Fans' View

Fans’ View: Invention, the Antidote to Stupidity

Photo: Earl Gardner

There’s been a righteous push over the last year for fans and teams to lead the way in killing off the well-known goal-kick expletive that echoes whenever a Mexican team plays.

While the homophobic slur has crept into MLS usage, the slightly less offensive, MLS-entrenched YSA chant is held in similarly low regard. Most of the measures that have been proposed to deal with offensive chants, while well-intentioned, are hammers in search of a nail. They take the Debbie Downer “policy or penalty” approach.

But you can’t legislate these things out of existence because, if you did, you’d have to eject entire sections for chanting “Hey ref, suck my balls,” or for singing the X-rated version of “No One Likes Us.”

There is a much better approach and my brothers, sisters and erstwhile nieces, nephews and grandkids in the Sons of Ben are uniquely positioned to set a national, MLS-wide trend: Tactical Chants that accomplish a purpose.

True story:  Cliff of Union Despair/Union Bible/Darth Harvey, his brother and I were once at a minor league baseball game, sitting behind home plate, and we took it upon ourselves to render a visiting team’s batter impotent. At first, when he came to bat, we would time a yell right after the pitcher released the ball and it seemed to work. Then we started getting creative with some well-crafted jibes. Finally, as he comes to bat in the 9th inning with 2 out and the tying run on base, CUD/UB/DH and his brother started singing out: “We’re dancing around in your head.” With the count 3 & 2, I shouted out “Last Pitch.” It was game over. Poor sap never had a chance.

Now consider the homophobic or YSA slurs. What do they accomplish?  Do you think that anyone on the field, much less the opposing goalkeeper is hurt, or offended, or distracted or disrupted in the action of sending a goalkick downfield?

It’s a waste of verbal energy. The mawkish bellow might satisfy some primal urge of the semi-inebriated to denigrate someone’s personhood. But from a tactical sense, it’s just plain stupid. Heck, it’s even expected.

Instead, a well-timed, percussive bellow (think Icelandic), universally issued two steps before a GK or Corner Kicker strikes the ball, especially from the River End, might distract the kicker enough to throw him off. Or, instead of YSA, everyone could yell “LOOK OUT!!!” just before the GK kicks. Capos could easily coordinate the yell.

Or maybe a rhythmic, subliminal chant as the kicker prepares to address the ball:

“You’re gonna miss the ball, you’re gonna miss the ball, You’ll slip and fall and have to crawl. You’re gonna to miss the ball.”

You could even alternate all three tactical yells, chants, or add more for variety.

Or instead of booing the corner kicker, which everybody does and all opposing teams expect, get the whole River End laughing derisively.

Do the unexpected, the original. Be purposeful and tactical. Dance around in our opponents’ heads. With enough of these verbal tactics at the ready, profanity will be unnecessary, if not wholly eliminated.

The SOB’s can take the lead and show everyone how supporters can make a tactical difference during the game. SOB Capos: Take after our patron Ben – be inventive and tactical.

Author’s note: This article was written before the Union’s recent run of subpar form. It should be noted that the YSA chant has been almost inaudible at Talen so far this year, and that speaks well of the fans here. And the SOB capos labored mightily to rally the River End last Saturday, against all odds and reason. Kudos to them. Consider the ideas herein as tactics to be leveraged when the U become more worthy of their supporters’ ardor.


  1. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    Wishful thinking at best. Teams can feel energy, I doubt opposing or home players are actually influenced by specific chants/sayings/etc. Merely used to infuse the fans energy which the players feed off of. That being said, I agree wholeheartedly that YSA and the P@#$ chants have no place.

  2. I always loved you suck asshole. It is simple elegant and can be said day a couple thousand drunken dumbasses with relative ease.
    It is a distillation of a crowd insult in its purest form.
    You Suck. (Professional insult)
    Asshole. (Personal insult)
    It often helps that these things are often true about the person they are directed at.
    I also find it hard to hate Hey ref suck in my balls as I was there when the chant was first used it was at the time and still is the only organic chant that has ever started in the river end that has stuck.
    We should use you got what I need more because nobody beats the Biz. Scientific fact.
    That being said the river end has always housed a certain class of edgelord who will say dumbass ass shit from the safety and anonymity of a large crowd. (Apart from this season where there are no large crowds)

    • River End was there in reasonable force for both Toronto and Portland. Weren’t sitting on the TIFO poles , but most of the seats were full.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Sitting at midfield, River End definitely sounded quieter than in years past (or my hearing could just be going).

  3. As a denizen of Section 138; and a member of the SoB, and only speaking for myself (i.e. in no official capacity)….
    The YSA chant is not one of my favorites. It is also not something that happens every time, it mainly starts after the fans get frustrated by the Union’s play.
    Also, while we are supporters, and an easy target, let’s not place too much blame on the SoB for the atmosphere at Talen. We stand every game. We attend every game (rain, shine, sleet, thunderstorms) and try our best to sing, dance, and cheer.
    But…FFS…the team hasn’t won a game since August 27. I don’t want to do the analysis of how many leads have been blown, how many late and/or easy goals have been let in, how many trips into the box that end up not with a shot, but with a series of passes that ends up at Blake’s feet.
    It. Hurts. It is demoralizing for us. We are just as passionate about losing as we are about winning.
    So, I’d just ask that people stop blaming the SoB for the lack of atmosphere at Talen. We are victims just the same as everyone else. We just can’t sit.

  4. I don’t blame the SoB for the atmosphere, but why oh why do we have to steal other teams chants/songs. That seems so lame to me.

    • There are a finite number of catchy rhythms available in any language, a very large number but still finite.

      • Fair enough, but do we have to steal everything we do?

      • Was at the Portland game, and for the first time ever heard the “When the Saints/Spurs going marching in” turned into “blue and gold go marching in”. Using the Millwall “No One Likes Us” was a prefect one to borrow/steal, fits Philly and don’t think anyone else was using it. But this one felt so lame and forced my friends and I couldn’t bring ourselves to join in. To be honest, we cringed. SOBs doing the best they can in current environment, but toss that one out guys.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Blue and Gold Go Marching In has been there as long as I can remember. No one likes us is one of my personal favorites along with Come on Union Score a Goal.

  5. I applaud the wisdom of the headline.
    I rolled on the floor laughing at some of the descriptive assumptions.

    I needed that. Thank you.

  6. I think the YSA is just fun to do. Which means it’s unlikely to go away.

    I doubt anyone believes it’s going to put anyone off or get in a goalie’s head. The only abuse that’s going to get into a player’s head is from his own fans.

  7. i’m both up for more creativity and have no ish with YSA. indeed nobody does beat the biz.

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