Norwich FC in Kampong Speu

A group of Cambodian orphans have demonstrated Norwich City’s global appeal after they were taught the words to the club’s famed anthem.

Penned in the 1890s and adopted by the Canaries when they were formed in 1902, On the Ball City is described as the world’s oldest football song still in use today.

But the famous anthem sung out by ity fans at home and away has now been taken up by a group of orphans in Cambodia.

City fan Sean Morgan, who runs the Asian Canaries Facebook page, has done charity work in Indonesia and Cambodia, and taught the famous anthem to the youngsters – who had been donated Canaries shirts by the club – when he was in Kampong Speu, Cambodia.

Mr Morgan, 65, who lives in the Long Stratton area, was with his brother Paul supporting a children’s charity there and during the visit they filmed the children, who could not speak English, as they learned the song.

Mr Morgan, who plans to go back out to Asia to do more charity work next month, said it was a “super” video.

He said: “The club donated the shirts and it was fun getting them to sing, as they could not speak English.

“The video was just a load of kids who don’t speak English and we thought it would be good fun to try and teach them On the Ball City.

“I think they just mouthed it out because none of them could speak English.

“We did it about a year ago and didn’t think too much of it.”

But since being put on social media Mr Morgan said it had around 23,000 views with former Canaries’ stars among those that have left positive comments.

He said: “We got such a good response. We got tweets back from Bryan Gunn and Iwan Roberts.”

After filming the club’s anthem, Mr Morgan said they had the youngsters “outside playing football” which they enjoyed.

Mr Morgan, who has been following City since 1962, is currently back in the UK for this year’s official Global Canaries Day at Carrow Road.

The event helps City celebrate its diverse range of supporter groups.


You may think Norwich City Football Club is best known for being owned by National Treasure Delia Smith, but did you also know that their fans sing what is thought to be the world’s oldest football chant that is still in use?

Sung just before kick-off and then routinely though the game when the fans feel their players need a bit of geeing-up, ‘On The Ball, City!’ was adopted by the club when it was founded in 1902, and was thought to have been used by other local teams before that.

Sometimes abbreviated to ‘OTBC’, it’s thought the song was written in the 1890s by one Albert T Smith who later became a director of Norwich City.

Kick it off, throw it in, have a little scrimmage,

Keep it low, a splendid rush, bravo, win or die;

On the ball, City, never mind the danger,

Steady on, now’s your chance,

Hurrah! We’ve scored a goal.




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