THE Lewes FC matchday programme is always an excellent read packed full of footballing facts and opinion.
I was very much drawn to a contribution by Stuart Fuller (above) that appeared in the latest publication produced for Easter Monday’s game against Hastings United. Lewes Director Stuart readily agreed when I asked if I could reproduce an abridged version in Dripping Yarns. Stuart’s piece began: “UEFA Euro 2012 is fast approaching and soon we will all be exposed to the competition’s ‘official’ anthem. In the past for such prestigious tournaments we have had the likes of Anastacia, Nelly Furtado and, of course, our own immortal Baddiel and Skinner with the wonderful Three Lions.
However, it seems this year we will be treated to a song by a rather attractive German-American girl called Oceano who has already had at least one big chart-topping hit in co-host nations Poland and the Ukraine. I haven’t yet heard the song but the Euro synergy seems to be on the right track.
“All of which got me thinking of football and music. One of the most amusing match day incidents I see played out these days at the Dripping Pan is the battle between our groundsman extraordinaire Roger Feltham and one of the community club’s lumininaries – a battle fought over precisely what music is to be played over the speakers prior to a game. It has now got to a point where dirty tricks are the order of the day. A short time ago when we hosted East Thurrock I took my place in the office and awaited the start of the fun.
“First up at 2pm came Lewes director Eddie Ramsden, the man behind the long-term Lewes financial plan.
“From his inner pocket came a copy of The Queen is Dead, the Smiths’ Gold-selling album from way back in 1986. He smugly popped open the CD tray and loaded up a thick slice of Morrissey and Marr. Volume cranked up to nine.
“Little did he know that the ever-alert Roger, anticipating musical insurrection, had been hiding in the home changing room next door.
“Ed leaves, Roger enters and out comes the Smiths and in goes The Prodigy, smacking their bitch up all the way to 10. And so the tribal dance went on for the next 45 minutes. Frankly, Mr Shankly, then Breathe; Bigmouth Strikes Again then Serial Thriller.
“I attempted to mediate by suggesting a nice bit of Kenny G or Vangelis but it was much too late even for Kofi Annan to get involved, let alone me.
“A truce was eventually called and the discussion turned to run-out music for the teams – or in our case a “walking down the steps” melody.
“Sussex by the Sea seemed to be the preferred choice but two problems. Firstly, Lewes is not by the sea and two, nobody has a copy of the song. So we make do with Pjjnoo by Eric Prydz.”
At this point I must interrupt Stuart’s highly amusing anecdote with some information that strikes me as very relevant. Around four years ago my wife Barbara and myself undertook an amazing motoring tour of Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC, a trip that particularly indulged my keen interest in the fascinating conflict that was the American Civil War.
The incredible Blue Ridge Mountains and stunningly beautiful Shenandoah Valley were highlights. But straying off our map of what is known as the Capital Region USA, I noticed Delaware, a small but historically very significant state that borders Maryland and that part of Virginia on the east side of the Chesapeake Bay. Delaware’s name is directly derived from the Sussex titled family De La Warr – a name most famously celebrated in Bexhill’s De La Warr Pavilion. Though the history is disputed, it is said that a De La Warr inflicted a bloody defeat on the Indian tribe living in that part of America and thus earned himself title to the land. We’d probably term it genocide today but things were different way back then amidst the growing pains of the New World.
Evidently many more Sussex folk must have followed De La Warr across the Atlantic, for the state’s county of Sussex boasts at least three towns with tell-tale names: Lewes, Wilmington and Seaford. Anyway, we couldn’t resist making a detour to visit Lewes USA. We found find it a very pleasant town with a ferry link to New Jersey and from there a route to New York City.
Disappointingly there were few references to our home town here in Sussex – all we saw was a yellowing map of the real Lewes on the wall in the tourism office. Shame – we are twinned to towns in France and Germany so why not to Lewes, Delaware, a place separated from us only by the entire width of the Atlantic Ocean, the English Channel and then a short stretch of the River Ouse?
Indeed today – as in times gone by – you could make the physical connection in a single sea voyage.
I think I’ve just laid down an awesome challenge!
Now there is a very odd thing about the location of Lewes and Seaford in the state of Delaware.
And it very strangely contradicts Stuart Fuller’s statement that “Lewes is not by the sea”. That’s because over there Lewes is a port set right beside the Atlantic. And the town of Seaford is some nine miles inland. Weird or what? How did this come about?
Maybe someone out there has the answer and if so please let me know.
But now back to the Stuart’s original theme in the Lewes programme.
He concluded: “Music during the game has become an integral part of cricket and rugby union for years. Cricket has adopted it well, with each player in the Twenty20 version of the game having his own walk on music. I think every football club should have an anthem, a piece of music that is associated with their team. I’m thinking the likes of Blue Moon, You’ll Never Walk Alone and Z-Cars. Classics and instantly recognisable as to which club they belong to. So my campaign for proper songs for every club starts here.
“Supporters of teams who still use Tina Turner, The Piranhas, Pig Bag or Blur must rise up and seize control of the CD player. But whatever you do, keep it locked during the game.”