I think I’ve mentioned this before on the blog, but I know for certain that any of you who are in the unfortunate position of reading my Facebook postings (under my Sunday name of James Clark) will be aware that I have certain responsibilities at any home matches for Raith Rovers FC, not least pulling together the pre-match music and shouting excitedly and incoherently over the tannoy system whenever we score a goal.
I’ve just finished my second season in the role of ‘Assistant Matchday Announcer’, having been asked by the bloke who has been doing things more or less on his own for 20 years to give him a helping hand and to work as a team in improving things for fans on the day, particularly pre-match and at half-time when he has pitch side duties.
I haven’t gone the whole hog and made all Stark’s Park experience akin to a visit to this blog – to do so would be an invitation to get fired.
It’s all about balance, trying to blend popular/populist tunes of vintage and modern eras of all genres with the remit to being to play ‘upbeat music’, and trying to crank up an atmosphere, particularly in the final minutes before kick-off. On some occasions, the musical choices are taken out of my hands as the club occasionally decides on a particular theme for a day and asks fans to make song suggestions along such lines – although I do get round this a wee bit by submitting my own suggestions but attributing these to the names of some of the TVV regulars – Drew has had his name used on at least three occasions and there’s probably someone in the club offices searching for his address to try and get him to take up a season ticket. I also have no qualms about using Jacques the Kipper for the same purpose, given he is a Stark’s Park regular, but at least it’s always a song that I know he would approve of.
I have managed to throw in a few curve balls at times, and off the top of my head have treated fans to the delights of The Fall, Say Sue Me, The Twilight Sad, Butcher Boy, Kid Canaveral, The Popguns, Withered Hand and Julian Cope among many others.
There are, however, certain traditions that have to be kept. It pains me to say that, post-match, all victories are greeted by Status Quo liking things and rockin all over the world, but there is no way I could ever change things.
For as long as I can remember, the team has taken to the pitch to one or other particular tunes.
Geordie Munro is a traditional song about an inhabitant of Kirkcaldy, the town in which Raith Rovers play their football (look it up on a map and it is on the east coast of Scotland, halfway between the cities of Edinburgh and Dundee). It is the tune which most fans want to hear and is the nearest thing we have to a club anthem. It’s our You’ll Never Walk Alone as sung by the fans of Liverpool FC.
The matchday announcer, over the years had moved away from Geordie Munro being the tune at kick-off on the basis that a modern almost dance version of it had been recorded by a group of fans as a way of raising money for charity and he was getting a bit of flak from them when he played the traditional version – he was on a hiding to nothing as anytime he played the modern version, loads of folk complained about it being an abomination and made the club a laughing stock.
His solution was to revert to another song which is sort of synonymous with the club, harking back to a true story from the early 1970s when a BBC sports presenter, upon reading out that Rovers had won a home match by something like 6-0, then remarked ‘they will be dancing in the streets of Raith tonight’, clearly unaware of the town the club is based.
The matchday announcer has long been a fan of the Live Aid version of the song, and so it was voices of David Bowie and Mick Jagger which were heard most weeks at the stadium. He occasionally did go with the original but would ditch it next time around if it had been aired before a game we didn’t go onto win (which was quite often!!).
I’m very pleased to say that I’ve phased all of that out and found a regular slot for this to air, some 10 minutes before the teams emerge from the tunnel:-
mp3 : Martha & The Vandellas – Dancing In The Street
It’s a belter of a tune and it must be up there as one of the coolest things you’ll now always hear on an visit to any sports stadium in the world. I’ll gloss over the fact that it tends to followed by some chart-hit dancey stuff by the likes of David Guetta, Calvin Harris or Rita Ora in the final few minutes as that’s the sort of stuff the young ballboys and ballgirls want to hear as they line up to form a guard of honour to welcome the teams. Oh and it’s also the music of our matchday mascot, Roary the Rover (whose picture is at the top of this posting) as he kind of likes a boogie just before kick-off and I’m not sure late 70s new wave/post-punk would fit the bill.