Church of England Diocese of Guildford Dunsfold


16 Sep 2020, 10:15 p.m.

The empty stands inside football stadia during the coronavirus pandemic have seen clubs bedeck their vacant seats with sponsors' adverts and promos for the club's commercial offerings. Which is why the sight of West Bromwich Albion's ground during their Carabao Cup win over Harrogate Town this week was particularly eye-catching.

One half of their stand carried a massive banner proclaiming "The Lord is my Shepherd." And that highlights the fact that Psalm 23 is now recognised as West Brom's club anthem.

Liverpool fans may sing "You'll never walk alone", Tottenham fans have rearranged "The Battle Hymn  of the Republic" and Stoke have bizarrely claimed Tom Jones' hit "Delilah", but the song sung after every goal by the home team at the Hawthorns is Psalm 23. 

The reasons for this are part of the folklore of West Brom and the simple fact is that nobody knows for sure. A compelling claim is that it started in 1974 when clubs were forced to play on Sunday during the miners' strike because mid-week matches under floodlights were banned to save energy. West Brom's first Sunday match was a trip to Everton amid much heated debate about playing league football on the sabbath.

Some Albion fans claim that their response to the criticism they faced for besmirching that particularly sabbath day was to sing Psalm 23 and it has stuck with them ever since.

Another anecdotal version passed on claims a set of fans found a hymn book on a bus and started signing the contents. The most popular was The Lord's My Shepherd and it stuck. Who knows? But the genesis of a great idea is in there somewhere.