In a foregone era of football, clubs used to actually record songs when they reached the FA Cup final or had any other major achievement that was worthy of a single. United have had 13 official singles and EP’s released, spanning from Edric Connor’s United calypso in 1957 to an Oasis-Esque Britpop song about the treble in 1999.
There’s a number of reasons football clubs tend not to release songs anymore. Most of the time, they were really bad and weren’t very good and also clubs don’t need the money. In the ’70s/’80s, the revenue that clubs received from ITV and the BBC for showing matches was minuscule compared to what Sky now pay for football. Therefore, we saw a decline in clubs making creative ways to generate revenue. Pendants, rattles and club-branded energy drinks (search United Cola) have now sadly become relics of a different era.
That’s not to say we can’t remember them though. Club songs were a large part of the build-up to a final that was one of the only games shown on TV throughout the football calendar. The FA Cup final used to be the biggest sporting event of the year in the UK. That’s why I’ve trawled through every song United have ever released that I can actually listen to and ranked them, 10-1. (You’re just as sad for reading this)
10 – We’re gonna do it again – Manchester United featuring Stryker. (1995)
This is comfortably the worst song on this list. Don’t listen to it, it’s abysmal. Released before the 1995 FA Cup final between United and Everton, this manages to be more forgettable than the match was itself. Rapper Stryker takes the lead vocals on this one and when he isn’t rhyming tree and victory, he’s obnoxiously shouting ‘here we go, here we go,’ in the background for most of the song. Imagine a really bad dance song mixed in with some random football cliches and this is what you get. Somehow this peaked at No.15 in the charts. I don’t know why anyone would buy this. It’s hideous.
9 – It’s Man. United – Tracey Malone (1991)
This was released to coincide with United’s Cup Winners Cup final win over Barcelona and although the game itself was one of United’s most important matches in recent history, this song is extremely forgettable. It’s a cover of the Pointer Sisters’ song ‘I’m so excited’ released nine years prior, except the words are suited to fit United.
Unlike Stryker, you can see at least hear that Tracey sounds like she’s having fun replacing ‘squeeze you, please you, I just can’t get enough.’ with ‘We’ve got Fergie, Hughesy, Les Sealey he’s the best’. The only reason this isn’t last on this list is that it doesn’t have the insufferable ‘here we go, here we go,’ droning on in the background throughout the song. Still, I’d probably do something else for the 3:38 this is on for.
8 – Old Trafford Blues – Martin Buchan (1976)
This was the B-side to the more popular song that was creatively called ‘Manchester United’ before the 1976 FA Cup final against Southampton. It’s a strange concept as the former United defender Martin Buchan, just essentially takes the piss out of the whole squad over a blues piano.
“Here’s Alex Forsyth. He’s the one they call the ball boy’s friend. His crosses to the far-post, land up in the Stretford End”. It’s the type of thing that would cause riots at the Arndale Centre if Pogba decided to do the same thing today. It didn’t really work as United lost to Southampton in the final. It’s also four minutes long and the novelty soon wears off after a minute. Interesting concept mate. Probably not the best time do it just before a cup final.
It didn’t chart, can’t say I’m surprised.
7 – Move Move Move (The Red Tribe) – The 1996 Manchester United squad
This was released before United’s FA Cup final against Liverpool in 1996. I didn’t need to tell you that because just from watching the video you could tell it was 1996 based on the hairstyles, techno-pop and the hi-hat beat in the background. It’s dated a lot. It’s actually listenable though and is quite catchy compared to Stryker’s effort the year before. I doubt the United players were particularly bothered about some of the dubious lyrics after Eric Cantona managed to volley home through a sea of about 46 Liverpool players to pick up the trophy. It’s very much of its time. I’ll give it that.
6 – United, Manchester United – The 1972 Manchester United squad
This is brilliant. It’s the type of thing you’d hear at the end of a strange French film. The slightly patronising lyrics, “We’ve been through dark and stormy weather but always been each other’s friend”, the horns at the start and the flute make it so innocent and pure to listen to. Released for the start of the 1972/73 season after several mid-table finishes in the years prior, the United squad of the day thank supporters for ‘cheering us along, which is why we’re so strong’.
5 – Lift It High (All About Belief) – The 1999 Manchester United squad
Once you get past how much of an Oasis rip-off this is, This is a good song. Genuinely. The black and white shots of the players, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Dwight Yorke and Jaap Stam all sharing a microphone together in some strange alternate universe where they’re in a famous boyband and the lyrics of ‘If you believe in us, we won’t betray that trust’ to some swooping guitars make it really good.
A peak position of 11 in the charts is a decent return for a song that spoke all about belief, days before what happened in Barcelona.
4 – Glory, Glory, Man. United – The 1983 Manchester United squad
This is the most popular song on this list. If you’ve ever been to Old Trafford, you’ve probably heard this being blasted through the tannoy speakers at half-time before United randomly decided to change it to include some random part in the middle and a stupid guitar at the beginning. United fans have a strange relationship with it though, the only version I’ve heard of it sung on the terraces is the ironic one that has different lyrics. It’s also been ruined a bit after a certain Chilean played it on a piano…
Although this song might be neglected on the terraces, it is still part of the Old Trafford soundtrack alongside This is the One and that song the players used to run out to that sounded like Rocky but wasn’t that no one knows the name of.
This particular version was released before the 1983 FA Cup Final in which United beat Brighton in a replay and it reached thirteen in the charts.
3 – We all follow Man. United – The 1985 Manchester United squad
‘We all follow Man. United, we’re all going to Wembeeerleeeey’
United’s Cup final song from 1985 is still sung today around Old Trafford. Released before the game that made Norman Whiteside a god amongst a certain generation of United fans, We all follow Man. United has stood the test of time as football songs go. A number 10 position in the charts is a good return for a song that has provided many drunk singalongs on coaches back from Semi-finals.
2 – Come on you Reds – The Manchester United 1994 Squad and Status Quo.
United had switched things around from nine years prior with the ultimate football and music crossover. The Stone Roses? No. New Order? No. Happy Mondays? No. Spurs fans and dad rock legends, Status Quo? Absolutely yes. It created one of the best music and football crossovers of all time.
The soon to be double winners kick off this anthem with an ode to the Busby Babes, “Busby Babes they always make me cry. Thinking ’bout the teams of times gone by.” Then we’re onto the cliche of naming the squad, which is done well at a good pace and as that builds up to a crescendo of “Robson, Kanchelskis and Giggs”, we’re onto the chorus of “C’mon you reds, C’mon you reds, just keep your bottle and use your heads, for 90 minutes we’ll let them know it’s Man. United here we go”.
This is the only football song to reach number one in the UK charts and there’s a good reason for that. It’s proper catchy.
Edric Connor – Manchester United Calypso (1957)
This is the ultimate United song. Released in the build-up to the 1957 FA Cup final between United and Villa after a 16-year-old sent it into a newspaper competition and Caribbean singer, Edric Connor recorded it. The United Calypso is the perfect ode to the Busby Babes. Connor sums up the free-flowing and attacking football United played at the time with his swagger and fun lyrics in the song. “Now, football is a pleasant game, Played in the sun, played in the rain, And the team that gets me excited, Is Manchester United.”
There is a tinge of sadness to this however as eight of the players that Connor speaks so highly of unfortunately couldn’t live up to their potentials after what tragically happened a year later in Munich. It’s still sung by United fans like other songs on this list to this day, but just 3 million times faster than it is on the actual record.