• Premier League

Stoke fans defend right to sing Tom Jones hit 'Delilah'

ESPN staff
December 11, 2014
Stoke fans sing their version to "encourage the team", says supporters' club spokesman © Getty Images
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Stoke supporters have defended their right to sing a crude version of the popular Tom Jones song 'Delilah' following a call in Wales for it to be ditched as a rugby anthem.

Fans of the Premier League club can regularly be heard singing the 1968 UK No.2 hit, replacing the lyric about killing a woman with wording that could be considered sexually offensive.

Former Plaid Cymru president Dafydd Iwan has called on Wales rugby supporters at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium to find something else to sing, claiming the song "trivialises the idea of murdering a woman".

Delilah, written by Les Reed, Barry Mason and Sylvan Whittingham, tells of an opportunistic killing by a man, who waits until his former partner's lover leaves her home before making his move.

The Welsh Rugby Union appears disinclined to ban the song, and Stoke fans may also be reluctant to give it up.

Bryan Shaw, a spokesman for the Stoke City Supporters' Club, said: "It's just a song we sing to encourage the team. I don't think anybody among the fans would ever even think it has anything to do with domestic violence.

"It's all tongue-in-cheek and I'm sure it's just an issue of today's society where 99% of the country just get on with it but someone looks for a hidden meaning."

The song, in its original form, includes the lyrics: "At break of day when that man drove away, I was waiting. I cross the street to her house and she opened the door. She stood there laughing ... I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more."

The Stoke supporters' version changes the central lyric to: "I put my d*** in her hand and she laughed no more."

Iwan, who held his senior role with Plaid Cymru, the Welsh nationalist party, from 2003 to 2010, is also a folk singer.

He said: "It is a song about murder and it does tend to trivialise the idea of murdering a woman and it's a pity these words now have been elevated to the status of a secondary national anthem. I think we should rummage around for another song instead of Delilah."

A spokesman for the Welsh Rugby Union said: "Within rugby, Delilah has gained prominence through its musicality rather than because of its lyrics.

"There is, however, plenty of precedent in art and literature, prominently in Shakespearean tragedies for instance, for negative aspects of life to be portrayed.

"The Welsh Rugby Union condemns violence against women and has taken a lead role in police campaigns to highlight and combat the issue.

"The WRU remains willing to listen to any strong public debate on the issue of censoring the use of Delilah but we have not been aware of any groundswell of opinion on this matter."

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