Nothing says footy like our club songs. Some go back over 100 years old and where everything old fashioned has been replaced or superseded, the original recordings remain timeless. But which one of the original VFL dozen is best?

A brief background..

You can trace some of the theme songs back to the early stages of the 20th century, where old-school tunes were given new lyrics and the novelty of singing the song after a win soon become tradition.

In 1972 the Fable Singers got together and recorded some football numbers, most of which were the iconic club songs we still hear today belted around venues pre and post game.

All of them sound immensely different but in many ways, they’re all sung by the same blokes with very similar banjo or brass-backed instrumental.

Over time some attempts to re-do have tried but ultimately failed, none more so than Richmond two years ago where even though the difference was subtle, the original was yearned for and it came back.

But they are as iconic as anything in our game, and of the clubs that have come since the VFL became the AFL, very few have come remotely close to replicating the magic. Kudos to the Giants, our newest club, who tried to invent their club song through a lens of ‘what would the Fable Singers do?’ and their Big, Big Sound has almost pulled it off.

But onto our ranking. None of these are bad, the one I have in twelfth is actually a ripper. But this is the season for rankings, for lists, so we must.

12. Carlton

Too slow. Good song, its got a cult following for the “da da da da daaa” but other than that, its last on the list for lack of pace.

11. North Melbourne

Stiff. The chorus is worthy of bottom-two, but the long version is actually great. Hearts to hearts and hands to hands… is brilliant. But the chorus is lacking.

10. Essendon

Starts a little too flimsy for mine with the immediate banjo. The other teams they don’t fear is a good line, with the drawn out final word, but its not as good as the following ones. Probably a bit stiff, but someone has to be tenth.

9. Geelong

Solid middle of the pack song, good song, not bad lyrics and excellent use of rhyme in getting from dawn to dark with down at Kardinia Park, well before the sniff of night games were a thing yet.

8. South Melbourne

Luckily for us we still hear the original. In the move to Sydney they literally had to re-record one word, the line Swans will go in and win overall was one South will go in and win overall. Good song. Not stellar though.

7. Melbourne

Stiff as well, we don’t mind it. Perhaps lacking a little tempo. And maybe we’ve heard it too often by a lone trumpeter at Dees home games in front a packed members and no-one else, so its lost some gloss. But a great old song.

6. Collingwood

Deliberately marked it down for bias, but the ‘Goodbye Dolly Gray’ war song is a ripper tune for a footy club song. It’s got good pace, which isn’t everything, granted, but it helps with ‘catchiness’ for sure.

5. Hawthorn

Intro helps. The good instrumental before any lyrics is real nice. The all for one and one for all bit in the middle is superb. But got a ripper beat to it and whilst we’ve heard it too often in September last decade, its a good’n.

4. Footscray

The current version, re-worked and re-worded for the Western Bulldogs, its bottom-four. But the Sons of the ‘Scray original is a classic. Great music, great lyrics, upbeat tempo, its a ripper.

3. St Kilda

How could something so simple be so good? Because its pure, its got great drumming, and its as inspirational as it is basic. A beauty.

2. Fitzroy

Like Footscray/Western Bulldogs, the current Brisbane song, based off the old Fitzroy song in the merger, isn’t crash hot. But the old Roys’ song is magnificent. We said the Pies had a great tune to base a song off, the Lions with the French national anthem have a belter. Great lyrics, things like We are the boys from old Fitzroy and Fitzroy, Fitzroy, the club we hold so dear, Premiers we’ll be this year… its just gnarly.

1. Richmond

What did you expect? Between Oh we’re from Tigerland and then the Yellow and Black! its an open and shut case, sadly.


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