Gracie was a Latics fan
Gracie Fields Rochdale, Oldham and Pass Shoot Goal
Could it really be that Rochdale’s most famous daughter was really a secret Latics fan?
Gracie Fields, the forces’ sweetheart, was always said to be extremely proud of her Rochdale roots, so a newly remastered recording of her 1931 hit ‘Pass. Shoot, Goal’ has opened a can of worms in the town.
The record-breaking song was the first ever football anthem to be released by a singer, but a newly remastered version reveals Gracie may not have been as dedicated to her home-town team as was thought.
Listening to the cleaned-up recording, ‘our Gracie’ can clearly be heard to exclaim: "Come on Oldham!".
Sean Jarvis, Latics marketing director, said: "I have to say I was really taken aback when I heard it. I always thought she was a big Rochdale supporter.
"It is absolutely fantastic to have another celebrity fan. I hope we can introduce it to the Oldham fans and see what they think.
"It’s quite a catchy tune. There is a distinct possibility we could play it at the ground when we play Rochdale on July 29."
But Sir Cyril Smith, Rochdale MP for 20 years, has his own explanation: "Gracie was always one for taking pity on people!
"She always stuck up for the underdog and had a great sense of humour. I don’t know of any other reason why she would do it.
"She was very dedicated to Rochdale. I don’t know of any connections she had with Latics."
The song has now been made available for download on the internet by Document Records, a company specialising in releasing rare vintage music.
Document’s Gillian Atkinson said: "One theory is that the song was made to go with a film entitled Derby Day, presumably about a derby match between Oldham Athletic and Rochdale.
"The film was never made, but Gracie’s recording, which we have managed to digitally remaster, is still with us.
"She also sings about her home town so we just don’t know who she’s on about. Whether this record was for them or Oldham Athletic is not clear.
"What we do know is that it was the first recorded football song and chant – we did it first in the north."
Another idea is that the song could have been recorded as a fundraiser for Rochdale FC, which was going through a period of financial difficulties.
Richard Wild, of Rochdale FC, said: "We are very unsure having listened to the recording whose side she is on."
For the record, Gracie was born in Rochdale in 1898 and was handed the Freedom of the Borough in 1937.
If anyone can shed light on the song they can ring Document Records on 01988 403200.
Thanks to James Ferguson and The Oldham Advertiser