Hearing that comedian Des Clarke was championing Scotlands Womens National Football side we grabbed the opportunity to catch up with him and grill him about the footy chants he had put together for the team.
You are a football fan but what gave you the idea to produce football chants?
For me, being a football fan is about being a part of the game and also having a relationship with the players. It’s not like when you go to the theatre and applaud when it’s over, in football you need that atmosphere all throughout the game. I think the Scottish women’s football team are doing so well, I’m so proud of them and want to let as many people know just how good this team is. The fact that we’ve qualified for a major tournament as a nation for the first time in nearly 20 years is amazing. So, I thought why not shout about it literally and create these chants with Vauxhall Motors and get as many people as we can to chant along with me about the team. Also, as well the team, I wanted to make chants about individual players so that people know exactly how big the best players are. I want these players to become household names just like the many of the men are. What they’ve done is such an amazing achievement so I hope everyone in Scotland are proud and get in right behind the women this summer.
Have you witnessed your chants inspiring the team to raise their game and what in your opinion makes a great chant?
When I was first writing them, I was making them really long and complicated but then I imagined myself as football fan and remembered the best chants are those that you pick up. Short, sharp, easy to understand and ones that you can say them repetitively. It’s nice to hear how the players have reacted so well to them, Vauxhall Motors said Joelle Murray has heard her chant and loves it! I know it inspires them, it’s a really great thing for a player to hear their name on the pitch because it shows that the fans know who they are, that they love what they are doing and that they have that relationship with them. I want to get across that they are great as a team, but also that they have some fantastic individual players too. Also, you know what, if the players hear the fans chanting over and over again, we will see them getting excited by it and hopefully it will make the opposition a bit worried, they’ll be looking round thinking what the heck is happening here. It may well be the difference between getting that winning goal or not!
Is there a chant that inspired you?
There’s one that comes to mind, it was when Scotland’s men’s team were playing Italy and unfortunately the result didn’t go our way. But we were all chanting very loudly at them in unison. 50,000 fans shouting, “We’re going to deep fry your pizzas!”, and I thought that is probably the best Scottish chant because it incorporated Italian culture with a bit of Scottishness
Sting has been quoted recently as saying that he loves it when fans re-purpose his songs to sing at football games, is he right or should they be purpose made for the team?
I don’t think there are any rules, you can obviously make some purpose made one like we’ve done for the teams, but you can also take ownership of it as well. As long as it’s catchy and people get into then, well done! A lot of famous pop songs have made it in the chants as well. I remember a Northern Ireland team last year in the men’s Euros that was ‘Will Griggs on fire, your defence was terrified’ and I think the song was a dance track from 20 years ago, but I can guarantee about 90% of the crowd did not know the original song but everyone knew this chant. It was just a couple of lines and it just became an absolutely anthem for Northern Ireland. That player, I think he only got on once for a few minutes as a substitute but the fact he became a cult hero, it was such an easy thing to chant along to and helped bond those fans plus the team too. So, something like that really works, if it’s simple then people really get into it and it becomes a thing that catches on and that’s what I’m looking to do with these chants too alongside Vauxhall Motors.
What sort of chants work best?
Well the chants that work best are chants that are memorable and simple. When I was trying to come up with mine with Vauxhall, a good rhyme is important, not too long and nice and simple! It has to be something that you want to sing over and over again, and one that last a long time around the stadium. You don’t want one that comes and go within a few seconds. I hope my chants have that, some of the old stadium chants do. It’s that repetitiveness, short and sharp and a bit of sense of humour in that too
Why did you decide to specifically decide to support women’s football and are the motivating chants different in composition than the male counter parts?
You know what, a chant is a chant, men or women, we’re all footballers, we’re all fans. It just has to be memorable and mean something to the fans and the players, and you have to want to chant it over and over again! In terms of the women’s team in Scotland they are doing so well and I just want to do what I can to get right behind them and I know that lots of Scotland fans say the same thing.
Will you be watching Scotland Women this summer?
Of course, yes! I’ll be watching all the games this summer. I want to try and get to Holland as well and see some of the action but I’ll definitely be watching. I’m so proud of them and you know what they have a tough group, but that’s when Scotland’s at their best, when they are the underdogs. We’ll go into these games competitive and as long as we have a chance of winning anything is possible. I’m sure they’ll do us proud and I will be behind them every step of the way.
Name the best Women’s side.
Well there’s no doubt about that, it’s Glasgow City FC! That’s my team, they are a fantastic and really help promote women’s football amongst young female players around the city as well. They are also very successful too so if you don’t know them look them up and if you live anywhere near then go and support them!
Name your top woman player.
I’ll give you a couple. First is a lady called Marta, she plays for Brazil and is like the female equivalent of Pelle - she is that good! Her skill level is unbelievable, she just scores goals from every angle and she looks cool as well! She also has that one thing every Brazilian player has, being known by one name! She is the best ever.
In terms of other players, I’ll throw in Hope Solo who is the legendary USA team goal keeper. One of my claim to fames is that I’ve trained with her! I’ll have to quantify it a bit, she was playing the Olympics in 2012 in London but they played some of the games of that tournament in Hampden Park. They were staying at a hotel in Glasgow and the US team happened to train in the same gym as me so I was basically on a machine in the gym next to her. So that’s how I say I trained with her- I obviously didn’t really! Let’s just say she was much better on the machine than I was, lifting much bigger weights! She’s an amazing player and fantastic goal keeper.
I’ll throw in one more name, a Scottish striker called Julie Fleeting – she from Kilwinning and has scored almost a goal a game, well over 100 goals for Scotland. She is an absolute legend of a player and the best striker, male or female that Scotland has ever had.
What would you say to Manchester United as the only Premier League side that does not have a women’s team?
I can’t comment on individual clubs and I don’t know what the situation is there with Manchester United but I think in general it’s great that most of the famous clubs have women’s football team. I know Manchester City developed it over the last few years and have gone on to win the league in England a couple of times now. It’s a good sign of things to come that these clubs are putting such a focus and priority on women’s football and the more that do that, the better. Get the funding behind it, get the exposure behind it and also, we can use the names of these big clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City who were the top three in the English league last season, when you’ve got those names attached to anything as a brand it promotes it around the world and women’s football is no different.
As official sponsor of the Scotland women’s football team, Vauxhall Motors is uniting the nation to #GetIN this summer and make some noise for the team. Comedian Des Clarke is working with Vauxhall Motors to create a series of rallying chants in support of the players and team. Learn them, shout them, support them at vauxhall.co.uk/football.