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Page last updated at 17:38 GMT, Thursday, 24 February 2011
Alex Govan reveals how "Keep Right On" became Blues anthem
Alex Govan
Govan spent five years with Blues after joining from Plymouth in 1953

When Alex Govan was asked to sing a song on the team coach more than half a century ago, he had no idea the one he chose would become so ingrained in the history of Birmingham City.

It was during the club's run to the FA Cup final in 1956 that Harry Lauder's "Keep Right On" was adopted as Blues' anthem as Govan led a sing-song.

"It was quite an easy one as you didn't have to know a lot of the words.

"It just rhymed and was all about keep right on," Govan, now 81, told BBC WM.

There have been a number of different accounts over how the club came to adopt the song as their own but proud Scot Govan is adamant it was on that coach trip to North London for their quarter-final against Arsenal.

Team sing-song

"There's lots of stories I've heard. I've read that I was in the shower and someone heard it from there," Govan said.

Birmingham City returning home after defeat to Manchester City
Despite defeat to Man City, the team was given a warm welcome home

"Well I'm not that good-a-singer and to hear it through a brick wall would be going some."

"We always had a sing-song on the coach and Arthur Turner (Birmingham manager) turned and said 'come on Alex give us one from Scotland' and I thought 'I can't sing I belong to Scotland' so I sang Keep Right On 'til the end of the road," he revealed.

As the coach pulled into the entrance at Highbury, the players' singing was heard by the Blues fans who had congregated nearby and it quickly became popular.

Song becomes popular

Birmingham City's 3-1 win over the Gunners stimulated interest and enthusiasm for not only a potential trip to Wembley in the FA Cup final but also in Govan's newly-introduced anthem.

"From the Highbury game on it got better, bigger and louder all the way to the final and it's been magic ever since," he said.

The Blues anthem 'Keer Right On'
'Keep Right On' was written by Harry Lauder around 1917

Blues went on to beat Sunderland in the semi-finals to set up a final with Manchester City at Wembley.

Despite being heavy favourites Blues fell to defeat losing 3-1 and Govan's dream of winning the Cup were dashed.

But 55 years on Govan is tipping his old club to do what he and his team-mates could not do in 1956 - bring back a winners' medal.

"I honestly think that if we score a goal, we've got as good-a-defence as anybody I can't see them beating us," he said.

Wembley success in 2011?

Govan still visits St.Andrews to watch the current side and says the winger Seb Larsson is one that stands out.

"I'm a very big fan of his. He's a lovely crosser of the ball, very skill-full and he looks a decent player to me."

Whatever happens at Wembley on Sunday, 27 February, Birmingham City fans - all 31,000 of them - will do their best to inspire their side.

Wembley will reverberate to chorus after chorus of "Keep Right On" and they have Govan to thank for that.

BBC WM will have live coverage from Wembley on Birmingham City v Arsenal in the Carling Cup final on Sunday, 27 February 2011 from 1500 GMT.





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