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Chants would be a fine thing

Football anthems used to be about the game coming home, but next year the World Cup song will be about it going back to school.

Secondaries across the UK are being asked to help with a single to be released next summer to celebrate the 2006 World Cup.

The song is by three-man indie band Ricky, whose debut single, "Stop Knocking the Walls Down", reached number 32 in the charts in February.

The single, "We Are England", will include vocals performed by 100,000 pupils from around the country. They will chant, "Easy, easy, easy", a mildly mocking chant popular among teenage viewers of Sky Sports' Soccer AM programme.

James Lines, the band's lead vocalist, said: "Over the past 15 years, football has become far more socially inclusive. We wanted to reflect that by getting as many people as possible involved from the leafy suburbs of Surrey to the inner-cities of Manchester and Liverpool."

The band wrote to 300 schools initially, and 75 agreed to take part. They have since written to a second batch of 300 schools, and will soon follow up with another 300.

By the end of this term, they will have visited 18 secondaries, recording hundreds of pupils chanting in each. The process will continue until next April, when the band hopes to return to each school and play back the finished recording of all 100,000 pupils.

"From a cynical point of view, this will obviously generate lots of sales," said Mr Lines. "But when we're in schools, kids approach us and ask about the equipment.

"Just to see the smiles on their faces, how much they're enjoying it, makes you feel that you're giving them something."

Pupils at Noadswood comprehensive, in Hampshire, are among those who have already lent their talents to the single.

Malcolm Porter, head of music, said: "The pupils didn't need any training beforehand - they're accustomed to making very loud noises. But I doubt I'll buy the single. It wasn't the most musical thing I've ever heard."

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