The famous "One Nil to The Arsenal" chant has had a giddy life starting from German organist Pachelbel, on to gay disco outfit Village People, then to the sublime Pet Shop Boys, and finally settling upon the mighty Arsenal terraces.
The first leg of the 1994 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc Des Princes was rife with the tensions of early ‘90s provincial fandom. “The Boulogne Boys [PSG’s right-wing hooligan supporters] were looking for Arsenal fans to attack in the build-up to the game,” recalls London-based Arsenal supporter Kevin Whitcher, who was in attendance that night. “It was chaos.”
At halftime, Arsenal led 1-0 on an Ian Wright header. The stadium DJ played the Pet Shop Boys’ version of “Go West,” which had risen to No. 2 on the charts the previous year, and the PSG fans, led by the Boulogne Boys, started chanting “Allez, Paris Saint-Germain” along with the chorus. The Arsenal fans cheekily improvised their own version of the chant, one that reflected the scoreline—“One-nillll, to the Arsenal.”
PSG leveled the game in the second half and it ended in a draw, but the song stuck. “It was an easy chant to catch onto and spread like wildfire among the traveling support,” says Whitcher. “It caught on at the return leg at Highbury [1-0 to Arsenal] and the final in Copenhagen [also 1-0 to Arsenal], so it was helped by the results in those matches.” Today it is still one of Arsenal supporters’ best known cheers, while supporters groups across the world sing their own chants to the tune of “Go West,” and variations on the melody even played official roles at two World Cups. It’s safe to say that earworm of a melody is one of the most iconic anthems in all of sport. But to understand how all this came to pass, we have to go back 300 years.
And Deadspin have written a rather nice article about it here called: The 300-Year Journey From Classical Standard To Gay Disco Anthem To The Most Iconic Anthem In Soccer