City fans are heard. And they travel, too.
In the 32 years since The Clash sang "the in crowd say it's cool to dig this chanting thing," chanting at English football grounds has persisted but maybe not flourished.
Not to be a spoilsport, but maybe the abatement of chanting is for the best. Europe's history vis-a-vis chanting and groupthink isn't exactly sterling to begin with.
And while we would all love to pretend that football fans have evolved, too many recent stories indicate that even supposedly urbane City fans (ahem) can trend to the tasteless and awful if given the chance.
On another site, this piece might have turned into more of a social commentary. Many of the chants I dug up in my research carry racist, homophobic or just plain old hateful overtones. A ton of them are profane, including all 37 versions of "My Old Man."
At Bleacher Report, though, we don't traffic in that sort of information. Kids read the product on this site, you know.
So here are 20 chants that every City fan ought to know—sanitized for your protection.
For the purposes of this piece, chants and songs are created equal. Whether they recite it or sing it matters not here.
It's pretty funny to hear 60,000 people sing in unison.
"Blue moon/You saw me standing alone/Without a dream in my heart/Without a love of my own."
"Blue Moon" is the granddaddy of them all as far as City chants go. City cannot set foot on a pitch without this one being tossed out at full voice.
Per the club website, "The anthem 'Blue Moon' originates from the great American song-writing partnership of composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Lorenz Hart."
In concert with City's somewhat uneven club history, "Rodgers hated it so much that he submitted full-page ads to newspapers urging people not to buy it. But the public disagreed and it shot to No.1 in both America and the UK, selling over a million copies."
If you have room in your heart and your mind for only one City chant, make it "Blue Moon."
You get one guess where the song title comes from.
"City-Manchester City/We are the lads who are playing to win/City-the Boys in Blue will never give in/Football is the game that we all live for/Saturday is the day we play the game/Everybody has to pull together/And together we will stand."
This one goes on a while longer, but it is worth a look-see.
It even gets quasi-religious: "Maybe in another generation/When other lads have come to take our place/They'll carry on the glory of the City/Keeping City in the place."
That is weighty stuff.
City 'til they die.
"I'm City 'til I die/I'm City 'til I die/I know I am I'm sure I am/I'm City 'till I die."
You will see "CTID" shorthand on City message boards. It is apparently sung to the tune of something called "Happy," which in 42 years on Earth I am pretty sure I have never heard.
There is not a ton of sophistication to this chant, nor to the song I imagine. It is all quite straightforward.
This one is sort of cheeky; I like it.
"We are not, we're not really here/We are not, we're not really here/Just like a fan/Of the invisible man/We are not, we're not really here."
Here is the first clever one I found. The club's website does a nice job of taking the bite out of it, indicating that the slogan "pays homage to the fans that continued to follow City when they were in the old third division. It was and still remains a terrace chant today at the City of Manchester Stadium."
That's accurate, but it is not the whole story.
Per Simon Hattenstone's 2011 piece in The Guardian:
The stories behind the origin of the song vary – some claim it originated at Millwall when there was a ban on away fans, some say it was sung to the police after fans trashed an Irish bar, others say it was simply wish fulfilment – we didn't believe we could be here, we didn't want to be, so we told ourselves we weren't.
I much prefer the interpretation that has traveling City fans singing "we're not really here" from inside the very ground they were banned from.
That is tops.
Not always an easy history, but always a proud one.
"In 1963 we fell, into Division Two/The Stretford End cried out aloud/It's the end for you Sky Blue/Joe Mercer came/We played the game/We went to Rotherham/We won 1-0, and we were back/Into Division One."
Ah, but as you know this song has a happy ending: "(Since then) We've won the league, we've won the cup/We went to Europe too (and won)/And when we win the league this year/We'll sing this song to you/City, City, City, City."
Who's up for some Champions League football?
Here surely was a sunny day.
"You are my City/My only City/You make me happy when skies are grey/You'll never know just how much I love you/So please don't take my City away."
You probably already gathered that this one is sung to the tune of "You Are My Sunshine."
Again, nobody accused the folks who put songs and chants to be performed by thousands of people at football grounds of being Mensa material.
Tired as this chant is, it still probably works live.
"Oh when the blues go marching in/Oh when the blues go marching in/I want to be in that number/Oh when the blues go marching in."
(Taking a deep breath.)
For the first few weeks of my time as a Premier League fan, watching the matches on television and hearing this chant roll over even the voices of the commentators, well, I have to admit it was cool.
Soon, though, I realized that every blasted team's fans in every blasted team's ground has their own variation of this chant. The Spurs, the Reds, the Blues, even the Saints...they all go marching in.
Which begs questions: Why do any of these fans recite this one? Why would you appropriate a chant from some other fanbase? Why would anyone want to seem so unoriginal?
I am pretty sure there are no answers here.
City win at home plenty now.
"We never win at home/And we never win away/We lost last week/And we lost today/We don't give a (fill in the blank)/'Cause we're all pissed up/MCFC OK."
When I enlisted my younger brother's help with this piece, this is the first chant he replied with.
