m going to give it a go. This chant is meant as sarcasm (as difficult to get across in a chant as it is in a text) and is us firing back an insulting chant that used to be, and still is, aimed at us. Still not got it? Two words? The first three letters of the first word are the same as the first three letters of the second word, which is Wanderers. If you’ve not got it by now I can’t explain it any further. But if you’ve got it – why would we choose to describe ourselves in this way?

Growing up as a Bolton fan my favourite chants were those that were fun. My all-time favourite would probably be “Mixu, Mixu, Mixu, Mixu, Mixu – Mixu Paatelainen” to the tune of 2unlimited’s No Limit but a close second would be “I’m in the mood for Frandsen, and Johansen”.

Chants used to be inventive in those days. I once stood on Burnden Terrace and watched openmouthed as one superfan went through a version of Pet Shop Boys Go West extolling the virtues of Bruce Riochs Super White Army, and when I say version I mean verse, chorus, verse, etc.

Perhaps as the football became more efficient under Allardyce so did the chanting till we’re only left with frustration, sarcasm and frustrated sarcasm? But I’ve got an idea for a chant that I’d like to run past you that we could launch at the next home game.

Our new striker who came on as a second-half substitute, scored the goal that levelled the game and is more the targetman our players are used to after years of playing alongside Kevin Davies is called…Craig Davies! Which sounds a lot like Craig David.

So how about after he scores his next goal in front of the Reebok crowd we all join in with: “Re-re-wind, when he scores a goal – we go mental!”

By Gareth McCann, FanZone’s Bolton Wanderers blogger. Follow him on Twitter at @garethpmccann – and don’t forget to follow @FanZone too!

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