IBDP Extended Essay: The Rhetorical Effect of Football Chants


Football hooligans are the main center of attention in the social world of this sport, often described with the words "rowdy, violent or destructive behaviour" (Moreno), developing over the years these groups of people have started to be more active in society and politics. Football hooligans often use their large groups to address problems that are occurring in England, which affect either specific club, the sport, or even the entire country (Fishwick 2). Many of the presented chants in today’s football scene are often addressed to the opposing team but are also used to address political problems, an example of this would be the hooligans of the English national team chanting against Brexit "​He's here, he's there! He's a citizen of nowhere: Barnier, Barnier!" ​(Steerpike 2)This often leads to these groups being suppressed by the government or the global football organization FIFA, leading to high money penalties or suspension from future games (Pardy 1). The intent these chants have on an audience is dependent on the word choice and intention linked to the chants, chants result rather effective if they are catchy, easy to memorize, therefore many chants use features such as rhymes or repetition, whilst also personifying situations that occurs in real life so that the audience has a personal link to the expressed problems. For this reason, it is interesting to consider the question, ​How are the organizational cultures of two different British football clubs reflected in the diction and rhetorical devices used in fans' chants?​ The stated research question has the intention of identifying how two different groups of football supporters from the same country can reflect the organizational culture of the two football clubs, either by comparing, insulting, or supporting topics that are relevant to the football scene of England, as well as high political power members or people of social importance to the country.

 This essay explores the rhetorical devices of the chants, effect or ideas are represented in the best and most effective way to spread a message to the chosen audience. In this study, I propose to investigate the connection between the chants and the behaviours and culture of the fan community. Football hooligans have an impact on the discussion surrounding the football society, throughout the usage of chants, speeches and songs. My aims for this topic are: Identify the different texted features originating from two different football clubs in England, what makes the non-literary texts so effective towards the public. How can these chants reflect the community values and behaviour of the fans? Do these chants have a positive outcome, can they initiate problem-solving?. The research methodology utilises a wide range of sources, including analysis of team culture and interviews of fans.

The analytical approach for the main body is going to consist in at first looking at identifiable rhetorical devices in the chosen football chants based on the popularity and recognition these teams get for their chants and fanbase, in order to see which ones are used more often, then the devices will be compared between the two clubs, to find out if the opposing clubs use the same rhetorical devices to ensure the effect on the audience is better.By analyzing interviews i can gain information in regards causes and intents of the chants and how they might reflect the organizational culture. Reading books was one of the initial steps because I can enlarge my background knowledge about this topic. Finding the origin of these chants, finding the reason what provokes these chants, can allow me to analyze the approach that is taken towards chants based on the reason behind them, so I can identify if the usage of rhetorical devices varies based on the subject-specific groups, therefore I can also find out if the same rhetorical devices  are always used for the same topics. The research approach will give me the final result of knowing what personal effects the chants can reach based on the rhetorical devices and diction.

The Lion in the den
Introduction of the Team
The first team that will be investigated, in regards to football team culture and the chants they use is Millwall. The team is known to be as the “Everlasting Second” (Gibbons 29) they have received this name due to their opposing rivals being in the first division of the English football league, whereas they are only second. Millwall is located in a rather low-income area of London, implying that the fanbase would rather originate from the area and the workspace near the stadium (Thompson 12). In the social world of football, the team's fan-base is known under the name of Bushwackers, which has also become the name of the clubs firm (Moreno 2). In the 60-70's the football fan scene in England escalated, during this time millwall was an economically deprived area with limited employment except for lock work on the docks, it was said that due to this problem the behaviour of the workers began to be "physical, aggressive and ready to employ violence" (Thompson 3). Fans had the liberty of doing anything they wanted inside the football stadium, due to there being little to no police control (Thompson 9) . This implied that the vast majority of the fanbase came from tougher backgrounds compared to other football groups. During this peak of violence among the football fans, Millwall used the opportunity to build up the reputation of being violent and aggressive (Tucker 3). The decisions made were not self voluntary, due to the team being surrounded by the West Ham firms and the Chelsea firms they had to protect their social image, although this was done with a violent approach it has been effective to this day (Tucker 3).Even during present-day times, the reputation of the Millwall supporters has not changed, this brings out an advantage when looking at the lyrical chants they have produced, the mindset that the fans have is that they are an outsider, the most hated of them all "No one likes us, we don't care!" is the most famous chant originating from the team, describing their attitude that they have towards anything that opposes them.

