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How quiet is it at the Emirates? I just don’t think you understand

OPINION: There may be a limited number of songs out there, but let's at least sing one of them

05 October, 2017 — By Richard Osley

ED Sheeran is just a guy making music that people like you like.

All he wants to do is get some tattoos and play his guitar and sing about stinky bedsheets, but people keep saying his songs sound too much like theirs.

He was threatened with a lawsuit by people who said Thinking Out Loud sounded a lot like Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get In On. Matt Cardle off-of The X-Factor claimed Photograph reminded him of his song, while the writers of TLC’s No Scrubs got a late credit on Shape Of You after raising similarities in the beats. This may sound like borrowing other people’s music and making lots of money in the process, but others have reasoned it another way: that there are only so many musical notes in the world and inevitably creative minds will fall on the same chord patterns.

I tell you of this probable explanation so that you don’t think ill of Ed Sheeran, but also that you don’t think ill of the Spurs supporters, who appear to stumble on football chants they have subconsciously picked up elsewhere and then believe them to be their own.

So when, to the tune of Billy Ray Cyrus’s marvellous record Achy Breaky Heart, they come up with “we’ve got Alli, Dele Alli, I just don’t think you understand, he only cost a mill, he’s better than Ozil”, do not complain. Yes, of course, nearly every other club in the world had been singing “just don’t think you understand” in some form of another before any of us had even heard of Alli – but why rain on their parade? Ozil, himself, was apparently better than Zinedine Zidane, no less, in one ancient draft.

But Spurs have been doing this for 50 years, even the signature “Glory Glory Tottenham Hotspur” was lifted from a chant first popularised by Hibernians in Scotland.

“Yeah, but we had the idea of slowing Oh When The Spurs Come Marching In right down and it’s amazing when we sing that,” I’m told by Spurs friends. Yes, bro. Everybody wants to hear Oh When The Spurs Come Marching In at a half-speed, deep grumble. Leonard Cohen, rest his soul, could have had a hit record out of it.

The sad fact is, however, we cannot pass judgment on the sound and atmosphere at Wembley. On Sunday Arsenal’s fans – or the tourists who sat, smartphones ready, on their behalf against Brighton – hit a rock bottom in terms of the (lack of) noise they made. Here was a new team in the Premiership excited to go to a big club, ready to be impressed, and they left stunned by the eery silence.

The match passed without a single chant from the home crowd, you could hear the players call for the ball. A decade after leaving Highbury, we are still missing the atmosphere.


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