The Best FIFA Football Awards™
'You’ll Never Walk Alone': The Power of a Song
21 Dec 2016
Football is full of memorable moments. They can occur on the pitch, or sometimes, take place in the stands and terraces of stadiums around the world. One venue that has a reputation for such magical atmospheres is Anfield - the home of English Premier League giants Liverpool.
With scarves raised, banners aloft and flags flying, the Kop at Anfield has long held a standard for producing some of football’s great sights and sounds. This is particularly so when Liverpool supporters stand and sing one of the game’s most beloved anthems, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. With its heart-warming notes and lyrics, the song not only brings Reds fans together, but passionate football supporters the world over.
One of the most memorable renditions of the anthem was the collective choral effort produced by fans of Liverpool and visitors Borussia Dortmund on 14 April 2016. Ahead of a 2015/16 UEFA Europa League quarter-final clash and a day before the 27th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, a full Anfield crowd comprising both sets of supporters came together as one voice in a moment of solidarity, as sporting rivalry was set aside for a few minutes.
With no need for musical accompaniment from the stadium’s speakers, the assembled crowd sang in unison with joy and passion. It was such a moving moment that it prompted Liverpool manager and former Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp to say in his post-match press conference: "It was an outstanding atmosphere. I will not forget it.”
The occasion was not lost on the players, as they followed those incredible vocal efforts of the crowd with a thrilling match that saw Liverpool triumph over their German opponents. “When the crowd are like that, there are not too many better places in the world to be playing, and to be part of a night like that is fantastic," recalled Liverpool midfielder James Milner at full-time.
It proved not only to be a magical moment for those that experienced it live or who saw it from afar, it also made the final shortlist for the inaugural FIFA Fan Award, which will be presented at The Best FIFA Football Awards™ ceremony in Zurich on 9 January.
From a No1 hit to a football anthem
Though it can trace its origins back to the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel, it was in October 1963 that a cover of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ by the Liverpool band Gerry and the Pacemakers reached the top of the UK music charts. Liverpool fans adopted the popular tune that same year, and within a short space of time, the song became synonymous with the Kop and the supporters who stood on that famous Anfield terrace.
Having made its mark on Merseyside, and in the east end of Glasgow with Celtic, the song then found new admirers in Germany’s Ruhr region after a local five-piece band called Pur Harmony covered the tune in 1996. "A good friend of ours told us 'you have to make a recording of 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. I thought, 'Oh no!',” the band’s frontman Matthias Kartner told Liverpoolfc.com.
"It's a nice song but it was difficult to make because of the harmony of the music. It's hard to sing because at first you go very deep and then you go high. But a week later, we made this recording. We are Dortmund boys and big Borussia fans, so I gave the recording of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' to our stadium speaker and he took this and said, 'Very nice, we'll try this'."
Now a pre-match tradition at the Westfalenstadion, Dortmund are by no means the only German club to proudly sing the song. Fans of Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Monchengladbach, Darmstadt, Kaiserslautern, Mainz and St Pauli have adopted the anthem.
The tune’s universal appeal has also seen it sung at Feyenoord matches in the Netherlands, Club Brugge games in Belgium, and in Japan at FC Tokyo fixtures.
Whether it's sung in Asia, across the Netherlands, in Germany or at its 'home' at Anfield, the anthem of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' is one that truly unites football fans across the globe.
Voted for by FIFA.com users, you can make your choice for who you want to win the FIFA Fan Award, with the winner to be announced at the The Best FIFA Football Awards™ ceremony on 9 January in Zurich.