FOOTBALL fans across the nation have chanted their own lyrics to the tune Tom Hark by The Piranhas at matches, though only those of a certain age will know the origins of the song.

It all started back in Brighton in 1980... but what became of the band’s frontman Boring Bob Grover?

When Brighton band The Piranhas’ single Tom Hark reached number six in the UK charts in August 1980, few would have guessed what would become of it.

The beginning of its journey may have been predictable – with its ska-like refrain, infectious kwela beat and the band’s quirky image, personified by Boring Bob Grover, it was always going to be a hit single.

What nobody could have predicted was what would happen next.

The song created a new phenomenon, goal music.

The Argus: The Pirahas in their heyday The Pirahas in their heyday

It was taken up as a football chant at Bob’s hometown club, Brighton and Hove Albion, and from there it spread to football grounds all around the country, as far north as Sunderland, Newcastle, and Middlesbrough.

At many clubs, including Burnley and Brighton, it was played over the PA system when a home goal was scored, while fans all over the country changed the words to fit their own needs.

It spread right across the football pyramid including at Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal where fans all sang tailored versions. At Arsenal it was about Thierry Henry.

Another version was released, with Bob’s blessing, to raise funds and awareness of Brighton and Hove Albion’s desire to secure final planning permission for the club’s new stadium at Falmer. It reached no 17 in the charts in 2005 and even generated a feature on Football Focus.

Bob and his new Piranhas naturally enough played at the first League match at the Amex on August 6, 2011, against Doncaster Rovers. Brighton came from behind and won 2-1.

The song even became an England World Cup song in 2006, retitled for the occasion as We’re England.

The Argus: The Piranhas had chart success with Tom HarkThe Piranhas had chart success with Tom Hark

Scottish football also took it to heart, with Rangers releasing a tub-thumping version on record, accompanied by some high-octane commentary and fans singing. Celtic fans sang their own versions, which celebrated goals and berated individual opponents in a way that perhaps only Glaswegians can.

The song also crossed the Irish Sea and entered top-flight Irish football.

But it wasn’t done there.

Many Rugby League clubs played it when a try was scored, including Wigan and Warrington, two of the game’s traditional big beasts.

As the limited overs cricket format grew in popularity, the use of music became more widespread, especially in T20, culminating in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, when the tune was played over the PA every time a boundary was scored. England even managed to win the World Cup at Lords.

It was played at Twickenham every time England scored a try.

The Argus: The Piranhas just before lockdownThe Piranhas just before lockdown

Bob is still in the band but recently launched a new venture that recycles more than music.

Upcycle Watches gives new life to classic watches from the 1950s onwards.

“Many of our much-loved watches die of old age because they aren’t posh enough to warrant expensive and frequent servicing, so they end up in landfill,” he said.

“At UpCycle Watches we keep the great looking outsides and completely replace the insides.

“Imagine that Morris Minor you or your grandparents learned to drive in being available to buy now, only with all new modern mechanical parts, and without needing a computer to fix it.

"UpCycle Watches are like low-maintenance old bangers really, and eco-friendly.”

The Argus: Bob in his workshopBob in his workshop

Bob hopes to be back on stage soon.

He said: “We aren’t playing through Covid, but we have an appropriate band of eccentric reprobates who love the Piranhas’ songs.”

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