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Grand Old Team

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Does anyone know the origins of the Grand Old Team song? It certainly goes back a long way as the first time I heard it was, aged 15, in 1966 waiting for the coach to Wembley.

Our pick up point was Scotland Road for some reason and we were all standing around about midnight waiting to get on board. Four or five well oiled old guys (well, they seemed old then to me ? probably only about 40!) had their arms around each other dancing and singing the song which I'd never heard sung at the match at all.

As far as I know Celtic are the only other Club who sing it so I wondered if the song was of Irish origin at all. Everton used to have massive support in the Scotland Road area and there was a big Irish connection there for sure so maybe it was sung in the pubs down "Scottie" way.

Anyone else got any ideas or heard the song further back in time than I did.
Howard Don, Ormskirk     Posted 06/05/2009 at 15:40:23

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Dennis Stevens
1   Posted 06/05/2009 at 21:22:16

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Spurs also do a version, somewhat chas’n’dave style!
Chris Jones
2   Posted 06/05/2009 at 21:35:53

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Some time ago the same question arose on this site and it was suggested the origin was ?With A Cat Like Tread? from Gilbert and Sullivan?s ?Pirates of Penzance?. I??m not entirely convinced, but the melody/chorus are not a million miles apart.
Denis Byrne
3   Posted 06/05/2009 at 21:50:50

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Went to see Celtic at Fulham pre season and they had version with no naughty words ... very polite those Glaswegians. Also, it's a a big Birmingham City anthem and has been for years. My ?Blues? mate at Uni (Percy Powell) used to belt it out after a several tankards of fine Welsh mead. So, anwser to your question Howard ... I don?t know.
Kevin Hudson
4   Posted 06/05/2009 at 22:14:36

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Google the phrase "The Celtic Song", as Wikipedia claims that it stems from a diity written in 1879. That may well be the genesis of the song, but unfortunately, I don?t know my "history" well enough to confirm....
Pat Domingo
5   Posted 06/05/2009 at 22:21:33

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Possibly because Everton fans evident fondness for Celtic, with the blues being the "Catholic" club? Even though it?s a touchy subject on Merseyside. I expect lots of ill-informed abuse as a response...
Dave Marsdon
6   Posted 06/05/2009 at 22:36:23

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Its because it has been proven time and time again that the catholic connection is a myth. I think you’re the ill-informed one if you still don’t realise that.
Rob Sawyer
7   Posted 06/05/2009 at 23:33:48

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I’m sure we have had a similar thread somewhere before and someone contended that the song originated with a Northern Irish club before crossing to Glasgow and thence to Spurs and us......
Tony Waring
8   Posted 07/05/2009 at 08:51:26

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Quite right Dave. The catholic connection is a myth based primarily I think on the fact that post war (2nd) we had several players from Ireland - Shamrock Rovers I think - namely Farrell, Eglinton and later McNamara. It’s funny however that folks outside Merseyside seem to think it is factual. I always have to explain it and I guess "foreigners" usually are thinking of the fact that at one time we used to have Orange Lodge parades on 12th July, so everyone used to assume that this translated to both clubs. Sems we’ll just have to gon on explaining things.
Howard Don
9   Posted 07/05/2009 at 08:48:45

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Pat. As we all know EFC was founded as St. Domingo?s, for people from the Parish of that Methodist Church, actually the cricket team came first with the football team being founded to give them a Winter outlet.

It?s also true that a lot of Everton?s support came from the Scotland Road area with it?s high levels of people of Irish immigrant stock, who were more likely to be Catholic.

Surely the above, if it proves anything, shows that EFC support is just what the population of Liverpool is or was, ie a mixed bag from all communities and strata of society.