The two chosen chants to analyze are the following "We paid for your hats" and "No one likes us". The reason I have chosen these chants is that they bring over a clear message that is directed towards a singular person or a group of people, making them rhetorically effective but also effective on a social level.
The first chant that will be investigated is "We Paid for Your Hats" this chant is directed toward the police forces that guard the stadium and keep the fans from expressing their emotions in all possible ways. "We paid for your hats, We paid for your hats, What a waste of council tax, We paid for your hats!" the entire chant is repeated twice when presented at the football stadium. The chant is directed towards the police force as they are implying that the hats they are wearing are because of the taxes they all have to pay (‘​There's no need to be scared of Millwall's Premier League chances’​). The chant, in general, is not supposed to bring across a message focusing on the police hats, but instead focusing on the obsolescence of having to pay such high taxes.(Mc Donald 1). The rhetorical feature that is prominent in this chant is repetition. The repetition makes the chant more effective, this is because the audience or even the target audience that gets to hear this chant will most likely not forget it, not only because of the word choice, the chant on its own is very short making it easier to be memorized, this can increase the possibility of spreading this chant around larger groups or even individual people, because of the message it has behind of it. Implying that the money that they are spending on taxes is only beneficial to the people that are opposing them.
Ethos plays a role in this chant as the credibility of the chant is directed towards other fans, as it represent the values and beliefs of the community, as they trust the words of the football fans regarding the fact that the money that they are paying to the government is the money that is directly given to the people that oppress the everyday liberty in somewhat way.
The second chant is "No one likes us", I have chosen this chant because it depicts the response and the identity of the football club. The club has been described in numerous ways one way, for example was "These supporters are absolute animals and sadly very proud of being animals". (Pardy 4.) "We are Millwall, We are Millwall, We are Millwall, from the Den, We are Millwall, super Millwall, We are Millwall, from the Den, No one likes us, no one likes us, No one likes us, we don't care, We are Millwall, super Millwall, We are Millwall, from the Den". This chant represents the ideal of the Millwall fan culture, being ironic about the fact that no one likes them and therefore pursuing to live in their own life with no limit, no one standing against them as if every obstacle they see is overcome by pure ignorance. The chant itself is very repetitive, making the rhetorical devices amplification, antanagoge and pathos, the repetition of the words have two purposes because in both cases the negatives that are implemented in the chant are negative but they also create a sort of intensity, because there is no logical reason of saying that you disliked and an outsider, the negativity is countered in the chant as the follow up is "We don't care, We are Millwall, super Millwall" insinuating that you can say what you want about the team and the fans, but they are conscious about this, they know who they are and what they have done, and they are proud of it. This is a strong statement from a hated group and it represents solidarity, even though from an outsider's perspective the actions that speak for the fans are not morally correct "As they are a racist fanbase that brings hatred and violence to anyone and anything that doesn't follow the same mindset that they do"(​"FA fines Millwall over racist chants."​). In this chant the pathos that is used, is effective as it vitalizes the emotions fans can have towards their club, reminding them of experiences or personal connections they have with the club, being proud of the ignorance they present themselves with. The effect this chant has on the audience is that the chant makes it seem as if everything the club is known for is legitimate, and as a fan or local person, you should be proud of this.

Conclusion of BP

The chants Millwall chants that have been analyzed, portray how the fanbase chooses to use their rhetorical devices to speak on the values they have towards society and how they have been identified as being ​"physical, aggressive and ready to employ violence" (Thompson 3), therefore the chants "No one likes us, we don't care!" and the chant "We paid for your hats", as this chant resembles how the fanbase addresses a problem or a disruptive factor in their living idealistic

