By now, almost every Philadelphia sports fan has heard Jason Kelce’s epic speech at the Super Bowl victory parade for the Philadelphia Eagles. If you haven’t heard it, then crawl out from under the rock you live under and check out the coverage of it (and everything else Eagles related) at our friends at Bleeding Green Nation, the SBNation Eagles site.
After the infamous “calling out” of all the people who doubted the Eagles, Kelce launched into a rendition of the “No One Likes Us” song that the Sons of Ben have adopted.
The “No One Lies Us, We Don’t Care” is originally a song sung by Millwall FC from South London. Millwall fans have a rather notorious reputation for a variety of reasons. They are perhaps the club most associated with the infamous football hooliganism and violence that plagued English football in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Numerous books and movies have been made featuring the “exploits” of Millwall supporters getting into fights with West Ham United fans, Chelsea fans, etc.
Millwall fans have embraced their notorious reputation and have embraced the dislike that they receive from fans from the rest of England. It’s why they sing that they “don’t care” that no one likes them. It’s part of their identity. Soccer clubs in England are more associated with a place where a person grows up and lives than it is in America, where fans of teams are often spread out through the entire nation. Millwall is more than just a club to their fans, it signifies where they live and grew up, the team that their fathers and grandfathers went and watched. There are 92 professional teams in the Premier League and in the Football League in England, but even beyond that there are hundreds more amateur and local teams for a nation of approximately 50 million people, compared to 32 NFL teams for a nation of over 300 million people.
That makes a mockery of OUR song. The fans of the eagles and the union have no clue about OUR song. They should never sing it ever again, their version is a disgrace— Christian Hamilton (@Millwallchris1) February 10, 2018
So Millwall fans feel upset at someone adopting “their” song, just like they would be upset at someone adopting their name or club badge or anything else associated with the club. But is that justified?
Soccer songs have borrowed from pop culture and each other for generations. Some of the most famous songs sung by English fans, Liverpool’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and West Ham United’s “Bubbles” were taken from popular songs and adopted for the terraces. Even new chants, such as West Ham’s ode to Dimitri Payet, have been adopted by other fans, such as West Ham rivals Tottenham Hotspur singing about their star player Dele Alli.
So while it’s unusual that someone would “borrow” a song from Millwall, after all no one likes them, it’s not exactly unheard of, and quite frankly, a little disingenuous for a song that is sung to the tune of Rod Stewart’s Sailing to be claimed by Millwall fans as their own and their own alone.
Sons of Ben’s Bill Gusler spoke with me about the Sons of Ben and the Philadelphia Union supporter groups adoption of the song.
Brotherly Game: How did the Sons of Ben come to start singing the “No One Likes Us” song?
Bill Gusler: A few years ago someone from the Corner Creeps brought it to the River End, and it spread from there.
TBG: Why do you think fans of Philadelphia sports identify so strongly with the sentiment that comes across in the song?
BG: I think it’s because when it comes to the City of Brotherly Love, and especially our sports, there’s no middle ground...You either love it with every bit of your existence, or you hate everything about it. And we can go to any bar and sit next to a complete stranger, but as long as they’re cheering on our team, you’re instantly connected.
TBG: How do you feel about some Millwall fans having a negative reaction to another fan base singing the song?
BG: I don’t care.
TBG: How do you feel about Jason Kelce singing the song during his speech at the Eagles Super Bowl victory parade?
BG: When I first heard it, I smiled and was ecstatic. His whole speech was epic.
TBG: Have the Sons of Ben received a lot of attention from groups outside of Philly because of the Kelce speech?
BG: A few groups gave us a shout out for bringing the song to Philly, including Preston and Steve from WMMR, so it’s cool to see that some people already knew the song and how it got here. We’re hoping it gets enough attention and reaches the Eagles and Jason Kelce so we can get them out to an SoB tailgate and Union match to help start the song with us.
So, whether the fans in South London like it or not, it appears that the “No One Likes Us” song is here to stay in Philadelphia. And if they don’t like it, well, it turns out just like them, we don’t care.