Whitehawk F.C. is one shining example of why football and music will forever be linked. Down at Whitehawk’s stadium we see for ourselves the common-ground between music and football despite, in recent years, the two seemingly diverging.
Music has always been innermost in the psyche of the football fan. Whether in the fashion, psyche or linguistics; neither music or football can be said to be individualistic and untrammelled platforms. Traditionally music and football are co-dependent and both are two forms of youthful exuberance. A breadth of writings has looked into this. Citizen Smith, Awaydays, And Did Those Feet and The Beautiful Game all enquire upon music’s role within the fan base of football. The often romantic explorations of authors find common ground with the spirited admissions of some of our most cherished musicians. Johnny Marr, Sir Elton John, Stephen Malkmus and even Brighton’s own; Architects, profess their love for the Saturday afternoon football tradition. Music is played in the grotty pre-match bars, played when your club wins and when, inevitably, they get walloped by their local rivals. Music is the soundtrack to football.
The fact is, and this is the point, music and football are often, for many, the only constant in people’s lives. Your friends may move, your family may breakdown and you may even not have a job. What you do have, however, is the pride of your local club and the passion of your favourite music. Both allow one to find his inner clown in a world where we are increasingly expected to act in a certain manner. They are both, by their nature, an escapism. An outlet for the frustrations of modern life to be vented out and forgotten about. From the singing of your club’s anthem; to screaming the chorus’ of your favourite bands. Indeed: Blue Moon, Deliah, Can’t Help Falling in Love, You’ll Never Walk Alone and Hey Jude are all anthemic examples of songs which are proudly sung in football stadiums.
Music and football too, on this note, suffer from similar contentions and problems. Both are becoming more gentrified. The best and the most grotty music venues are being closed down due to licensing issues. As are Non-League football clubs, for stadium failings and mismanagement. Music and football both are top down power structures; being run by the over-reaching and incredibly powerful bureaucratic institutions. Big record companies loom large in music and, of course in football’s case, UEFA and FIFA have a firm grip on the game.
Despite this, in modern times, the link between music and football has struggled to take off as anything other than a surreal and laughable joke. From the quad-annual arrival of England’s World Cup song; to the Manchester City tracksuits of an overcharged Noel Gallagher; to the Taio Cruz and Sam Smith songs which are played on the tannoy; to every other seemingly pitiful link between the two outlets.
People often laugh when one asserts his two combined passions are football and music. You are seen as dim. You are seen as a cliché. A love of either is fine; but the love of both does not have the recognition it deserves.
Cue: Whitehawk Football Club. A club which is in the sixth tier of English football and sits unassumingly between a children’s park and a caravan site. This may be the last place in which one might find sixty punks dancing to rocksteady, soul and punk music; but it is.
Whitehawk’s fan base are quickly trying to assert to members of the music community in Brighton and beyond that small clubs like Whitehawk are music’s natural sporting home. The fan base at the club is varied and eclectic but all have one common quality: the assertion that music is every bit as important to the club as football itself. That is why when you walk in you see leather jackets, parka coats and Rolling Stones badges.
Most heartfelt music – from the Velvet Underground, the Paragons and Fatboy Slim; is often founded on revolt. A colloquial middle finger to the powers at be not to stamp down on the common worker. It fits, therefore, that it isn’t so much a surprise that so many local musicians go down and watch the Hawks. Watching a small team like Whitehawk, by its nature, is a revolt. That is why, even more than football in general, small and community important clubs like Whitehawk have an everlasting link to music.