Coventry Chronicles: 10 German bombers |

Coventry Chronicles: 10 German bombers

Sophie Dingle Coventry Chronicles app image
Sophie Dingle Coventry Chronicles app image

When my husband and I first moved abroad eight years ago, we started a list of things that we wanted to do while in Europe. Since then, the list has both shrunk as we’ve crossed things off — a gondola ride in Venice, real pizza in Naples — and grown as we’ve added to it — a visit to Wimbledon, exploring Stonehenge. But the one thing that has remained on it for the past eight years was seeing a European soccer game. Actually, I should say football.

We finally got the chance last week when we were invited to watch England play Brazil in a “friendly” match in preparation for the 2018 World Cup. Described by news outlets all over England the next morning as a “dull game,” honestly it was anything but.

Sophie and Ryan Dingle attended a soccer match between England and Brazil at Wembley Stadium. Courtesy photo

Let me paint you a picture. It started on the train to Wembley that afternoon. The revelers were out in full force. I should mention that we were with my husband’s entire hockey team. If you’ve ever spent an evening with a hockey team, you know (or can imagine) that things can get rowdy. But the soccer fans on the train that afternoon made the hockey players look tame in comparison.

As a side note, and to show you how unsuspecting we were, I should mention that the train ride to Wembley is about an hour long. Beforehand, I had been thinking that it would be a great opportunity to have a quick nap while I was away from my babies, one of whom still wakes up four times a night. Wrong.

If you’re ever looking for a fun time and a free drink, ride the train to Wembley with soccer fans. The fans go to every game, home and often away. They have an imitation FIFA trophy that they carry around with them and a water bottle full of rum that they’re more than willing to share.

One of my husband’s British teammates, who had organized the day, asked if we wanted to go to a bar or a “proper pub” beforehand. Obviously, we picked the proper pub.

What’s a proper pub, you might ask? One with lots of chanting. We ended up at the Green Man, where everyone goes before games for beers and chants. Here’s the chant, which, once you hear it 20 times, is impossible to get out of your head.

“There were 10 German bombers in the air

There were 10 German bombers in the air

There were 10 German bombers, 10 German bombers,

Ten German bombers in the air

 And the RAF from England shot one down

And the RAF from England shot one down

And the RAF from England, the RAF from England

The RAF from England shot one down”

Repeat until you have no more German bombers in the air. The chant is a patriotic British children’s song, obviously invented during World War II. I cannot even begin to imagine what happens during games versus Germany.

Around verse five, I realized that it was the tune of “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain,” so the next time I go to sing that to one of my sons, I will probably sing to them about German bombers instead. The things you pick up when living abroad.

The game itself, said to be the dullest part of the evening due to the 0-0 score, was thrilling. Wembley holds 90,000 people and makes Mile High Stadium look collegiate. Cheers erupted each time a player touched the ball or even made a move to touch the ball. And the 2,000 Brazil fans were holding their own against 88,000 Brits. It was electric.

And it was everything we had imagined a European football game to be: crazy fans, flags and chants, lots of dramatic falls and a very loud train ride home. Another item off the list.

Sophie Dingle is a freelance writer currently living in England. Dingle’s husband, Ryan, is a Steamboat Springs native and professional hockey player; you can follow their adventures online at


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