A family who have written a viral song using the Match Of The Day tune to stand in solidarity with Gary Lineker are hoping it will spark ‘worthwhile’ discussions about impartiality.
History lecturer Ben Marsh, 46, his wife Danielle, 45, an administrator, and their children – Alfie, 16, Thomas, 15, Ella, 13 and Tess, 11 – posted a video of their singing on Twitter on Friday, with the hashtag #IStandWithGary.
The video – which was uploaded to Twitter on Friday night and has more than 600,000 views and over 12,000 likes – sees Ella on trumpet, Alfie on bass, Thomas on drums, Tess on triangle and Mr Marsh playing guitar. while most of the group sings the lyrics, including Alaskan Shepherd Monty.
Mr Marsh told the PA news agency that the BBC’s decision to ask Lineker to withdraw from presenting Match Of The Day (MOTD) on Friday night acted as a “trigger” for the song.
“We thought the whole thing was overkill anyway,” said Mr Marsh, who lives with his family in Faversham, Kent.
“But we felt it was worth saying something about what was going on internally.”
The former footballer has been embroiled in a fairness row after a tweet which saw him compare the language used to launch a new government asylum policy to 1930s Germany.
Mrs Marsh added that after learning of the BBC’s decision about Lineker at 5pm on Friday, she told her husband who disappeared for a while and then sent a text with the lyrics.
Some of the lyrics include: “We’ve all just seen a batch of chicken on the BBC / They’ve kicked Lineker, unapologetically” and “They backed a corner and tried to park the bus”.
Mr Marsh added that after sending his text, he received a message from downstairs which read: ‘The lyrics look great but what’s the tune?
“And [Danielle] did not indicate that the song was inspired by his Match Of The Day song.”
Mrs. Marsh replied that by the time her husband came down the stairs, “Ella and I were singing the lines to the tune.”
Mr Marsh said it took him about an hour to write the lyrics.
“The Lineker thing was running through my mind and then there was other news about Attenborough and a wildlife programme,” he said.
“On Twitter, people were saying: cancel Attenborough, cancel Lineker, but on the other hand there is the issue of impartiality and personalities like Laura Kuennsberg and Fiona Bruce at the BBC.”
“We decided we didn’t just want to make the song about Lineker, we wanted to make it about the problem of people’s assumptions about prejudice.”
It took about half an hour to record the song after Mr Marsh’s first text, with the second of the third attempts being uploaded to Twitter.
Mr Marsh said the “key” part of the song was Ella “taking the trumpet on board”.
He added: “It was quite difficult to learn.
“The first take we did, it was wrong, and then we tried it a couple more times, but neither of them were very good.
“But she was happy to use it, even though she did things.”
Asked why, Ella told the PA: “I think it was funnier because when I made a mistake and Monty was screaming, everyone had a bit more fun.”
The family have previously written songs about other contentious political issues, including a sea shanty about Suella Braverman’s dramatic resignation as home secretary in October last year – and have been dubbed the ‘Von Trapped’ family by the New York Times .
Ms Marsh said that while the song was “not perfect”, she wanted to highlight why fairness is something people should be concerned about.
“It’s a song made in a couple of hours – it’s not meant to be perfect, it’s not meant to be the most brilliant thing we’ve ever done, but sometimes music talks about things and makes people think about themselves. ” he said.
“You might not agree, you might not even have seen the story, but we felt that fairness is such an important issue and it’s something we wanted others to think about.”
Mr Marsh added: “It’s almost like something worthwhile is coming out of the whole Gary Lineker episode because it’s ridiculous for the media and everyone to be so obsessed with a celebrity sports figure rather than the real issue of immigration policy which he should have. much more talk time.
“But now we seem to have moved beyond Lineker – almost into a wider set of discussions about the public sphere.”
Many sports pundits and high-profile figures supported the former footballer, including Ian Wright and Alan Shearer who refused to present MOTD in Lineker’s absence – and Alex Scott, who tweeted that she would not be presenting Football Focus on Saturday.
Mr Marsh added that it was “really heartwarming” to see sporting figures not often associated with politics standing in solidarity.
He said: “There is a lot of power in that kind of sentiment.
“I don’t know what Alan Shearer or Ian Wright’s politics are – and I don’t really care, but I think it’s nice that they and others have supported Gary Lineker.”