The year was 1966, and John Lennon and Paul McCartney were sitting down to write a song.
It was never intended to be one of their classics. Indeed, it isn’t one of their classics, a song that lacks any form of melodic innovation but nevertheless makes up for it in what it provides in catchiness, charm and joy.
The truth is, Yellow Submarine isn’t actually a good song. It really isn’t. Even the most cursory delve into The Beatles’ discography will reveal that in an instant, an unrivalled collection of timeless tracks featuring the haunting A Day in the Life, the joyful She Loves You and the idiosyncratically spectacular I Am The Walrus.
However, as of February 10, 2019, Yellow Submarine became a track I adored.
I’d heard its tune sung on the terraces before. It was audible among a minority at Ewood Park in December. It gained traction at The Hawthorns in the middle of January after Jordan Rhodes’ brilliant late finish. It was embraced by a few more during that historic evening at Elland Road on February 2.
But it was the following weekend, when Paul Lambert’s Ipswich Town came to visit the Fine City, when Lennon and McCartney’s track came to indelibly penetrate the minds of all those present at Carrow Road that day.
‘City’s going up and the scum are going down’, we sung in unison, a set of lyrics that are admittedly as basic as they come but ones that perfectly capture the fate of East Anglia’s respective teams. As a season ticket holder in the South Stand, the sight of the Barclay in that second half was utterly magnificent.
And on it went.
The decibels continued to gather strength at Bolton, Millwall and – most memorably – Rotherham, when those 3,000 City fans packed in that end behind the goal roared their heroes onto another season-defining victory.
— Chris Reeve (@ChrisReevo) February 10, 2019
The arm movements provide a visual display of City and their rival’s various directions this season. All sung together, I don’t remember a chant that I’ve found as cathartic nor enjoyable as a football fan.
But our rendition of Yellow Submarine is far from the only example our fans’ lyrical creativity this season. Think Farkelife, think Emi Buendia, think the brilliant – albeit adapted version of Manchester United’s creation – Farke’s on a Horse.
The point is, City’s atmosphere – both at home and away – has been the antithesis of what we were forced to endure at times last season, a cacophony of yellow and green noise that has axiomatically contributed to our rise to the Championship’s summit. It’s been a joy to be a part of, and has provided me – and multiple others – with some of my favourite days over the past few years.
Yesterday, it was announced that City fans had snapped up the much-publicised 5000 tickets available for our trip to Wigan on April 14, a remarkable figure given its televised nature and geographical inconvenience. Granted, tickets were cheap, but bringing such a considerable contingent to the north-west constitutes a remarkable achievement for a club that only took 400 to Preston in a game at at the same stage last season.
I was there that day. It wasn’t pleasant.
People can talk about bandwagon fans, those who travel more than others, and the totally nebulous nature of what constitutes ‘commitment’ as a football fan, but quite frankly I couldn’t care less. Regardless of how far you’ve travelled or how long you’ve supported City for, what matters this season is that our growing away support is providing our fans – and players – with memories they will forever cherish.
And it’s had a tangible role on the pitch, too. Listen to the precocious Max Aarons’ post-match interview after the Millwall game, when he alluded to the awe-inspiring nature of walking out in front of that yellow wall. These were more than mere soundbites – these were sentiments from a player who was genuinely felt our support, heard all the songs, and has been spurred on by fans to achieve greatness.
That’s what this season’s been all about. It’s been about unity. It’s been about undying believe in our heroes. It’s been about passion, been about emotion, been about joy.
Whatever happens in our remaining eight games, that’s what the class of 2018/19 will be remembered for. Lennon and McCartney would be looking on with pride.