Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Korea, dogs and football songs

It was the one, incredibly predictable fact about last weeks cup final was that the Man United fans would sing a song on the subject of Jose Mourinhio and his dog. What was nearly as predictable was that references to Man United's Korean striker, Ji Sung Park, would be made in the song.

Like most Man United players, Park has his own song which can be regularly heard from the Stretford End at Old Trafford. The lyrics are (to the tune of Lord of the Dance):

Park, Park, where you may be,
you eat dogs in your home country,
but it could be worse, you could be Scouse,
eating rats in your council house.

The lyrics are aimed at United's old rivals from down the M62 - but the fact remains that part of the lyrics touch on a subject which is rather sensitive for the Koreans. I don't know if Park's English is up to understanding the song (it's not always possible to make out the lyrics to songs like this at football grounds) or if anyone has explained it, but he's probably also managed to work he's rather popular with the United fans.

For the cup final, predicatably there were a couple of songs - the one I heard quite regularly while queuing for the programs was another ditty to the tune of the Lord of the Dance:

Jose, where ever you may be,
Ji Sung ate your dog for tea,
Special One, your dog is dead,
maybe you should get a cat instead.

Jim White in his report on the FA Cup final also reported this variation on Winter Wonderland:

Mourinho are you listening
You know your dog went missing
Well we heard it bark
So we fed it to Park
Eaten in a stir-fry wonderland

The thing about all these chants is they, are by the standards of football chants, vaguely funny and pleasantly free from the sort of language and aggression that is often typical of the average football song. But, in all cases, they rely for their humour on a blatant stereotyping of Koreans - so it begs the question "why aren't these chants covered by the anti racist chanting rules that are now in place in football?"

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