'Singing Songs, Making Places, Creating Selves:' Football Songs & Fan Identity at Sydney FC

Ian Collinson

Abstract

The Australian A-League soccer competition was established in 2004. The creation of a new national soccer league precipitated many changes within Australia’s football culture. These changes were particularly difficult for the supporters because, with a single exception, all the A-League teams were completely new ‘franchises’. The reinvented competition required soccer fans to adopt a new team, to develop new loyalties, new rituals, new places, and consequently a new fan identity. Vital to this act of re-creation has been the collective authorship of a ‘new’ repertoire of football songs. Football songs and communal singing are central to the traditions and performance of soccer fandom. Football song plays a key, perhaps even determining, role in the creation of fan identity. In this paper I examine the way football songs are used create a fan identity for Sydney’s new A-League side: Sydney FC. I argue that the result of Sydney fans’ conscious act of cultural creation is a repertoire of songs and chants that, although derived from an increasingly globalised and commodified football culture, is able to articulate a local identity. Moreover, these songs may even be thought to articulate a local and a global fan identity simultaneously, as fans connect local and distant spaces within global soccer culture.

Keywords

music, football, songs, place-making

Full Text

PDF