Long may it continue.
Davie Carns
10   Posted 07/05/2009 at 09:49:18

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Well done Pat. Why does one ?ill-informed? idiot always have to throw the Catholic connection in there. As Howard quite rightly pointed out we were formed by a Methodist Church so heaven knows (excuse the pun) why this Catholic nonsense keeps popping up. As for the song, I?ve been told many times it is an old jypsy song.
Marcus Dawson
11   Posted 07/05/2009 at 10:04:39

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There was a feature on Talksport the other day about the origins of football songs, it was interesting to hear that a Celtic fan claimed to be the first to Grand Old Team and YNWA.
Mark Murphy
12   Posted 07/05/2009 at 10:17:44

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"I guess 'foreigners' usually are thinking of the fact that at one time we used to have Orange Lodge parades on 12th July, so everyone used to assume that this translated to both clubs."

Eh? The Orange Lodge were proddies! Hows that work?I always 'assumed' we were the Catholic club but that's all long past now with the dilution of religion in society.

That aside though, the old Celtic-Rangers chants in the Glwadys St were always predominantly Celtic in the 70s and early 80s and I remember a very irate and aggressive Celtic Evertonian taking on a group of blues on the top deck of the Lime St bus for chanting for Rangers before a derby and telling them to join their proddy red mates on the other bus!

Derek Turnbull
13   Posted 07/05/2009 at 12:08:15

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For all the Celtic links people say did we ever have a version of the Soldier Song?

Am I right in saying we used to sing something to The Sash?
Heath Pearson
14   Posted 07/05/2009 at 13:18:58

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Look you lot, EFC has been and always will be a proud Neo-pagan Wicca club. Does nobody remember the great songs from the 50s about the Horned God and the Triple Goddess? If you know yer history, my arse ... READ A BOOK!
Dave Wilson
15   Posted 07/05/2009 at 13:32:16

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You're right, I can rememberin the sixties when the "arl fellas" would tumble out of places like the The Throstles, The Widows, The Parrot, singing this song. In those days, most of the kids living on Scottie had Irish parents or grand parents so I wouldn't rule an Irish origin.

Scottie Rd was a predominantly Catholic area, but just like everywhere else in the city there was a Red for Every blue. Religion didn't come into it, never did, we kinda left that to the Glaswegians...

Phil Bellis
16   Posted 07/05/2009 at 13:49:20

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Hi Derek, this was sung to ’the Sash’ , following ’66

It was on a Saturday afternoon
In the merry month of May
That we all went to Wemb-er-ley
To see the Toffees play

There was Alex Young and Gabriel
And we played in Roy-al Blue
And Mike and Derek scored the goals
As we beat Sheffield three two

Oh we gave the Wednesday 2 goals start
And then we opened up
And with 3 glorious, golden goals
We won the FA Cup

When the boys went up for the trophy
The sun was shining fine
It was the 3rd time that we’d won the Cup

When Brian went up to receive the Cup
The sun was shining bright
And Margaret said in a voice so clear
’It was better than last year’s sh....
ine on, shine on harvest moon..’

Happy days!
Gerry Allen
17   Posted 07/05/2009 at 14:22:51

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Dear All,

Lest we forget: Everton FC = Liverpool FC. The same crowd of people from a range of cultural backgrounds who fell out and became two clubs. I seem to remember an excellent article on Toffeeweb from a year ago that suggested the origin of the split was support for temperance and non-temperance political parties. Hardly sectarian.

As long-lost brothers our clubs have grown apart. Of course, in religious terms this is because we know they worship the devil (explain Istanbul otherwise) whilst we are god-fearing, honest, lovely people.
EJ Ruane
18   Posted 07/05/2009 at 15:51:54

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Maybe it was sung in the 60’s, but as someone who went home and away through the 70’s and 80’s, I can honestly say I never heard ’grand old team’ sung by Evertonians until a few years back.

I remember my (Irish) mother had a LP of Celtic FC songs in ours and it was on there.

I remembered this LP when Everton adopted (re-adopted?) the song because on the Celtic version the words were "It’s enough to make your heart "GLO-OOOH-OOH-OH" (ie: glow) which from a lyricists point of view, makes much more sense than ’makes your heart GO’.

