IF hearing 30,000 Novocastrians sing, “Two worlds collided and they could never ever tear us apart,” on Saturday night doesn’t give you goose bumps, you might need a defibrillator.
The moment the INXS classic Never Tear Us Apart blasts out before a Newcastle Jets home game is always a special moment.
However, never has the track been broadcast over the McDonald Jones Stadium PA on a grander occasion than it will be on Saturday night. The A-League grand final. The Cinderella Jets versus the might of big-city Melbourne Victory.
Football, or soccer, has always been synonymous with singing from the terraces. It’s arguably that fan-created atmosphere that separates the world game from other football codes like rugby league and union.
Undoubtedly the most famous football song is Gerry & The Pacemakers’ You’ll Never Walk Alone, sang before every Liverpool home game.
The sound of a packed Anfield belting out the ballad is spine-tingling, even for non-Reds fans. Perhaps, unless you support Manchester United or Everton.
Never Tear Us Apart, written by Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence for INXS’ chart-topping 1987 album Kick, became the official Jets song at the beginning of the 2008-09 season, following the club’s grand final victory over the Central Coast Mariners.
The song was chosen after winning the vote by a “landslide” on the forum of the newcastlefootball.net fan website.
Initially the song was sung in the grandstand by the Squadron and other active supporters before the club began playing the track over the stadium PA later in the season.
“There was talk for a long time to get an anthem like [Liverpool supporter group] The Kop have and others have with their unique songs,” former Squadron president Tim Verschelden says.
“I think Never Tear Us Apart really worked for us due to the blue-collar feel of the town, which INXS has. Plus the lyrics of the strong have that close feeling about a relationship and love for something.”
In 2014 fans of AFL club Port Adelaide also adopted Never Tear Us Apart as their official pre-game anthem.
The song has taken on a life on it’s own since season 2008-09 due to the turbulent history of the Jets, which has literally seen the club almost torn apart on multiple occasions.
Firstly there was the departure of grand final heroes Mark Bridge, Stuart Musialik and Andrew Durante after their premiership to rival A-League clubs and the subsequent wooden spoon in 2009.
Initial owner Con Constantine then had his license revoked in 2010 after failing to pay players and staff. Football Federation Australia handed the ownership to then millionaire mining tycoon Nathan Tinkler, before that ended spectacularly in 2015 in a mountain of debt, disillusioned fans and a wooden spoon.
Even with Chinese billionaire Martin Lee providing a smoother financial trajectory, the club was grounded last season with a third wooden spoon.
However, through it all the fans have remained faithful to the Jets and the words “never tear us apart.”
“The lyrics have rung true over the years because if you look at our membership, we’ve always maintained an average of around 10,000 through all of those turbulent times, so it’s interesting how the song has rung true,” says long-time Jets member Michael Sneesby.
Foundation Jets player, grand final-winner and former captain Matt Thompson understands fully how the players will be feeling as they walk onto the Turton Road pitch to the sound of the INXS anthem.
“When everyone was singing it, it was an incredible feeling,” Thompson says. “When there’s 15,000 people singing the same song it’s hard not to remember that sort of stuff.
“The Jets fans, even when they weren’t singing songs, were always really boisterous from the first minute to the 90th.”