The poetic structure of this one is relatively well-paced, with "MCFC OK" tying back to "never win away." You can see how this would have been popular when the team was terrible.
Now that City's fortunes have turned, you can also see how this chant would be popular in a "I used to be dumpy, now I'm fit and dating a supermodel" kind of way.
You have to imagine this one gets sung at Old Trafford some.
"Hark now here/The City sing/United run away/And we will fight forever more/Because of derby day/We are City/Super City/We are City from Maine Road/Oh City City/The only football team to come from Manchester."
It's all here: pride in the sky blue side, a call back to City's time playing at Maine Road and a direct shot at Manchester United.
Granted, that bit about being the only football team to come from Manchester has lost some of its sting given the Sky Blues' roster composition in recent days.
Yeah, but still.
Just boys being boys.
"I never felt more like singing the Blues/City win, United lose/Oh City/You've got me singing the blues."
In the past, this one was special because let's face it: The likelihood of City winning and United losing on the same day was pretty remote.
Both teams have been near the top of the table in the Premier League in recent years, which means that the "City win" half comes through more often even if the "United lose" piece is still a rarity.
At least twice a year, though, City have the power to make this come true without help.
One of them comes this Sunday at the Etihad.
This obsession with United is unhealthy.
"If you all hate Man United clap your hands [clap, clap]/If you all hate Man United clap your hands [clap, clap]/If you all hate Man United/If you all hate Man United/If you all hate Man United clap your hands."
Researching this piece, it quickly became apparent that nursery rhymes and pop songs form the base of about 90 percent of all these masterpieces.
And United is the foil in the vast majority of them.
If you're happy and you know it, go on to the next slide.
Maybe Wazza should just have that thing welded to his scalp like he did with his hair.
There surely is red in Manchester. Denying it won't make it not so.
"Oh there's no red in Manchester/It's only home to Man City/Oh there's no red in Manchester/It's only home to Man City."
Hey, another football chant set to "When the Saints Go Marching In!" That's a rarity!
Even fans of teams whose name actually is the Saints think this particular tradition is beyond played out.
I can't make up my mind as to whether this chant is good fun or crossing the line.
"You'll never get a job/With hope in your heart/That you'll never get a job/You'll never get a job
Sign on, sign on/With hope in your heart/That you'll never get a job/You'll never get a job."
Without question, any chant that takes on Liverpool Football Club's anthemic use of "You'll Never Walk Alone" to honor their lost fans is tiptoeing a thin line.
That, I suppose, is the whole point.
Liverpool treats the "You'll Never Walk Alone" ritual like it is something sacred. To them, maybe.
To everyone else, it is a few minutes to wait until the match starts.
If only cows could in fact fly.
"If I had the wings of a sparrow/If I had the arse of a cow/I'd fly over Old Trafford tomorrow/And (defecate) on the bastards below."
I know, I said I was going to keep this slideshow in the PG-13 range. Really, I have tried.
But this is poetry, damn it.
Bell, left, is perhaps the greatest City player ever.
"Let's drink a drink a drink a drink/For Colin the King the King the King/He is the leader of Man City/He is the greatest inside Forward/that the world has ever seen."
Since City named a stand after him, it is no surprise that Colin Bell has his share of chants.
For me, it came down to this one or "Number One is Colin Bell," which is pretty clever even if it does beat the idea of repetition being a key to comedy straight into the ground.
So this one, then.
Seriously, keep the blue flag flying high.
"Hello Hello, how do you do/We are the boys in laser blue/Where ever we go, we'll fear no foe/'Cause the blue flag's flying high/Up flying high, up in the sky/We'll keep the blue flag flying high/From Manchester to the Bernabeu/We'll keep the blue flag flying high."
This one, to the tune of "O Christmas Tree," is so positive and downright chipper that it almost does not feel authentic.
Though I rather like the rhyme of blue and Bernabeu. That is strong.
"Jingle bells/Jingle bells/Jingle all the way/Oh what fun it is to see/Man City win away."
Nursery rhymes and pop songs are fine fodder for these chants, but a Christmas carol will do in a pinch.
I wonder if the traveling City fans broke this one out at Struncovy Sady Stadion Tuesday.
We would all follow the City to the Czech Republic, too, if we can.
"We all follow the City/Over land and sea and Stretford/We all follow the City/On to victory."
How did Stretford get dragged into this?
Anyway this chant was way ahead of its time. Fans around the globe are following City now, as the club's matches are being broadcast essentially everywhere there is a power grid.
I am following City from thousands of miles away and missing nothing.
I am reasonably certain that that is Noel Gallagher. Would I bet my life on it? No I would not.
"I said maybe/You're gonna be the one that saves me/And after all/You're my wonderwall."
Noel Gallagher used to be very famous for something other than being a Manchester City football fan. He had this band, Oasis. They were really good. "Don't Look Back in Anger" is probably their best song, but "Wonderwall" was almost certainly their biggest hit.
Since he is often at the Etihad anyway, "Wonderwall" will often come pouring out of the speakers at the end of City matches.
There are worse songs to be associated with.