There’s been a significant amount of backlash over a song the England fans sung last night, a song we at Lincoln have adopted as our own. I refer of course to the ‘ten German bombers’ song that has been heard this season at Sincil Bank.
I know this may not be a popular opinion, but I for one do not like the song. Before I start I ought to point out I am hypocritical as I joined in with it at Burnley, but on reflection I wish I hadn’t. It is easy to get caught up in a moment when you’re drunk and have watched your team beat a Premier League side, but since singing it I haven’t really be happy with myself.
I am afraid to say there is an element of casual racism in the song, something that has been all-but stamped out at football grounds across the country. I’ve heard an argument that we sing it as a tribute to the 617 squadron, something that seems a little nonsensical as the 617 were in fact bombers themselves. They didn’t shoot down German bombers, and if I’m being picky we weren’t attacked by German bombers in the war anyway, we were attacked by Nazi bombers.
I’m not sure as a country, or indeed as a club, we need to still be celebrating a war that took place over seventy years ago. As a nation Germany are ashamed of their Nazi past, and they lost a lot of young men who were fighting for a forced ideology. I’m not ignoring the Second World War, nor am I looking to diminish the role our county played in it. I do feel though that the wording could be construed as offensive, and I’d wager many of those involved in the war wouldn’t feel we are honouring them by singing it.
It was in a pub in Barnet that I really began to feel the song wasn’t right for us or our achievements. Yes we were ‘bomber county’, yes we won a war seven decades ago and yes we should be proud of what our men and women achieved all those years ago. However, the world has moved on, Nazi-ism has been eradicated from mainstream politics and frankly to turn that terrible time into some sort of celebration is plain wrong. Singing it in Germany is another level of offensive, but even belting it out at Sincil Bank is poor form. When I heard it in the pub before Arsenal I cringed, I even discussed with another fan how it wasn’t our best chant.
When I heard it in the Emirates I was a touch ashamed. It may have escaped many people’s notice, but Mesut Ozil is a German man, and had Germany won the war he absolutely would not be playing for them today. The chant singles out on nation’s sinister and long-despised history and tries to use it as some sort of point of reference for our own achievements. The Battle of Britain is not something we should be using against Germany today, because the Germany of today is not the same as that of 1939 to 1945. The song itself has no relevance, it is not a celebration of our culture, it is a celebration of a dark and troubling time in the world.
As a club we have many great songs that celebrate the good things about our club and our City. I love the Dambusters theme tune because it does celebrate the achievements of our ancestors. When we sing the Dambusters and have our arms in the air it is not a symbol of xenophobia towards Germany, it signifies the march of Lincoln both on the field and of course from the past. That celebrates our culture in the correct manner, the other song does not.
I hope the media furore makes our wonderfully vocal fans think twice about the using the song in future. There is no need to have something controversial on the ‘play list’ when we have so many great chants and songs that do celebrate our culture and our city. Why do we need to mention a nationality in this context? Why do we need to pay homage to tragic events that lead to losses of life on both sides? Why do we feel that a victory in a major war is something we should be reminding people of in such a crass way? Is drunkenly belting out anti-German songs at a Football Ground really the way to pay tribute to the brave people who helped secure our liberty?
Forest Green are our opponents on Saturday in front of the TV cameras. The stakes could not be higher, and every time we have had the television people at our ground we have done ourselves proud. If we choose to sing the German Bombers song this weekend it will be broadcast across the country, and the national spotlight could fall upon us for the wrong reasons. Remember, FGR have a German striker by the name of Omar Bugiel which (in my opinion) makes the song an absolute no-go this weekend. As Lincoln City Football club we’ve done our city proud on and off the pitch this season. We can celebrate our 617 culture by doing the Dambusters song, but please don’t sully the memory of our fallen heroes by mocking the country that they essentially fought to save from fascism.