DES CLARKE RALLIES THE TARTAN ARMY TO MAKE SOME NOISE THIS SUMMER
Comedian Des Clarke trades the comedy circuit for football stadiums as he teams up with Vauxhall Motors to create a series of football chants to encourage the nation to get behind the women’s team.
GlasgowLiving favourite Des, himself a big football, who also hosts the Capital Scotland Breakfast Show, launches the rousing chants as part of Vauxhall Motors’ #GetIN campaign to rally fans to make some noise this summer for their team before they head off to play in the Netherlands.
As the official sponsor of the woman’s national football team, Vauxhall Motors launched #GetIN to help fans to show support for their teams, celebrate the spirit of football and give fans one off experiences and real #GetIN moments. The fun chants, penned by Des Clarke, were filmed and recorded in Abbey Road studio for fans to listen to ahead of the summer of football and include a chant for the whole team:
Banging in the goals
Lots of silky passes
Best team it the world
We love our Scottish lassies!
We caught up with Des over a pie and Bovril to chat over the ladies reaching the finals of a major tournament, some tips for the guys, the big game against England, and some tourist tips for the travelling support…
1. Hey Des. We hear you’ve got some motivational chants lined up to support the ladies’ efforts ahead of the finals next month?
Yes, I do and I’m delighted to be involved. Scotland has waited a long time to get into a tournament like this, I think 20 years since and our woman have done brilliantly! I just wanted to be involved, I’m a fan, I’ve watched them play and anything I can do to help to support them I’m definitely up for!
2. Tell us a bit about how you ended up getting involved with supporting the girls for the tournament?
Well, I’ve watched their progress with a lot of interest and pride, and I’ve done a bit of work with Vauxhall Motors who sponsor the women’s football team. I’ve met a few of the players, interviewed them and obviously as a fan on the terrace just watched them. I thought there is something here, we’ve got a great team that’s qualified for a big tournament and for me to let as many people know that this is happening and also to let the public know a bit more about the players means we can get right behind them So, because of that I thought why not make up some really nice chants about the team and the various different players so people can join in and feel a part of it.
3. A bit of a dark horse then? Have you ever penned any other jingles or songs?
Well if you can look out for Des Clarke: The Album, that’s all I’m saying! If Bradley Walsh from The Chase can bring out an album which outsold Zane from One Direction then so can I! It was the biggest selling debut album from a UK artist last year and I’m proud to know that fact so he is my inspiration! The only time I’ve written jingles was for Kiss TV about 15 years ago and I also did a sketch based on Emmerdale, but if this goes well Des Clarke: The Album is coming, watch out!
4. Was woman’s football on the radar for your female counterparts at High School in the Southside of Glasgow?
Yes, I went to Holyrood Secondary School and before that, I attended St John’s Primary School, and it was always mixed teams. There was no split, you were just playing football with other people it didn’t matter if they were guys or girls. There were some great players back then, I remember two girls; Stacey and Gina who were much better than me! When it came to watching I don’t think women’s football got as much coverage back then, but when it came to playing you didn’t judge people on what gender they were. If you had a ball and you wanted to play football anyone was welcome.
5. Another wee pal of our good nation is the team’s patron, Nicola Sturgeon. How has she helped you guys get motivated ahead of the tournament?
Yeah, she was announced as a patron last year and it’s great to have the Scottish government involved and behind our national team. The funding she unveiled earlier this year meant the girls could train full-time ahead of the big tournament, that makes a difference. If you can train for this full-time it means you can give everything to it so the funding’s been a huge support for them and it’s really great that the Scottish government have done that. I know Nicola is a fan of the team, hopefully we’ll see her at some of the games and I hope she’s chanting along to the chants I’ve created with Vauxhall as well. I’ll be looking for her in the crowd and making sure she’s chanting along and supporting.
6. Are you proud of the fact that the Woman’s team have made it to a major tournament, where our men’s national team haven’t for a wee while? Any tips for the guys?
Well the tips easy, all you need to do is get me to write them some chants! That’s the key, if they get me on board I’ll write some new chants for the Scotland men’s team, I’d be more than happy to get involved, then we’ll definitely get to the next tournament!
I’m a big fan of the Scottish football team generally, I think they’ve been a bit unlucky recently, but they are playing some good stuff at the moment. If we can get a little bit of luck who knows, the men’s team could get to the next tournament as well. It would be great to have the women’s going into the tournament one year and the men the next – it might still happen. The underdog story, that’s when Scotland is at their best so fingers crossed we might still make it!
