The best football anthems and their history

Going to the football is about so much more than simply watching the action unfold on the pitch over the course of 90 minutes. It’s about being part of something bigger than yourself, a community of people that all share the same passion: supporting a club through thick and thin.

A key part of that is chanting. Whether you take part or not, it can make even the most standard of games feel like a special occasion. Thousands of people singing the same song to show their love for the same team; it can make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and cover you in goosebumps.

But what are the most famous anthems? And why are they sung by certain clubs? Read on to find out.

Liverpool: You’ll Never Walk Alone

After being created for the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel, You’ll Never Walk Alone surged to the top of the UK charts when it was released by Gerry & The Pacemakers 18 years later.

The lyrics about solidarity and togetherness were deemed extremely fitting for a club that was in the midst of a rebuild under Bill Shankly. It has become so ingrained in the club’s culture that the song’s title is now their official motto.

It makes getting to Anfield ahead of kick-off a must. Before a ball is even kicked, you’re bound to be moved by witnessing a sea of red shirts belting out an iconic hit that has become synonymous with football.

Barcelona: Cant del Barca

Situated in the state of Catalonia, Barcelona are a club with a unique heritage and culture.

To celebrate the club’s 75th anniversary in 1974, Cant del Barca – which translates from Catalan as Barca’s chant – was created by Jaume Picas, Josep Maria Espinas and Manuel Valls.

It quickly became a favourite among supporters and can be heard ringing around Camp Nou several times every matchday.

Real Madrid: Hala Madrid y Nada Mas

While it doesn’t have the history of most club anthems, there’s no doubt that this is already one of the most famous in the game.

The song was commissioned by club president Florentino Perez and was released in 2014 after they became the first club to win the Champions League 10 times by beating local rivals Atletico Madrid in Lisbon.

“Hala Madrid” (meaning Go Madrid) has long been used as a rallying cry by the club and the song rings around the Santiago Bernabeu after every match.

Roma: Roma, Roma, Roma

This was adopted by the club from the Italian capital following its release as a single entitled Roma (non si discute, si ama) by Antonello Venditti.

A beautiful ode to the city of Rome, it was first played during a derby match against arch-rivals Lazio and has been ever-present at the Stadio Olimpico since. 

West Ham: I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles

One of the more unique terrace chants and team entrances can be found at West Ham, where this song is played as artificial bubbles are blown onto the London Stadium pitch.

It’s been part of the club since the 1920s, when manager Charlie Paynter introduced it due to the player Billy J. Murray being perceived to have a resemblance to the character called Bubbles from a painting by Millais that was used in an advert at the time.

The rest, as they say, is history.