The full original quote of “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness” was said by Oscar Wilde sometime in 19th century.

I concur with that, so there is no point repeating what has been said about Bielsa and our magnificent 3-2 victory at the London Stadium last weekend. Enough had already been said in the days / weeks since we last won a game. Most of it negative, most of it slagging off Bielsa, Orta, the Leeds United board, the Leeds United physio and training staff – blah, blah, blah. The majority of it has been said from all those renowned Premier League managers off of facebook and tw*tter – and by jingo – how right they were, weren’t they? They all called the result of West Ham on Sunday correct – didn’t they?

You know the ones, they’ve all been in the managerial / coaching game forever and their names have been on the tips of the tongues of the chairmen and owners at Chelski, Arsenal, Scum and Citeh every time one of those teams gets kicked out of a tournament, or goes on a losing streak. They are all master tacticians and speak from years, decades even, of on field experience and spend hours endlessly examining and analysing every available bit of video from every club in the PL for the last 20 years. They have extensive knowledge of sports science and psychology and are in possession of every dietetic and nutritional qualification known to man.

Oh wait, no that’s a complete lie.

None of the keyboard warriors on Noseybook and Tw*tter have any actual managerial / coaching experience outside of opening the box off FIFA and sticking the disc in. Some don’t even have that. Some only started calling it “football” about 2 seasons ago. Some didn’t know Leeds United existed BB – before Bielsa.

Harsh? Nah – not really. 

Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery though? I’m not sure, especially in the instance when someone copies and pastes something you have written and pretends that they wrote it. Once bitten, twice shy. Three times just plain careless. Copy and paster wasters as I like to call them!

But in the case of Sam Smith v Tom Petty and Vanilla Ice v Queen (I’m afraid you younger readers are going to have to look that up) – imitation actually costs you quite a bit of money. Especially if you don’t have the decency to ask first.

When it comes to music plagiarism I’m guessing there is only a finite number of notes and only a finite number of combinations of said notes that can be put together to make something sound good. But, honestly, the likes of Sam Smith and Mark Ronson / Bruno Mars, at the very very least, should have bothered to ask the old dinosaurs ( aka Tom Petty and the Gap Band ) that they were ripping off, before they put their name to their music. It’s not like they couldn’t afford to slip them a bit of cash in royalties. Sadly though, another case of the Entitled Elite thinking they could get away with it. Tight gits!

Another example of songs / intellectual property being dis or should that be misappropriated is those songs at football.

There is no doubt that Marching On Together is a Leeds song – could any other team pull it off? I doubt it.

Traditionalists were surprised when our run out tune was changed to Tin Tin Out’s Strings Of Yasmin in our European heyday, and then for a while ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ from Rocky by Survivor. But there can be no confusion when “Going Home” from that great film Local Hero comes on at St James’s Park. There’s no doubt at all that “Mull of Kintyre” will be sung at the City Ground. Same with the Gerry and The Pacemakers’ version of the Rogers and Hammerstein Carousel song,  “You’ll Never Get a – sorry Walk Alone” at Anfield and the theme from Z Cars at Goodison.

But even then, the famous Z Cars was stolen off Everton by Watford as it was Bill McGarry, the managers favourite TV programme at the time, apparently. Plus after Watford, played it once, they went on a 20+ game winning streak. When Watford got taken over by Elton John, the music got changed to “I’m Still Standing” – and then the Hornets got relegated! I have to acknowledge though that ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ has actually been played at Celtic and sung by the Yellow Wall at Borussia Dortmund too.

There’s the controversy over classic hits like “Liquidator” at Wolves, which in 2002 was banned because the Rozzers didn’t like the words “F**K Off West Brom” being shouted at the end of it. They now sing “Hi Ho Wolverhampton” (Jeff Beck) apparently, but we’ll have to wait until March to find out. I’m looking forward to Leicester who, unusually, have the PostHorn Gallop as their run out tune, surprisingly I can’t remember much about the last time we were there. Something to do with hunting foxes I am guessing.

So we can’t say that songs actually come under the remit of “intellectual property” when it comes to football fans and clubs – apart from Marching On Together, The Ballad Of Billy Bremner or any number of songs from that Leeds cd. There’s obviously some exceptions when it comes to anthems / songs that the players walk out to, but what about football chants?

The newest / latest Leeds chant is “follow, follow, follow”. To me that’s a Sc*m song I’m afraid. According to G*ggle it’s  Rangers and some it’s Boro. You can look it up and you’ll see the lyrics from years gone by which go with the songs, so don’t shoot the messenger, I do fact check some of my stuff!

Follow Follow Follow –  I certainly wouldn’t sing it – but then I could never bring myself to sing “Dennis Wise’s Barmy Army ” either, in fact almost spat out my Bovril when I heard the Misled and Misguided sing it at ER in the B*tes Days of All Pain and No Gain. What you sing at football is down to personal choice at the end of the day. Some of the chants or music , like Z cars have decades long associations with football. Some songs were originally catchy excerpts from either some classical music or old War songs etc. Some have been filched from 90’s classics like “Go West” from the Pet Shop Boys. Who, from those old enough to remember the video from that song, wouldn’t think that this tune would still be rattling around now, 30 years on, at just about every football ground in the country? Certainly not Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe.

Which brings us nicely round to West Ham again. I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles is their very annoying song, which has the most bizarre beginnings which, having investigated it, I’m not even bothering to share – cos it’s so boring. At the “Other Boleyn Ground” aka the London Stadium, we suffered in the Cup game, with our massively depleted squad. We had a bench of youngsters because we had so many disastrous injuries. We could have “played the game”, like some clubs, and got the match called off because we couldn’t field a full first team side. But that’s not Bielsa’s way. We could have moaned and whinged about it and berated our medical team and blamed the owners for not investing more money. But that’s not Bielsa’s way. Every pundit and hack and armchair fan / keyboard warrior was waiting in the wings to jump ship and claim that we were going down with the Norwich, with Bielsa at the helm. 

But we didn’t, we played with the team we could – because that’s Bielsa’s way. And while West ham were forever  blowing bubbles, Bielsa was bursting them. Because that’s his way. Imitation is the most sincerest form of flattery, but everyone is mediocre when it comes to the mastery of Bielsa.

Here’s The Boss – and some bubbles

Thanks to the Guernsey press for the photo