Why, why, why Delilah? Europe's signature tunes

As Borussia Dortmund prepare to welcome Liverpool in a You'll-Never-Walk-Alone-derby, UEFA.com discovers that plenty of unlikely songs have been adopted by fans of European clubs.

You'll Never Walk Alone will be ringing out from all four sides of the BVB Stadion as Borussia Dortmund take on Liverpool in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals, the two clubs having an anthem – as well as Jürgen Klopp – in common.

The mournful song from the 1945 musical Carousel was first adopted as a signature tune by Liverpool in the early 1960s and later spread to Celtic, Feyenoord, Dortmund and a wealth of other German and Dutch clubs, despite having nothing to do with football.

UEFA.com scours the continent for other songs that unexpectedly translated on to the terraces.

Rayo fans living La Vida Pirata
Rayo fans living La Vida Pirata©Getty Images

In Spain, most major clubs have their own bespoke 'himno' (anthem) which sings the praises of the team, but not all of them focus entirely on football. Rayo Vallecano's La Vida Pirata (The Pirate's Life) has remarkably little to say about the club. "Pirate life is the best life, with no work and no study, just a bottle of rum ... and in every port I have a woman, the blonde one is phenomenal, the brunette is not bad, the English ones are so serious, but the French ones give their all ..."

'Forgive me, Delilah, I just couldn't take any more'
'Forgive me, Delilah, I just couldn't take any more'©Getty Images

Supporters at England's stadiums pride themselves on reworking popular songs for the terraces, but some have survived unchanged. While songs celebrating local matters are everywhere (see Newcastle's The Blaydon Races), some are harder to explain. Everton fans adopted the theme to a 1960s cop series, Z-Cars, set in a fictional north-west town, as their anthem, while since the late 1980s Stoke fans have sung Delilah – Tom Jones's hysterical ballad about a man driven mad by jealousy who murders his wife.

Napoli fans pining for love
Napoli fans pining for love©Getty Images

Napoli may boast Italy's most celebrated terrace anthem, O surdato 'nnammurato (The Soldier In Love), a 1915 ballad about a World War One soldier pining for his beloved which remarkably became the club's signature tune while they were top of Serie A in 1975. Elsewhere, Roma sing Antonello Venditti's Grazie Roma (Thank You, Rome) and Lazio sing Lucio Battisti's I giardini di marzo (The Gardens Of March) – tributes to their writers, both lifelong fans of their respective clubs.

It smells good, it smells like Benfica
It smells good, it smells like Benfica©Getty Images

Club-specific songs are not so easy to find in Portugal, but fans of the big Lisbon teams, Benfica and Sporting CP, tend to wheel out a fado favourite when they are doing well – and especially when they are doing well against Porto or any other northern side. Cheira bem, cheira a Lisboa (It Smells Good, It Smells Like Lisbon) was made popular by Amália Rodrigues. Key lines include: "When it's cold, Lisbon has the scent of roasted chestnuts, when it's summer, it bears the scent of ripe fruit."

Mine forever: Lens fans in action
Mine forever: Lens fans in action©Getty Images

Lens's half-time tradition of singing Les Corons (The Settlements) is one of the most celebrated traditions in France. Pierre Bachelet's 1982 song is a mournful tribute to the local colliers ("In the north there were settlements, the land was coal, the sky was the horizon, the men were miners in the deep"). The song begins playing over the club's public address system as the second half begins, dropping out for fans to finish it unaccompanied. Nice, meanwhile, sing Nissa la bella (Beautiful Nice) before their games.

Dynamo Kyiv fans in Manchester
Dynamo Kyiv fans in Manchester©Getty Images

In Ukraine, one song fits all for football; Chervona Ruta (Red Rue) is commonly sung at emotional moments by fans. Volodymyr Ivasyuk's 1968 song is named after a mythical flower which was meant to bring a young girl happiness in love if she found it turning red. Rue flowers are yellow, but according to local legend, they turn red for a matter of a few minutes every Kupala Night (the night of 6/7 July). Sample football-unfriendly lyric: "Your beauty it is clear water, it is fast water, from blue mountains."

A favourite in Russia and a good number of former Soviet Republics is Razgovor so schastyem (A Talk With Happiness) – the theme song from 1973 Soviet sci-fi comedy Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future. More recently, fans have taken to another hit with no direct relevance to football: MakSim's 2005 hit Znaesh li ty? (Do you know?).

Iceland fans: hear their prayer
Iceland fans: hear their prayer©Getty Images

Terraces at UEFA EURO 2016 will resound to the sound of a gentle ballad about nature thanks to the power of a lost song in Iceland. In 2011, KR Reykjavík fans started singing an Icelandic reworking of Gigliola Cinquetti's 1964 Eurovision winner Non Ho L'Età (I'm Not Old Enough), rewritten by Ólafur Gaukur as Heyr mína bæn (Hear My Prayer). It swiftly took on a second life of its own, and is now sung by fans of all of the nations' national teams, with lyrics being supplied on special A4 sheets.

Celtic fans with some words of encouragement
Celtic fans with some words of encouragement©Getty Images

In Scotland, Celtic still sing You'll Never Walk Alone, while Depeche Mode's Just Can't Get Enough has been a Parkhead favourite since Neil Lennon was the club's manager. Over in Aberdeen, the Human League's Don't You Want Me is the song of choice. Falkirk sing Tony Christie's irrepressibly bouncy Is this the Way to Amarillo? while Dundee United have two established favourites: John Paul Young's discofied Love Is In The Air and Beautiful Sunday – a huge 1972 hit for Daniel Boone.

Johnny 'Mr Eurovision' Logan at Bohemians
Johnny 'Mr Eurovision' Logan at Bohemians©Getty Images

The Republic of Ireland has exciting traditions too. Fans of Dublin side Bohemians proudly belt out Johnny Logan's 1987 Eurovision winner Hold Me Now – though the singer and the song have no connection to the club, Logan has been called on to sing it at Dalymount Park on several occasions. Fans of Derry City, meanwhile, sing Teenage Kicks by local heroes the Undertones (the sleeve of their 1980 hit My Perfect Cousin features a Subbuteo player wearing a red-and-white striped Derry City shirt).

Bosnian fans have a penchant for the poetic
Bosnian fans have a penchant for the poetic©Fedja Krvavac

On to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where fans of the national team have long since sung Dino Merlin's Bosnom behar probeharao (Blossom Is Blooming in Bosnia), while fans of Sarajevo sing the capital's praises with Sarajevo ljubavi moja (Sarajevo, My Love) – as sung by local star Kemal Monteno in 1976. Fans' passion for the local standard was stoked by the fact that Monteno's father Osvaldo was a cleaner and kit man at the Kosevo Stadium, with his son spending large parts of his childhood watching the club train and play.

Other favourites
• Legia fans sing the praises of Poland's capital and dawn over the River Vistula in the form of Czesław Niemen's Sen o Warszawie (A Dream Of Warsaw).

Czech champions Viktoria Plzeň sing Karel Gott's sombre C'est la vie (That's Life) – a hymn to nostalgia with a heavy reminder of mortality.

• In Sweden, Hammarby fans sing Just i dag är jag stark (This Day I Am Very Strong) by local rock god Kenta Gustafsson, a well-known fan of the club who died in 2003.

• Feyenoord fans have taken more than one favourite from the English terraces to the Netherlands; as well as You'll Never Walk Alone, fans at De Kuip sing Monty Python's Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life (complete with whistling).

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