Fans have always had tongue-in-cheek songs for players that were not A-list, or Category A to use a pricing theme.
Willie! Willie! - for Willie Young
Whoops a daisy it’s Martin Hayes-ee! (I’d like to know who started that one!)
But the Perry Groves World is one that took off, and its popularity remains today, being sung at both home and away games on a regular basis.
So where and when did it emerge? All can be revealed!
"We debuted the Perry Groves song in the pub as the drink and champagne flowed! It went down a treat. We continued on the celebrations the following Saturday when we had the championship presentation after hammering Coventry 6-1. We sang the song in more pubs and heard the song echoed elsewhere!"
I’ll take you back to the 1980s and the English club ban from Europe following Heysel. The current 20-somethings are blessed with the European away trips every year while the 20-somethings of the mid-80s had that door slammed shut in our faces.
Others looked to Celtic or Rangers as an outlet for their wanderlust! For some of my Arsenal mates and myself, we of the London Irish parish of the broad Arsenal church did Ireland away trips in Europe during the interlull!
For those who have donned the international cap, a degree of decorum is required when meeting your fellow country fans because they are not all Arsenal! But what tended to happen is that you left your club allegiances at the bar door and shared the commonality of away trips, away grounds, policing etc.
We got on well with a number of Cockney Reds of Irish descent! Shock horror now regarding fraternising with Man United fans, but the Man United of the late-80s was not the one of today!
These were good lads, proper football fans. They knew their football history and called our North Bank the Laundry End! (They were right!)
At the end of an evening's drinking a few club songs would break the general neutral détente! But nothing too controversial! We sang in praise of the AFC and they matched this with a singalong of “we all live in a Georgie Best World!”. It was based on the Beatles' Yellow Submarine, released in the 1960s.
Man United fans went through the numbers, but when it came to No 7, they sang in praise of their captain Bryan Robson!
The song was a catchy and uplifting football song. My mate (who shall remain nameless), in an inspired, drink-fuelled moment of clarity, thought of an Arsenal response.
Perry Groves was an Arsenal fan who gave his all. As a player, Groves was never going to be a Georgie Best in terms of ability, but more than a Best in terms of loyalty, so his name was sung in response! We sang it in fake Manchester accents and we were of the vintage that Liam Brady just had to be No 7!
The song was a hit in pubs on the Ireland away trips. But it took until May 1991 for the song to debut when we were in the Bank Of Friendship on the day that Liverpool got beaten by Nottingham Forest to give us the league title before we played Man United later that evening.
We debuted the Perry Groves song in the pub as the drink and champagne flowed! It went down a treat. We continued on the celebrations the following Saturday when we had the championship presentation after hammering Coventry 6-1. We sang the song in more pubs and heard the song echoed elsewhere!
Songs are often established on away trips. I have read before that the song was heard first at a match at Austria Vienna away in the European Cup the following autumn. Possibly - the song was on the fans' sing list by then and none of my gang were in Vienna.
I heard it first at a match at the away game after our FA Cup disaster at Wrexham. We were at QPR away, Perry was warming up on the touchline and our away support sung Perry Groves World!
The song is still sung today, although the “Liam Brady No 7″ is forgotten by the present generation, rather like the old Sicilian guy in The Godfather 2 trying to get a young wedding band to remember an old Sicilian tune!
As an aside to my older ears, all football songs are now sung too fast or, in the case of the new Flamini song, an out-of-tune Mrs Robinson!
All together now...!
Number 1 is Perry Groves!
Number 2 is Perry Groves!
Number 3 is Perry Groves!
Number 4 is Perry Groves!
Number 5 is Perry Groves!
Number 6 is Perry Groves!
Number 7 is Liam Brady!
Number 8 is Perry Groves!
Number 9 is Perry Groves!
Number 10 is Perry Groves!
Number 11 is Perry Groves!
Number 12 is Perry Groves!
We all live in a Perry Groves World, a Perry Groves world, a Perry Groves world!