It is common legend, at least on Merseyside, that the crib of fan chanting was Liverpool FC whose fans sung Beatles songs in the 1960s. The Fab 4 were of course from the city and were at that time emerging as arguably, the greatest pop band in history.
In the clip from a BBC Panorama documentary made in 1964, Liverpool fans are shown singing the Beatles hit “She Loves You”.
The documentarian remarks that the crowd chanting is unique to Liverpool at least in the football world. He does point out that it is common in rugby crowds with Welsh fans, to whom we wish a very happy St Davids Day incidentally.
They also adopted another hit from another Liverpool Band, Gerry and the Pacemakers, whose “You’ll Never Walk Alone” has become both an Anfield and global football classic, despite its relative unsingability.
The part played by Liverpool fans in the early days of supporter culture was on the mind of our editor yesterday, as he interviewed former Liverpool defender Djimi Traore in front of the Royal Brougham End at Sounders FC ‘s stadium.
That end is occupied by the Emerald City Supporters who bring the songs and tifo to their side’s Major League Soccer games.
Prost Amerika: What did you know about MLS before you heard of Sounders interest?
Djimi Traore: What I know about MLS, to be honest is like Europe. But since I came here and there is Therry Henry, I’ve seen a lot of game. And to be honest I always wanted to come here and play in America. I have seen a few games, and to be honest I think it’s a good league. If they try to bring more players from Europe and South America, it will be a better league.
Prost Amerika: Did you talk to Thierry Henry before signing?
Djimi Traore: No, but when we were in the tournament in Tucson I saw him and we talked and he gave me some advice. He thought it was a good move for me. He told me about the club and about Seattle, the fans and the stadium. There are a lot of expectations and that’s what I am looking for.
Prost Amerika: At Liverpool your biggest rival was Manchester United. Now, Portland has signed Mikhail Silvestre. Are you looking to bring a bit of the Liverpool/Manchester United rivalry here?
Djimi Traore: To be honest no, but he plays for Portland now and it’s a big derby for us. Its a big rivalry and its good for the supporters and the league. It’s a great opportunity. I look forward to playing them.
Prost Amerika: Have you heard anything about the tifo that goes up behind the goal?
Djimi Traore: Yes! I have seen pictures and have watched it on You Tube. I have seen pictures in the dressing room. I think that Seattle has some of the best supporters in the league. I hope we can bring them some great victories. I’d like to bring them the cup because they deserve it.
Prost Amerika: Last question. It’s been well noted that Liverpool fans started soccer culture by singing Beatles songs in the 60′s. Are they still the benchmark on how to support the team?
Djimi Traore: Yes of course. I support them. I have had some great years there. The supporters have always been nice with me. To be honest, it’s one of the best atmospheres I have played in. I like it because it’s a traditional pitch and the stadium is whole.
Prost Amerika: What are you expecting here?
Djimi Traore: The atmosphere there is so great, especially when you play at night, you know? It’s fantastic. And I wish for the same here. Tha’ts why I signed here. The fans are great and they love their club. Its something very important to me to have when I’m on the pitch to have those fans behind me.
Prior to the interview we conducted with Traore, he was talking to RDS Quebec’s French Language station. We are hoping to bring you extracts of that interview later courtesy of RDS.