7. There is a big game already lined up against England, What’s the rivalry like between the auld enemy in Woman’s football? Hypothetically speaking if the game was a “friendly” do you think the woman would go out for a wee drink afterwards?
I think it’s a competitive sport in rivalry between the two nations. There’s a lot of respect there as well but obviously it’s an important competitive game and they will be wanting to win so I don’t know if they’ll go for a drink afterwards. I don’t know, does it mean that if Scotland win they’ll have to buy them Irn Bru?! A lot of the players actually play together Club side, I think its Erin Cuthbert who also plays with England’s Karen Carney so they’re mates. You obviously get that a lot with Scottish men’s players who play down south as well so of course they are friends but they will want to wind each other up so when they play together in the next clubs season they can have the bragging rights over them. I think there are a lot of friendships on and off the field but during that game when the whistle blows they definitely will be trying to win. And do you know what it’s the oldest fiction in football – Scotland vs England and we’re proud to have it, it was great when the men’s team played recently. Obviously being Scottish I hope that we just edge it in the end and that afterwards we can celebrate with the England team with a nice can of Irn Bru!
8. We’ve heard that one of the team’s best players Kim Little may not be fit for the finals. Apart from cheering on her team, do you have any tourist tips for what she could get up to in Holland whilst the others are in training?
Get a bike! That’s my tip for Holland, people their love getting around on bikes. Holland is lovely and I think Utrecht is where the first game is, if you like canals, boats and beautiful old buildings Utrecht has all of that! But I’ll go with Kim and be her tour guide, we’ll go sightseeing and we can also do the chants together. She’ll be supporting from the side-lines I’m sure, an experienced player in the dressing room so if she’s not on a tour with me then I’m sure she’ll be giving them a good pep talk before the game and making sure they are all focused for their big matches!
9. What personal recollections do you have of Scotland playing the “auld enemy” when you were growing up in Glasgow?
I don’t like this phrase, enemy! Do you know what, we used to play England every year but I was bit too young to remember those regular games very well. So then after that there was games where they would come to Scotland. I grew up in the South Side of Glasgow, in the Gorbels which is an area directly in the walkway between Southside and Hampden Park so I just remember the singing, the flags of the England fans who would arrive and march up the South Side of Glasgow to Hampden Park. We won our fair share in terms of Scotland and I actually miss those games, I wish they were there every year. I thought they were great games and great spectacle. There is always a brilliant atmosphere and its nice, it’s like a club football rivalry for international games and there not enough of those as well. The game means a lot to both sets of fans and that’s what I always recall from it, just how much it meant to both sets of fans. I’ll gloss over the results, as in terms of being a Scotland fan most of the results did not go with us I just remember losing a play-off game against them. I do remember Don Hutchinson who was with me at a Vauxhall event recently, we scored against England at Wembley and I remember that because Don told me about 47 times when I met him – he’s still dining out on that one! Other than that it was just a game of very competitive nature from both sides, it’s the oldest fiction in the world and it’s great to have it back for these games too!
10. It’s rumoured their manager might be leaving after the tournament, are you going to put your name in the hat for the job? 😉
I’m there, get me in! I’m the man for the job, I can motivate them, I can be there just standing on the tables of the dressing rooms just shouting my chants at them. I think that what I’ll do to motivate them is that shout at them beforehand, they will want to get out of the dressing room as quickly as possible and it will inspire them to just run as fast as they can away from me so if they need me. If what they want is someone with little football knowledge but a lot of passion and a loud voice then I’ll throw my hat into the ring right now! Other than that, I will just write a chant for the new Scotland manager – one way or another I want to be involved!
11. If you weren’t a radio DJ/Entertainer, what job do you reckon you would be doing now?
This is really difficult question as it’s all I’ve ever really known. I went to University for about a year, studying film, TV and English so it was always going in this direction anyway. Then, whilst I was at Uni at the age of 19 I got into comedy and it all just went from there. I think I would probably try and be I the business some way or another.
My dad was a bricklayer so I think he thought I might move into manual work or construction, but I think one day on a building site was enough to show him that was not the career for me. I think if I was building your house you wouldn’t need a big bad wolf to huff and puff and blow it down, it would probably just fall down as soon as I shut the door on it.
I was totally tunnel vision to get into this as a career, I suppose the only other career might be football manager because I love the game and I can stand on the side-lines and shout at footballers but I couldn’t play very well! I could do the shouty bit, not sure I could do the tactics but I could do the other things. I think it’s the closest I would ever get to play the football so maybe a football manager might the perfect job for me.
