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Is this the FA Cup's most famous song?

Image Credit: Unsplash

Ash Sanders, 10th May 2022
Tags: Life News Sport

This weekend, Chelsea play Liverpool at Wembley Stadium in London for the men's FA Cup Final. The FA Cup is the oldest football competition in the world - this is the 141st final - and is watched by around half a BILLION people. This means roughly one out of every 16 people on the planet will be tuning in! 

Whether you'll be cheering for the Gunners or the Blues on Saturday, before kick-off you'll hear two songs being played by a brass band, with the crowd joining in. One of these songs is to be expected - the national anthem, better known as God Save The Queen. But what is the other?

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It is actually a 19th Century hymn, called Abide With Me. Yep that's right, 90,000 football fans will be singing a hymn at Wembley on Saturday! This song has been sung since 1927 before every FA Cup Final. That year, the Chairman of the FA had been tasked with finding a new song to open the event with. He suggested Abide With Me to King George V (our Queen's Grandfather) who loved the idea. In fact, Abide With Me went down so well with fans in 1927 that the newspaper report for the game the next day described the game as 'The Singing Final'. 

Abide With Me is still sung to this day, and plenty of famous faces, such as singer Emile Sande, have been tasked with singing it to the sell-out Wembley crowd over the years. Some artists, such as Audrey Assad below, have even covered the song in a modern way.

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But what does the song mean? 

Usually a song such as this would be sung in a church. It was written by Henry Lyte, a priest who worked for a church in Devon. He got unwell toward the end of his life and wrote Abide With Me as a response to the hard times he was facing. It is essentially a prayer, for God to remain with him throughout his difficult tests of his life, and can have great meaning when sung in this way today too. 

Here at xRhythms we rarely review music from the 1800s, but as it was FA Cup Final weekend we are making an exception! So if you are going through a tough time like Henry Lyte was, perhaps the lyrics or the simple melody of this song he wrote will provide you with some comfort. Listen out for it before the game on Saturday too!

To finish, here's a clip of the youngest FA Cup Final scorer in history doing his thing - Michael Owen was just 18 when he did this! You're never too young to achieve greatness!

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