Torquay fans turn volume down on piped music

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Fans at Torquay United have persuaded the club to stop playing “celebratory” music after every goal “in an attempt to encourage even more of an atmosphere at Plainmoor”. Supporters were taken by surprise on Saturday when Elliot Benyon’s 11th minute opener was followed by the indie-pop strains of The Fratellis’ Chelsea Dagger.

If fans were to draw up a list of pet hates there’s little doubt that post-goal music, piped through a club’s loudspeakers, would be high on the list. Despite this a surprising number of clubs seem to think this is actually a great idea. After all, American sports do it – so what’s not to love? However, the overwhelming majority of fans think it’s a terrible idea.

“I hate the idea at grounds but couldn’t quite distinguish what it was,” said Hayden Jones of Torquay United Supporters’ Trust. “We all just looked at each other in bemusement and asked what’s that?” He wasn’t the only one judging by the response on Torquay message boards TorquayFans.com and TorquayFansForum.Proboards.com.

“A goal for your side is the culmination of the many emotions of watching football. If I'm at Plainmoor and music follows a goal it will ruin the experience for me. If the best part of a ‘matchday experience’ is ruined by this Americanised crap, then I don't want to be part of it,” argued UpminsterGull from TorquayFans.com. Well said that man.

So whose idea was it? “We regularly have a fans forum where the manager and chairman come together and it was mooted from the floor that we could play celebratory music,” explains the Gulls’ spokesman Darryl Haggan. “It was part of a wider strategy to get more people in alongside cheaper tickets [credit to Torquay, U19s can get in for as little as £6] and so on. I stood on the terraces myself when I was younger and knew it would go down with fans like a lead balloon.”

Much to Darryl’s surprise though the response from those at the open meeting wasn’t overwhelmingly negative and this seems to have encouraged the club’s hierarchy to pursue the idea. The fact that the idea stemmed from a supporters’ liaison meeting is pretty ironic and a salutary lesson in why fans should engage with their clubs when the opportunity arises. If you don’t, it could be your club next…

As Torquay don’t have an official anthem the choice of music was always going to be contentious – but how did they end up with The Fratellis’ Chelsea Dagger? Blame it on a simple twist of fate, as someone once said. Darryl Haggan picks up the story.

“I was told by someone a little higher up the chain than me to play the song from Sky Sports, I knew the one he meant but couldn’t remember who it was by or its name. I passed the message on to our PA guy but unfortunately he got it wrong and played Chelsea Dagger after we scored. I still don’t know what the song is actually called we meant to play!

“After the goal I wrote on a piece of paper and held it up against the glass for the PA guy to see saying “IT’S THE WRONG SONG!”. He was already almost hiding under his desk as he knew the fans wouldn’t like it but after that he hid a little more - I told him to shut the windows too!”

Credit to Darryl and Torquay United though, they received scores of emails from fans venting their anger, took the criticism on the chin and actually listened to supporters. Within days they’d posted a message on TorquayUnited.com acknowledging their mistake and have now suspended the playing of music.

Memo to clubs: let the atmosphere at a match speak for itself, turn the volume down on the pre-game MC and – whatever you do – never play post-goal piped music.

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