We’ll Keep A Welcome In The Offside. My Tribute To Wales.

Yes. I’ve kicked my usual vaguely garden related blog out of the park, ignored the lawn and the vegetable beds, allowed the spirt of Euro 2016 and the amazing Welsh effort take over my slot and planted my dragon flag firmly in French soil as a celebration of the Wales National Football side’s progress through the Euro championship.

England have been forcefully brexited from the Euro, after early promise and hope, courtesy of playing like a bunch of overpaid, tattooed schoolboys and being, it seems, entirely unable to pass the ball to each other or put the roundy thing in the netty thing, as Holly would no doubt say.

But Wales have gone from strength to strength, seeing off bigger teams and making their emotionally charged fans proud.

So. Sadly, last night, Portugal finally showed up and remembered they are supposed to win games. Wales, finally, succumbed to the gurning antics of Ronnie and his pals.

However, it doesn’t matter whether the Welsh team fell to the skilful but histrionic wiles of Portugal or rose triumphant like a Red Kite from the valleys and kicked Ronnie into touch. This was irrelevant.  I was always going to offer this musical tribute to the mighty Welsh boys, Bale, Ramsay, Williams, Vokes et al, just for reaching the semi-final alone.

So Team Cymru, this is for you from an Englishman who has a small bit of Welsh on his Paternal Grandmother’s side – as apparently have half the population now you have done so well. My Top Five Songs to evoke and celebrate the spirit of the Welsh Association Football Team.

You should be congratulated. You are heroes. (Can’t use that one as rumours that Bowie was Welsh are probably untrue)

  1. The Green Green Grass Of Home An Elvis smash but equally as heart-rending when performed by Mr Tom Jones, this story of a prisoner, awaiting his sorry end while dreaming of the lush sward of his homeland brings a lump to the throat and must have been in the minds of at least one of the welsh team as they hurtled, champion like across the green, green, badly maintained pitches of France.  Mind you, some of it may well have been astroturf, not quite as romantic though is it? Ok. It seems inappropriate as the prisoner is about to be frazzled in the electric chair but the love of the home turf soil is at the heart of this short masterpiece and Welsh turf is what the team will be kissing when they land after their travails.
  2. We’ll Keep A Welcome In The Hillside Again the heart swells when you hear a male voice choir singing this stirring song of welcome and friendliness. Clearly the writer of this soaring ditty had never been to Mold in Clwyd where the welcome is, if you are English, somewhat more low key and often consists of a solitary middle finger pointed at the skies. However, this song will remind the Welsh team of the welcome they will receive when they return home. There will be cheers, beers and tears a-plenty on that day, the streets will flow with a tide of goodwill and the red dragon will fly from every window, office and tŵr castell  (castle tower). 
  3. Together Stronger The Manic Street Preachers’ 2016 Wales song has simply got to go in. This Anthem to strength in unity and kicking the round thing better than other teams is a testament to the Manics loyalty and support of the Welsh side. Politically motivated and fiercely partisan it is lyrically specific and name checks players now and then. Well worth inclusion.

    Sadly this supporters club's banners were banned from Euro 2016, as they covered most of the stand
    Sadly this supporters club’s banners were banned from Euro 2016, as they covered most of the stadium
  4. Reward  This Teardrop Explodes chart zinger makes it into the list because it is a little known fact that eccentric (to say the least) frontman and songwriter Julian Cope, was actually born in Deri in South Glamorgan and was even staying at his gran’s in Aberfan when the awful slag heap disaster struck. That’s Welsh enough for us. Either way, this song about him expecting his reward seems highly appropriate from a Welsh football perspective because they worked hard to get through every stage of the competition and the reward will be the ecstatic cheers of their fans as they make their way back home. Oh, and the money.
  5. You’re My Star  Yup. Right off the song list of Cwmaman village  formed rock band Stereophonics. This song could have been written about Gareth Bale, undoubtedly the star of Wales’ line-up. Arguably  one of the top players in the world he is a true international presence and surely has been a true inspiration to Coleman and his boys. Wales definitely play as a team and their progress has to be seen as a talented team working together but Mr Bale has surely added some extra talent, free-kickability and stardust to the achievement that took 58 years to forge.

And that’s about it. Farewell to Wales. It has been an interesting ride.   Enjoy the final.

Drew Hardy

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