 The Bould Bhoy
Introduction of the Team
Compared to Millwall Celtic FC has a completely different reputation, a club and their fans that do not follow values of using violence or being racist. Instead Celtic Fc is a team with a fanbase that follows the rules and portrays model behaviour, to an extent at which other football managers and players comment on is uniqueness"For many people, the real value and meaning of being a supporter of Celtic goes far beyond the football pitch" (Ferguson), not only does the fanbase have a different appearance because of their behavior but also because of the chants that they sing to support their team (Lynn 2). The support that is needed from the players in difficult situations is what their fanbase has to offer. The origin of the fanbase was initiated in 1887-88 during the period of the great famine in Ireland (​Dembsworth 2)​. The founders of the club (Layton) were the ones that supported the poor Irish Catholics that would immigrate to Glasgow (​Dembsworth 2)​, due to these actions the club itself gained a large number of catholic fans, this not only in Ireland but around the globe. The tranquility of the fanbase extended to a point wherein 2003 they received an award for fair play, this was the result of there being no fights, arrests, and peaceful traveling around Seville (​Dembsworth 5)​, the president of the UEFA even commented on the behavior "Celtic fans, you are great, you are marvelous!" (Blatter). Even though there are much positive news about the fanbase they still are a fanbase to be scared of, not because of the violence they confront other people with, but instead with the noise they make and the emotions they express in their chants, making them focus on Pathos, the focus on emotion is very important in this case since the club has been known for their fans and the love that surrounds the club due to the fans, the chants have to awake this feeling as much as they can, thus giving fans the possibility to help the players out even when they are not standing on the pitch, making the players conscious about the fact that they will always have a fanbase on their side no matter what happens. (Hayes 1)

The Celtic FC chants that have been chosen "You will never walk alone" and "Just can't get enough" I have chosen these because they express best the support fans give to the team. The best way to depict the emotions that the fans feel towards the club is by singing out their emotions in front of thousands of other people. Both of these chants consist of lyrics of already produced songs ​You'll Never Walk Alone - Gerry and the Pacemakers and Just Can't Get Enough - Depeche Mode, these chants are still sung by the fanbase as specific lyrics reflect the values and beliefs of the team and their community.
The first chant I am going to focus on is "You Will Never Walk Alone" I have chosen this specific chant because out of the 150+ chants that the club has, this might be one of the most suitable, the chant itself portrays love and emotions of fans towards the club, "Walk on, Walk on, with hope in your heart, And you'll never walk alone, You'll never walk alone. Walk on, Walk on, with hope in your heart, And you'll never walk alone, You'll never walk alone" the chant is very repetitive but the dominant devices of this chant are repetition, pathos, and epistrophes. The epistrophe is emphasized on the word "Alone", the effect this has is that the worst thing that could happen to a football team is not having any fans that stand by your side and support you every minute of a football match, this would generally be negative with the emphasis but instead using this rhetorical device the word is overthrown by the action, chanting about benign alone is irrelevant due to the thousands of fans singing along and presenting what they feel towards the team, throughout these actions the word alone becomes the complete opposite. The pathos that is used in this chant is the majority of the chant, what the fans are chanting about is that the team on its own shall always take steps to future games and championships or even any new problems, but during this, the fans will always stand behind them as they will never make them walk alone, because "Celtic is not just a club, it is a heritage" (Layton, 23). The repetition that is used in this chant is has the intention of making the players memorize that their fans will always be by their side "You'll never walk alone", the chant itself resembles best the club, as they are singing about the club never being alone, no matter what happens next. The fans support the club not only because of the success they have but also because of the gratitude the fans have, due to what happened during the famine, therefore they want to give back as much as they can.
The second chant I have decided to analyze is "Just can't get enough", this chant, on the other hand, is not supposed to resemble the love they have for the club, but instead the excitement and joy that they receive from the team playing, seeing their team play every weekend, is the best thing that happens to them, they reunite with their friends, all of a sudden it's not a few thousands of fans anymore but it is one big group, everyone there is together and is standing in that stadium for the same reason, watching their passion for 90 minutes whilst giving them energy from the outside. One of the Ex-chairman from Celtic even spoke about this saying "This Celtic football club is much more than a football club to a lot of people its a way of life" (Kelly), exactly this is what the chant represents "When i see you Celtic, I go out of my head, I just can't get enough, I just can't get enough, All the things you do to me and all the things you said, I just can't get enough. I just can't get enough, We slip and slide and we fall in love and I just can't see to get enough of..." The chant itself is supposed to describe the emotions that a Celtic fan goes through when thinking and experiencing Celtic FC. The chant originates from the song ‘Just can’t get Enough’ by Depeche Mode and was modified to suit Celtic.The devices that occur in this chant are Repetition, Pathos, and Metaphor. The metaphor that is used in this case is referring to the "We slip and slide and we fall in love" the intentional meaning of this is indicating that no matter what bad things might happen, privately or on the pitch, the singular fan and the fanbase will always come back to their happy place, Celtic Park, the effect this has on the audience is the emphasis on how the stadium is their home and that once you start experiencing the Celtic experience there is no going back. The pathos that is present in this football chant is the emotion that is brought out during "I go out of my head, I just can't get enough" these words are supposed to resemble the impact the games have on the fans, like an emotional rollercoaster that has a 90-minute ride. The pathos is also resembling the imaginative impact, "I go out of my head" insinuating that nothing else has the same effect and also that the fans can't keep it together because they are so full of emotions when they see their team.

