But more coverage means we’ll be hearing a lot more of our national chant. So we want to know – is ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie’ the best we can do?
The thing is that the chant:
a) isn't very good
b) isn't even Australian
From the little amount of research I can find, it came from Cornwall and was originally "Oggy Oggy Oggy". The word "Oggy" is a derivation of the Cornish word "hoggan" which is a Cornish Pasty. The theory is that pasty sellers would should "Oggy Oggy Oggy" to hawk their wares and the reply "Oi Oi Oi" indicated that someone wanted to buy said same.
The Welsh comedian Max Boyce popularised the chant it appears as a bit of a catchphrase; extending to Welsh Rugby crowds by the end of the 1970s. Perhaps it mutated into "Ozzy Ozzy Ozzy" during the early 80's because of Tottenham Hotspur's Argentine midfielder Osvaldo Ardiles who became something of a cult hero and was even the subject of a Chas and Dave song which made it to No.5 on the hit parade.
So having firmly established that "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. Oi, Oi, Oi" is not really that Australian, what would be the most appropriate thing for a national chant? Moreover, how does one even start or make a national chant? My experience on football terraces, leads me to believe that chants are highly organic things.
Back in 1997 during an England Cricket tour of Australia, a chant of either "El Fayed has got The Ashes" or "Paula Yates has got The Ashes" were sung in response to the deaths of Lady Diana Spencer and Michael Hutchence respectively.
Most chants in terraces either blindly extol their team and/or show abject hatred for the opposition. However the strangest chant that I've ever heard goes like this:
Have you ever seen? Have you ever seen?
Salmon in a tin. Salmon in a tin.
Here comes your mum with a loaf of bread,
Better watch out or she'll hit you in the head.
Oh salmon, salmon. Get it in a big tin, get it in a small tin,
Get it out of Tesco's, Okay!
To this day I've never worked out what it's for or even who or what it was about.
A good chant should be easily remembered and have a very limited tonal range. In the World Cup in Japan in 2002, for instance, when England played, one chant that went up frequently was "Oooooooooooh. You've got SARS!" in reference to the SARS outbreak of that year.
For some utterly strange reason in that tournament, German fans would sing the theme song of Vicky The Viking in the streets. Even more bizarrely, Netherlands fans would try to outsing the same song but with the Dutch lyrics.
Perhaps the most famous chant that got out of hand was the song "Yankee Doodle":
Yankee Doodle went to town,
Riding on a pony;
He stuck a feather in his hat,
And called it macaroniBarring the extensive rewrites to this, the chant basically says that "Yankee Doodle" or an "American Idiot" looked goofy on horseback, and was so unfashionable that he thought that just sticking a feather in his hat would make him look dead fancy.
A great deal of chants in Europe don't have any words at all. The tune of "Go West" by the Pet Shop Boys can be heard throughout Europe and there's variations on the "Humba" right through southern Germany and into Italy.
If there is going to be a national chant, I think that the best place for it to come from would be pop culture of some kind. To be fair, it doesn't even have to come from the country in question either. Eng-er-land (deliberately misspelled) sing to the very very American tune of "The Stars and Stripes Forever" by John Philip Sousa. I don't think that a national chant needs any words either, it is quite common to hear the theme from "The Great Escape" at football grounds with no words.
The most obvious thing that I can think of which should replace "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. Oi, Oi, Oi" is the music of Route 1 from Pokemon Red/Blue . It's very easy to learn, has no words, and can be sung continuously for a very long time.
I'm still singing it now!