12. What have you got lined up for the Edinburgh Festival this year? Anything else planned during the summer months?
Well the Edinburgh festival is brilliant and I’m there in some form every year. This year I’m taking my BBC show Breaking the News which is my topical panel show there live from the festival every week. With the news at the moment, there is so much happening so, so loads to talk about. We have lots of great guests already confirmed from Richard Herring to Matt Forde, all big names in the world of comedy and satire. Other than that, I’ll just be hanging around and going to see shows and just wondering around Edinburgh, talking to American tourists which is what I like doing as they love my Scottish accent, which is great! That’s what I’ll do, I’ll soak up the atmosphere and do a few stand-up gigs and my BBC radio show. It’s great, in terms of the football analogy, the Edinburgh Festival is like the World Cup of comedy and the good thing is Scotland qualify for this one every single year so I love being a part of it!
13. Are you planning on going to the finals?
Yes, and I’m encouraging other people to go too! Holland is a lovely country, it’s a great place for a little trip and very easy to get to from Scotland. They love their football; the stadiums are brilliant and we are at major tournament, which is something hasn’t happened for nearly 20 years. I’m showing my support to all the women and I know that it drives them on, the more people that are there, the more people that our chanting along then I know it inspire them.
14. You’re well known for presenting at awards ceremonies. We’re pretty confident that the girls will be collecting awards over there next month. Do you have any horror stories from parties or acceptance speeches? Or any tips for the girls going up to collect the cup? 😉
Yes, I’ve presented a lot of awards in my career and raffles too – I think you know when you’ve made it when you’re presenting raffles! In terms of horror stories, it’s happened more than once. Especially with the beautiful glass awards that people have worked so hard for, no matter what industry they are in, when they go to accept it, they are so taken aback by winning it that it just smashes right in front of them. So, if you get an award I would say try and hold it in your hands. I did a football award ceremony once where the goal keeper actually dropped the award – how that’s for irony? You can catch a ball at 90mph but you can’t keep hold of an award! I’ve had the classic falling off the stage too, or someone who just kept going on a stage once, he shook my hand then keep walking, even through the curtain and fell off the back of the stage. Some people fall onto the stage too, it’s not easy sometimes keeping your feet -especially in those heels! And in terms in speeches try and keep it like my chants, short and sharp. There’s that old saying: if it’s going well, get off. If it’s going badly, definitely get off. Just know who you’re thanking and try not to have too much to drink, sometimes people get up and accept an award and it’s like they’re speaking another language! Other than that, just enjoy it. If you’ve won an award you’ve done something right so celebrate into the night.
15. Tell us some stories about the Gorbals community and growing up there. The locals have recently been supporting the “Penny for Benny” campaign in memory of one of their finest sons, boxer Benny Lynch. Is there a big sporting history from your hometown?
Yes, Benny Lynch was Scotland’s first world boxing champion, he’s from the Gorbals and died pretty young and penniless. There is is now a campaign to get Benny a statue and try and keep his memory going. I have done some work for the campaign, we should recognise our sporting heroes – this is what I’m trying to do with these chants with the sporting heroes of today. But let’s also not forget our sporting heroes that have paved the way for others. We’ve had some great athletes and great boxers in Scottish history and it all started when Benny Lynch was the first world-champion from Scotland. If there is any way that we can remember, then let’s do that. That is also a symbol of what the Gorbals is all about, the Gorbals is one of these famous, sometimes infamous housing estates in Glasgow and that’s where I grew up. I had a great childhood, I just remember all the characters. I lived in one block of flats that looked directly into another block, it was like that TV show Celebrity Squares, all the lingos, different people and where they lived. It was where I first played football, just hitting it against the wall because I didn’t have any friends. But then I got the friends and found that they hit the ball harder than the wall did! It was just great, that was my childhood. I’ve always keep that with me and I’ve never forgotten my roots. They were a great bunch of people that always kept your feet on the ground.
16. If Tam Cowan was to offer you a slot on his BBC show – Off the Ball, who would be your three chosen panel guests and why?
Well, I present the show before Tam called Breaking the News so I don’t know if the listeners could cope with listening to me all day! But if I was to jump into Tam’s show my obvious answer would be Jo Love, Joelle Murray and Leanne Ross then I could chant the chants at them and everyone could join in!
Other than that, if it’s random guests then I’d probably bring in Maradona, then Rory Bremner as he’s an impressionist so he could then bring in 100s of others, and Barack Obama because he’s the coolest dude on the planet and he’s been the Scotland before and loves it! If I can add in one more then Kate Beckinsale as she’s got good chat and she’s funny!