Consequently, our version has always made me thing the Celtic version was misheard but copied.

The Celtic version my mam had, finished "We don’t care if we win lose or draw, what the hell do we care. For we always know, that there’s gonna be a show and the Glasgow Celtic.." etc

One song that WAS sung at every game in the 70’s was ’When you’re smiling’ and it always ended (for reasons that remain a a mystery) "The whole word smiles with you - without yer kecks on - the whole word smiles with yo-ouuuu"

I think Grand Old Team is new to us, but the title makes it seem old.

Oh, I’ve just remembered another lyric from that Celtic album.

Cue drunk sounding feller and accordian..


Mark Murphy
19   Posted 07/05/2009 at 16:48:02

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E J, Ruane,

"Roll over Mabel...." usually followed!

Like you ? home and away in the seventies and never ever heard that song!
Tony Waring
20   Posted 07/05/2009 at 16:55:04

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Sorry, Mark, I mentioned the Lodge to intimate that some folks assumed that the other lot were the prods and we were the catlics! Over elaboration on my part... like some of the wingers we?ve had over the years!
Derek Turnbull
21   Posted 07/05/2009 at 18:41:38

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Hi Phil Bellis, re the Sash. I’ve actually seen a version of song written down although for some reason I was thinking it was to Sean South although I’ve never heard it sung?

Also I must have seen about 2 or 3 different versions to that song as well, in particular one that started with ’It was on a Dirty Saturday’ and was about Liverpool’s 65 Cup Final and that section ended with Ian St John being hung from a big tree before going into a version similar but shorter version to yours?
Dave Wilson
22   Posted 07/05/2009 at 18:57:49

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I asked a guy in our Paisley office, he says his dad sang it in the European cup final 67
Nick Lees
23   Posted 07/05/2009 at 19:45:24

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Has been sung since time began by Hibernian up in Edinburgh. When first sung Glasgow only had Rangers ? a then non-sectarian team. A number of committee men from Hibs went over to Glasgow and formed Celtic who took support from the large Irish Catholic population, causing the secterianism we have up there today.
Glen Strachan
24   Posted 07/05/2009 at 19:51:07

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We almost certainly did pinch that song from a man called Bartholomew Dick who under his stage name of Glen Daly was very popular on the stage in Glasgow music halls in the 1950s and 60s.

Glen was the product of ?mixed Catholic/Protestant? parentage and ridiculous as it sounds he actually went to the local Catholic school in Glasgow and then to the nearby Protestant school ? week about for his early education ? such as it was.

He started a long and distinguished career in the ?halls? as a singer and like Billy Connolly much later he would become better known as a comedian.

Daly appealed to the mainly Catholic audiences in similar fashion to Lex McLean who appealed to the Protestant theatre patrons.

In 1961 Glen released a very highly successful version of what he called ?the Celtic song?.

The tune was described as ?traditional? and the lyric attributed to Liam Malloy ? probably Malloy was, in fact, Barty himself.

The reason for that could be that he maybe got that lyric from a man called Mick McLaughlin who possibly heard a very similar version on an American record from the first world war years.

That record was made by Irving Kaufman ? a Jewish comedian/singer of that period.

If the pop charts had been compiled in a different way, Daly certainly would have had a top ten hit record in 1961 for several weeks but since the chart then was a compilation of figures sent in by several cities and Daly sold his singles mostly in Glasgow he had to be content with making a small fortune out of this project and as he was a Celtic supporter himself, he had the pleasure of hearing his record played at home games as the teams came on the field up to and beyond his death in the 1970s.

The Celtic fans immediately adopted that song in 1961 and predictably the Rangers supporters composed their own version of the song called, ?Hail, Hail the Pope?s in Jail etc etc.?

I do not recall hearing the song at Goodison until fairly recent times.

Good song though... grand man, Barty Dick!!
Ian Martin
25   Posted 10/05/2009 at 19:59:57

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I still hate Celtic.

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