Stop blowing, start singing

The vuvuzela trumpet is becoming unpopular with World Cup broadcasters and coaches, but the real problem is that it sto

    Four days into World Cup 2010, and what has really made the tournament stand out so far is the passion and noise from the fans.

    Football crowds can always be relied on to produce or reinvent some great songs to cheer on their team.

    Who can forget Italy's rendition of the riff from the White Stripes' Seven Nation Army at the last World Cup?

    Or England's Three Lions with its "football's coming home" refrain – cheekily stolen by a victorious Germany at Euro '96?

    So, here's my top ten great songs at the World Cup in South Africa so far.

    1. Nrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhh

    2. Blllllllrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    3. Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuh

    4. Etc

    You know what I'm getting at. Everyone is having a go at the vuvuzela trumpet at the moment. And I'm jumping right on the bandwagon.

    It was fun at first. I was an early convert. I wrote an article on it. I filmed a video on it. I grandly dubbed it the horn of Africa. Well, no more.

    Because it's not what the vuvuzela is. It's what it destroys.

    The vuvuzela is like a tropical ladybird or imported grey squirrel devastating the native stock of weaker ladybirds or squirrels.

    Invading nature

    I stood on a hill two miles away from the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on Tuesday and all I could hear was the blare of thousands of plastic trumpets invading nature. And this was just for New Zealand vs Slovakia.

    Where was the chorus of, "And it's Newwww Zealand / Newwww Zealand FC / They're by far the greatest team / The world has ever seen"..?

    Could I catch the strains of, "There's only one Vladimir Weiss / One Vladimir Weiss / Walking along / Singing a song / Walking in a Slovakian wonderland"..?

    So these aren't two of the greatest songs a crowd could sing. But football crowds are inventive, and we're being denied some great new tunes by the vuvuzela craze.

    When else does the common man get the chance to make their mark on the music scene? Japan have their karaoke but what about the rest of us?

    Ten vuvuzelas can drown out the singing of 200 fans who could have got thousands more to join in with them. There is nothing like a stadium in full voice.

    And there is nothing like sets of rival fans singing songs at each other. The result can be hilarious. If unprintable.

    Maybe it's just because I'm English, and I have already seen fan culture die a slow corporate death at home.

    At Manchester United or Arsenal you will find tens of thousands of "supporters" sitting quietly in their seats, perhaps getting up to clap when a goal is scored.

    A few thousand will sing, but it is hardly the roar that used to come from the terraces in the old days.

    Now it seems the garish bugles are about to make an appearance in leagues around the world.

    The last thing we need to kill off singing at football matches is a load of cheap trumpets. The fool banging a drum at the back is bad enough.

    So please, South Africa. Have your fun. Sell your vuvuzelas. Blow them lustily until July 11.

    Just make sure you confiscate them at the airport.


    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.