Conclusion of BP
The prominent chants that have been analyzed focus on the values of the team, the chants reflect the mindset and idealistic of how the fans support the team and what the team means to them, the rhetorical devices highlight the values, for example "I just can't get enough" represents the importance of the club, as it resembles how the importance and support of the club is a necessity for the fans.

 The Bhoy and the Lion
Compare and Contrast

Millwall and Celtic are the complete opposite looking at it from an outsider's perspective, one team is full of violence and hatred, is known for never being first and remaining in the second division, whereas Celtic is the glorious team, the team that has the best support whilst still being at a high competitive level. This makes the comparison of the football chants very interesting, the intentions of the chants are completely different, Celtic doesn't use their popularity to touch on arguments that are sensitive, or arguments that in any kind of way seem as a complain, even though Millwall uses their popularity they do not only do it to address problems but instead to make them be respected by other fans, making the other people know who they are.
The two chants analyzed regarding Millwall are both very short but effective, one chant touches on the fury towards the government due to the tax money, the second one is supposed to reflect the mindset of the classic Millwall fan "No one likes us, we don't care", presenting the fans as ignorant people towards the public.
The analyzed Celtic chants on the other hand focus on the connection between the fanbase and the team itself, both of the chants talk about the experience and the love towards the club "You'll never walk alone", the Celtic chants reflect the ideal Celtic fan culture, which in this case is following the club with all of your heart. The use of rhetorical devices, in this case, is very focused on connecting with the audience on emotive regard, this throughout the usage of repetition in different types, thus meaning that the repetition that is being used has an emphasis on different words in the chants, throughout this emphasis the pathos will be more effective, for example in the "You'll never walk alone" chant the emphasis lies on the word "Alone", this might seem negative but in context with the chant as a whole, the negative turns into a positive, therefore making this chant easy to follow but very effective on an emotional connection.
The organizational culture that occurs between the two teams is completely different. The organizational culture that appears in the Millwall fanbase is completely different compared to Celtic, the values to are grouped by the fans is centralized on violence, hatred, and ignorance, this is because of the single fans themselves, people that have grown up knowing what life is like as a Millwall fan end up putting all of their traits together, making the fanbase a group of uncontrollable chaos. The traits that occur in the Celtic fan base, on the other hand, are very different, there still are some fans that prefer the violent aspect of being a football fan, but all in all, together with the traits, values, and the expectations of these fans come together in a way that expresses passion towards the sport and their club.

In conclusion both of the teams have a different organizational culture, Milwall known for being ruthless and violent, uses their prominence and fan base to address opinions and problems that surround the fan base and the values they have, as they are a team that rather focuses on going against the law and being different. The chants they use include repetition and a certain Ethos in order to accomplish maintaining the values behind the clubs firm and their living idealistic. Celtic FC compared to Milwall has a different organizational culture, as the shared beliefs and values focus on fortifying the clubs support, these are reflected in the two chants that have been analyzed. Even though the chants are extract's of songs, they highlight what the fanbase thinks about the team: Not being able to not think about the team and always being a true supporter since the club shall never be left on its on, this has risen throughout the clubs history, and the popularity of the actions that have been done by the founders of the club. The rhetorical devices that are being used in the chants emphasize throughout the use of repetition "You'll never walk Alone", throughout the repetition the emphasis of words becomes effective in relation to the representation of the organizational culture. Even though both teams have a different organizational culture, they are able to represent their organizational culture towards a greater audience throughout the use of different rhetorical devices.

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