8 Greatest Tottenham Songs and Fan Chants
Any football club with any kind of history to speak of has its own collection of cherished songs and chants among its fans.
Some are co-opted from old, traditional tunes that are easy to pick up, some borrow from more recent pop songs and some are even original compositions.
As you can probably guess, the former two from that list are usually those which emanate from the stands during games, while the original ditties are more likely to be left to the professionals who are invited to record a song to mark a cup final appearance or a similar moment of glory.
The custom of making a cup final song is all but dead now. That is no small mercy considering the pain that can be induced by listening to a whole squad singing at once together and yet each voice in a different key.
But still songs from that age are cherished as much as those made up by the fans, and Tottenham Hotspur is no exception. Here is a selection of some of their most-loved and best-known songs.
Glory Glory Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs are not the only club in England to have tweaked the lyrics to the 'John Brown's Body', a song about an abolitionist popular in the north during the American Civil War that later found wider fame with a new set of lyrics and a title 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic'.
They are arguably the first to adopt the tune for their own purposes, however, and it eventually featured as a B side to 1981 FA Cup final song 'Ossie's Dream' (which we will get to).
It is the last song that is played before the start of every match at White Hart Lane, with simple one-line verses such as the rather presumptuous "Tottenham are the greatest team the world has ever seen" getting the home crowd going.
The A side to that single was the song that was written to propel Spurs on to success at Wembley over Manchester City, which they did via one of the great Wembley goals from Ricky Villa in the replay.
The song made the most of the cult status of Villa's fellow Argentinian, Ossie Ardiles, by putting him at the centre of the piece and giving him the immortal line "in the cup for Tottingham".
Ardiles had his doubts about saying the line at all—he could utter the name of his employer just fine—but he went along with it and in doing so became a household name.
Pub rockers Chas and Dave—both lifelong Spurs fans—had been the creative 'genius' behind the '81 songs, and their second effort in what would become a decade-long musical association with the club was another hit that was repeated on the radio and the terraces in the build-up to the 1982 cup final and beyond.
Already, however, the cracks were beginning to show when it came to rhyming certain words that were rather integral to the songs. After (just about) getting away with "Ossie's going to Wembley/He's legs have gone all trembly" the previous year, this time around it was "Tottenham! Tottenham! No one can stop them" which caused no little amount of wincing.
Still, the tune was another hit, and once more Spurs did indeed bring home the cup as promised, this time via another replay, against fellow Londoners Queens Park Rangers on this occasion.
Oh When the Spurs Go Marching in
Yet another American folk hymn which resurfaced as a British football chant, only this time the Tottenham version is most assuredly the defining one.
It is perhaps one of the longest, most patiently-building football chants in the English game, often taking in several passages of play as it is sung around three ends of White Hart Lane.
The old hymn-turned-jazz standard is recited at a slow tempo in deep voices, often with hands in the air and finger stretched towards the sky, twice through before some hand-clapping picks up the pace for the third time around.
Perhaps the most admirable aspect of this chant is that almost no matter what is happening on the pitch home crowd are rarely stirred out of their recital until they are through.
Can't Smile Without You
When you think of the type of artist who would inspire thousands of hardened football fans on the terraces during a match, Barry Manilow is probably not the first name that pops into your head.
And yet, somehow, the nasally well-endowed crooner's 1978 hit ballad has been adopted by Tottenham fans as their own. The song title is often seen emblazoned on banners at matches and the above video tribute is just one of many that are scattered all across the internet.
Supposedly, there was even an attempt to get the song back into the British Top 40 following their 2008 victory in the Carling Cup final.
The origin is believed to be from a particular group of Spurs fans, who would play a tape on their way to grounds and this song would often be the last one playing as they arrived at White Hart Lane. Whatever the reason it is a choice as sweet as it is unlikely.
Duel of Fates
Another surprising piece of music that has become associated with Tottenham is Duel of Fates, the John Williams score used as the theme for super-villain Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.
While the merits of voluntarily establishing a connection with the movie which started the slow, painful dismantling of George Lucas's legacy as a filmmaker, you cannot deny that Williams's form was as strong as ever when it came to this composition, which became the de facto theme for the movie as a whole.
While such a choice of entrance music might have been unimaginable not so long ago, the increasingly Hollywood nature of Premier League football in the 21st century means that few see the music as excessive today.
Just as the hellish choir and battling brass soundtracks the climactic fight scene between the Sith lord and Obi Wan Kenobi in the 1999 movie, so it provides the aural backdrop as Tottenham take to the field for every home game. The change from that to 'Glory glory Tottenham Hotspur' is, as you can probably guess, quite jarring.
Hot Shot Tottenham
Remember this FA Cup final song from 1987? No? Well, don't worry, because there are plenty of Spurs fans who have forgotten this third effort from Chas and Dave too.
Which is something of a shame, because this one stands up in its own right, especially the chorus of
"We're hot shot Tottenham/We are the super Spurs/Everybody knows we're the football connoisseurs/Seven times we've won the Cup/And the number eight is coming up/Hot shot Tottenham!".
It was, however, the first time that Chas and Dave had broken their musical promise to the fellow Spurs fans. Spurs would lose the Wembley showpiece 3-2 to Coventry City courtesy of club captain Gary Mabbutt's own goal in extra time, and the song was all but forgotten
It's Lucky for Spurs When the Year Ends in One
More Chas and Dave, but this is their final contribution to the musical canon of football songs. Spurs's league form was not exactly impressive in the first half of 1991, but that was largely excused thanks to their wonderful FA Cup run.
When they drawn against Arsenal in the semi-finals, demand for tickets was so high that they had to use Wembley instead of White Hart Lane. It was the first time an FA Cup game other than the final had been played at the national stadium, and it was a fitting occasion. Paul Gascoigne scored a quite stunning free-kick as Spurs beat their local rivals—who would end the season as league winners—3-1 to reach their fourth final in a decade.
They came to Wembley on the back of releasing 'When the year ends in one', written on account of the fact they had claimed the trophy in 1901, 1921, 1961 (as part of a league and Cup double) and 1981, as well as another championship in 1951 and the League Cup in 1971.
That trend continued as Spurs beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 to lift the trophy for what was at the time a record eighth occasion.
Rival fans have taken great delight in reminding Spurs supporters that they did not win anything in 2001 or 2011, so perhaps that luck was solely confined to the 20th century.