Song: With Doctor Martens On Our Feet…

For years I held back from putting this belter on one of my tapes because the song was only really known by a few and I thought it should be kept that way. But that was a bit selfish so I asked the well known, long-standing Red and fellow songster JT if he would mind it going on a forthcoming CD. He first taught me the tune on a Euro away and seemed to wait until I was suitably pissed before singing it again, knowing full well that I would never recall it once sober.

With Doctor Martens on our feet
We marched into the Kippax Street
Proclaiming that the King was Denis Law
He once stood in front of the Stretford End
Scoring goals that sent us around the bend
But Denis doesn’t play there anymore


We battered Scousers, Geordies, Cockney and Brummies too

Sauna of Love - United We Sing 8

For we are the famous Scoreboard Paddock crew
And we’ll get off those trains and wait outside those Shed End gates
To batter one-armed Babs and his harmless little few
The Football League was boring us
When Europe started calling us
They said come on over and show us all your ways
Tell us all about your rucks
As you drive about in transit trucks
Come tell us of the battle of Etienne


What’s the tune?

It is of course Matchstalk Men And Matchstalk Cats and Dogs which was by a duo called Brian and Michael and recorded at Stockport’s Pluto studio in tribute to the artist LS Lowry. Backing singing came from St Winifred’s School choir and it topped the charts for three weeks in 1978 before being knocked off the top by the Bee Gees’ Night Fever.

Some of the original lyrics

He painted Salford’s smoky tops
On cardboard boxes from the shops
And parts of Ancoats where I used to play
I’m sure he once walked down our street
Cause he painted kids who had nowt on their feet
The clothes we wore had all seen better days
And he painted matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs
He painted kids on the corner of the street with the sparkling clogs
Now he takes his brush and he waits outside them factory gates
To paint his matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs

Does anybody else sing it?

Celtic fans recorded a very good version with six verses in honour of former hero Willie Malay:

Willie Malay was his name
He brought some great names to the game
When he was the boss at Celtic Park
He taught them how to play football
He made the greatest of them all
Gallagher and Quinn have left their mark.
And they gave us James McGrory and Paul McStay
They gave us Johnstone, Tully, Murdoch, Auld and Hay
And most of the football greats have past through Parkhead’s gates
All to play football the Glasgow Celtic way

I’m not aware of other teams having versions of this classic song but being a real singalong folky sort of tune I wouldn’t rule it out. With the writers from Manchester and our fine city mentioned in the original lyrics I feel no shame in using the tune again to pen the following ditty, which got the thumbs up on some away trips this season:

The Arabs came with all their cash
Made Stockport’s finest trim their ‘tache
And dream of all the cups that they would win
A who is who of who’ll they ll buy
And how they’ll make united cry
But we’re not worried and I’ll tell you why


We’ve seen off Arsenal, Chelsea, and the Scousers too
Blackburn, Newcastle and Leeds it’s true
So we’re ready for Mark Hughes and his band of bitter Blues
Cos the Red Army is coming after you
They claim that Manchester is blue
But we all know that isn’t true
That’s why the council’s ground is never full
They take out ads to spread that lie
An urban myth until they die
But we’re not worried and I’ll tell you why


They’ve signed that young boy from Brazil
But Pele said he must be ill
And who are we to doubt the grand old man?
They’re gonna sign Kaka and Stam,
Nelson Mandela and me mam
But we’re not worried and I’ll tell you why


From the album “Sauna Of Love – United We Sing 8” check out the album on the music page.

This article was first published by Pete Boyle in Red Issue magazine
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Written by Pete Boyle

I’m an ordinary Manchester United fan who loves singing (usually badly) and having a few drinks with mates at United games home and away. I never personally label myself as anything else and get embarrassed (ok maybe not) when I get labelled a ‘super fan’ etc.

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