Every A-League Men club’s pre-match song ranked

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It is perhaps the most underrated factor in setting the stage for each and every club’s home matches, but now it is time to break down the A-League Men clubs who try and best use the pre-match song to their advantage.

Ah, the pre-match song. It is one that can both unite and divide fans, and for clubs in the A-League Men, there is no exception to this rule.

Evidently drawing from other sporting leagues around the country as well as abroad, most ALM clubs have gone about creating a long-standing tradition of a playing a set tune at each home game to liven the crowd and players before kick-off. That being said, however, some songs work better than others.

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In this case, rather than being a purely subjective ranking of the quality of each of the songs, this list will factor in the tone that each song sets at each club’s designated stadium as well as its originality and relevance to the game, and most importantly, the reception to the song from fans week in and week out.

10. Perth Glory – “Perth Glory Anthem” by Steve Armstrong

Based on the “Glory Glory” terrace chant most associated with Manchester United, the only team-specific tune in this list still rings out at each A-League Men’s encounter at HBF Park.

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However, due to the rough vocal performance and low production value on this recording, as well as accounting for the fact that it has been played at every Glory home game for well over a decade, the tiresome track ultimately fails to excite the Western Australian crowd to this day.

As a result of the run of classics which succeed this theme, and based on the fact that many Glory fans would only enjoy this song ironically, it should come as no surprise that this “anthem” limps to last position on this list.

9. Newcastle Jets – “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS

This 1980s pop rock treasure by national icons INXS has unsurprisingly become synonymous with sport in recent times. Being a massive worldwide hit upon initial release, the soaring ballad was recently named among the ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time’ by American publication Rolling Stone – cementing its legendary status well beyond the Australian music canon.

In this case, however, the awkwardness of reversing the song’s lyrical theme; from love to a rousing sporting anthem, is something that only 50,000 adoring Port Adelaide fans at Adelaide Oval could ultimately pull off.

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Comparatively, it is safe to say that the song does not stir quite the same reaction from Newcastle Jets’ more intimate home crowd at McDonald Jones Stadium.

8. Western Sydney Wanderers – “Back in Black” by AC/DC

One of the most instantly recognisable tracks in the history of popular music, this 1980 classic by Australian rockers AC/DC has been used in pretty much every context imaginable since its release; from sporting arenas around the globe to kids films such as The Muppets.

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Only recently adopted by Western Sydney Wanderers as their obligatory pre-match anthem, it is the combination of the track’s overuse in sport and popular culture as well as the fans’ neutral reaction to the song at Wanderland which ultimately pushes it down to eighth position on this list.

7. Brisbane Roar – “You’re the Voice” by John Farnham

Another recently embraced pre-match tone-setter, this beloved 1986 hit by John Farnham replaced “My Happiness” by Powderfinger, another Australian classic, as the tune played during Brisbane Roar’s fortnightly walk-out onto Moreton Daily Stadium.

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However, this rowdy sing-along falls just short of the top half of this list due to the its newfound association with the Queensland side, having not yet had the time to become truly embedded into the club’s culture. Given time, however, this very well may change, as Brisbane’s modest home crowd surely won’t be able to hold back for much longer once Farnham explodes into the chorus.

“You’re the voice, try and understand it
Make a noise and make it clear
Oh, whoa”

6. Macarthur FC – “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine

In just their second season in the A-League Men, Macarthur have already found their perfect pre-match exciter. One of the most celebrated songs of rap metal giants Rage Against the Machine, “Bulls on Parade” found a new audience in 2019 after Denzel Curry’s fiery rendition peaked at number five on that year’s Triple J Hottest 100.

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Despite lacking a certain sing-along quality, the league newcomers are awarded bonus points in this case for having a song title which matches the name of the team, as well as being original in their selection of a song which undoubtedly fires up the Campbelltown boys before each home game.

