I dimly recall watching an animated Czech film on Channel 4 many years ago, which featured a version of the Chelsea anthem Blue Is The Colour sung in Czech. (Huw Jones in the comments now reveals this to be ‘Virile Game’, by Czech genius Jan Svankmajer – it appears 1min 45secs into this clip.)
It seems I may not have imagined this. I’ve just found out that the song was indeed recorded by Czech singer Frantisek Ringo Cech as Zelená je tráva (‘Green Is The Grass’) in 1981.
Here are some Czech footballers – including the great Antonin Panenka – singing it in the 1970s.
There’s also a Danish version called Rød-hvide farver (Red and White Colours) recorded by Flemming Anthony in 1984.
And here’s a rather chirpy Finnish version, where it was recorded by Vexi Salmi and called Hoo Ji Koo, although it’s better known as Taas Kansa Täyttää. This is probably my favourite.
Here are The Proclaimers singing a pretty awful recent version, renamed ‘White Is The Colour’ for the Vancouver Whitecaps in Canada.
Also from Canada is this version, a hilarious tribute to American Football team Saskatchewan Roughriders, in which they try to fit the entire name of the team into a rhyming scheme that was only designed for two syllables.
Away from professional recorded versions, the song has also been adapted by other football fans on the terraces. Here are fans of the Japanese club Montedio Yamagata singing it in English.
And Lazio sing a mightily impressive version of it in Italian. Only they could make such a sweet song sound intimidating.
Finally, here’s the original being recorded by Ossie and the boys in 1972.
Finnish version of the song is used by the team where Mikael Forssell played before transfer to Chelsea. The song has been translated and recorded quite early after original was done – in 1973 and similarly sung by first team of HJK. Finnish translation is done by very popular schlager lyricist from seventies. It is played before kick off in every game.
The (brilliant) animated film you mention is by Jan Svankmajer, the title being translated as ‘Virile Games’. Link to part one here:
As a Girl Guide in Aberdeen in the ’70s I remember singing an amended version of this song, as follows.
Blue is the colour, Guiding is the game
We’re all together and doing good’s our aim
So cheer us on through the sun and rain
‘Cos (company name) is our name.
Some adjustments were needed to make the last line scan, e.g.
‘Cos 3rd Bucksburn Girl Guides is our name.
‘Cos 1st Bridge of Don Guides is our name.
Incidently in the ’80s I helped to run the 1st Chelsea Guide company for a few years. I don’t remember if I introduced the song there, but it would have been most appropriate.
Brilliant, thanks Huw – I thought it may have been Svankmajer, because I actually remembered all this while sitting down to watch his version of ‘Alice’.
And Jari, thanks for the info on the Finnish song – if anybody knows anything about the others, particularly the Czech one, please let me know.
Great stuff Pete.