Ingerland Factor Home Truths from Football

In 1999, a short piece written by Peel, ‘The Ingerland Factor Playlist: Can You Hear The English Sing?’, appeared in the book The Ingerland Factor: Home Truths from Football (ed. Mark Perryman, Mainstream Publishing). Peel described his contribution as “a list of music you might like to hear played in a stadium overseas that would make you feel specifically English.” While many of the ten selections are somehow related to football, not all are generally associated with the national team and a couple appear to have been included by Peel primarily because of their Liverpool associations. Others seem to relate more generally to a theme of England and the English.


  1. Fall: Kicker Conspiracy – “I have to admit that I have never fully understood what this is about. … But there is a venom in it which seems to capture nicely some of the feelings you have about football even when you know it is inappropriate to have them. … Probably the best football record ever, apart from Pepe Kalle’s ‘Roger Milla’.”
  2. Barmy Army: Sharp As A Needle – “Produced by Adrian Sherwood, it doesn’t really get much better than this classic Barmy Army track. Incongruously, there is a West Ham reference – Sherwood is a Hammers fan – but the music relates otherwise to Kenny Dalglish, with a sideways nod to Ian Rush… Years after its release, I still can’t hear it without a lump in my throat. … If I heard this in a stadium overseas I would cry uncontrollably.”
  3. Kop: You'll Never Walk Alone“Nobody seems to sing anymore. Perhaps it’s uncool. No recording of the Kop will ever really capture Anfield at its Shankly-era best but the song and the sentiments are simply astonishing.”
  4. George Frideric Handel: Zadok The Priest - “The hymn that is best remembered as being sung at our royal coronations. I’m not a royalist, not even a patriot, more of a European I suppose. But then Handel was a German and this piece of music, and the way it builds and builds until it finally explodes in joy is pretty much unstoppable.”
  5. Members: Sounds Of The Suburbs – “This captures something of the England I like, as much as other records by artists praised for their Englishness – XTC or The Kinks.”
  6. Kinks: Waterloo Sunset – “This was the record most mentioned by listeners who responded to my plea for e-mailed assistance with this play-list.”
  7. Billy Bragg: A New England – "This selection has nothing to do with the obviously apposite title, but everything to do with Billy. A genuinely decent man in an often loathsome business.”
  8. Rod Stewart: Maggie May - "The Faces, with Rod Stewart, I loved them live. Best gigs ever, just about. With their concert in Sunderland – the night Sunderland had beaten Arsenal at Hillsborough in the FA Cup semi-final, the year they went on to beat Leeds in the final – the best ever.”
  9. Blur: Song 2 – “A band often accused of epitomizing Englishness. That always seems so limiting somehow. Nevertheless, a modern classic that would serve to remind you of home if you heard it pumping out of a public address system just about anywhere.”
  10. Robert Wyatt: Shipbuilding – “There has to be a slower and more reflective tune in here somewhere. … The song reminds us of the dangers of mob emotions, mob politics, mob rule.”
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