5. Western United – “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond

Western United are far from the first sporting club in the world to use this ever-enduring 1969 classic. Despite its long-term associations with both Carolina Panthers in the NFL and Boston Red Sox in the MLB, Sydney Swans fans grew so tired of the tune in 2017 that a petition to stop playing the song at their home games accumulated over 500 signatures.

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For Western United fans, on the other hand, “good times never seemed so good,” as the temptation to belt out the song’s unashamedly satisfying chorus along with Diamond’s signature croon is one that proves too good to resist on each and every home occasion.

4. Adelaide United – “Wonderwall” by Oasis

‘Anyway, here’s Wonderwall’ – a song with a reputation that precedes itself, the enduring popularity of the Britpop giants’ signature tune has meant that it has been near impossible to escape since its release in 1995.

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In this instance, the South Australian side loses points for originality, as the tune is already used by both songwriter Noel Gallagher’s beloved Manchester City as well as Minnesota United in the MLS. However, it is difficult to deny the sing-along quality which the song brings out in Reds fans at Coopers Stadium, as the uplifting anthem being played on a bright sunny afternoon in Adelaide can be truly breathtaking.

3. Melbourne City – “Happy Together” by The Turtles

Despite being about unrequited love, this 1967 hit works remarkably well as a pre-match anthem; so well in fact that the Victorian side have used it before each of their home matches over the last seven seasons.

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Whilst slightly lacking the sing-along quality of a “Wonderwall” or “Sweet Caroline”, the song’s meditative verses which give way to an exhilarating chorus perfectly compliment the pre-match atmosphere at AAMI Park, particularly when fans get to soak up the beautiful Melbourne skyline in the minutes leading up to kick-off.

2. Central Coast Mariners – “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty

A song which unearthed both the Mariners’ official hashtag and one of the most potent pre-match anthems in the league, Tom Petty’s 1989 hit has perfectly encapsulated the underdog spirt of the Gosford side and also carries a stirring sentiment attached to the club’s rough going in recent years.

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The singer’s death in 2017 has only served to add further emotional weight to the song as it rings out over Central Coast Stadium, with thousands of fans erupting into the irresistible chorus of “hey baby!”

1. Melbourne Victory – “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King

Despite the club’s use of the song being subject to ridicule over the years, the thousands of Victory fans singing “Stand by Me” at AAMI Park is admittedly the closest the A-League Men gets to a “You’ll Never Walk Alone” moment.

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Ben E. King’s gorgeous 1963 ballad, one of the most iconic songs of all time, was ultimately a perfect choice of song from the league’s second most successful club, due to its re-interpretation of the lyrics from love to a declaration of unity.

The emotional resonance in which the song takes on from the chorus of “darling, darling stand by me,” is only equalled by the Mariners in the ALM, and also bears the same show-stopping quality of Liverpool’s pre-match anthem to take out first place on this list.

The clubs that don’t have a pre-match song

Sydney FC – Whilst the Sky Blues have held true to their post-match tradition of playing the Queen classic “Bohemian Rhapsody” at each of their home games, the Sydneysiders still lack a designated pre-match anthem for their matches at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium and Leichhardt Oval. Contenders include Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr Blue Sky”, which plays each time the Sydney club begin their on-field warm-up, as well as “Right Here Right Now” by Fatboy Slim and “Lose Yourself” by Eminem, which have been heard slightly before the Sky Blues exited the tunnel in their last two league encounters at home.

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Wellington Phoenix – With the Nix’s forced relocation to Australia this season, it is unsurprising that with it, they too have lost a traditional pre-match anthem to play at their ‘home’ games at WIN Stadium. Back home in New Zealand, the Phoenix used to walk out to Chicago Bulls’ theme “Sirius” by The Alan Parsons Project; an interlude to the 1982 hit “Eye in the Sky”. Before Wellington’s recent 2-1 win over Western United, however, Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” was played in the moments leading up to kick-off.

Feature Image Credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Jimmy Alexander
Covering Sydney FC for the 2021/22 A-League season. Studying a Bachelor of Sports Media (Journalism) at Charles Sturt University.

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