“There’s only one human race, Many faces, Everybody belongs here”.
As I jumped into Gordon Strachan’s white BMW, these lyrics started playing and I instantly recognised the band performing them as James, a band who had been part of the soundtrack of my teenage years. Gordon started singing along, “There’s only one human race, Many faces, Everybody belongs here…”
“I didn’t realise you were a fan of James, Gordon,” came my ice-breaker to the ex-Celtic manager, whom I had never met before.
“A fan?” repeated Gordon with an exaggerated look of surprise normally reserved for Scottish referees. “I’m their biggest fan.”
Gordon went on to explain how he and lead singer, Tim Booth, had forged a close friendship since meeting back in 1993, at a time when Gordon was captain of Tim’s beloved Leeds United, and James were riding high on the back of their Laid LP.
The song the three-in-a-row Celtic manager was singing along to, he explained, was called Many Faces, which appeared on the band’s 15th album, Living in Extraordinary Times. For the rest of the journey to pick up one of his ex-players, Paddy McCourt, in a Falkirk hotel for a live speakers’ event, Gordon explained the significance of this song; how it was about equality and how it had been chanted by a capacity crowd at FC Porto’s Dragão Stadium earlier that month (January 2020). I was intrigued and, throughout the night, I kept hearing Gordon singing the lyrics to himself, “…Everybody belongs here.”
The Everybody Belongs Here initiative was developed by James guitarist, Saul Davies, who worked with FC Porto to raise awareness of this tolerance and inclusion campaign, which aims to help end racism, hate and homophobia in football and beyond.
Everybody Belongs Here Mission
“Discrimination has no place in society whether based on skin colour, religion, nationality, age, gender, sexual orientation, mental or physical capability. This initiative aims to uphold the values of tolerance and understanding to emphasize our humanity whether that be in the world of sport or our wider society.”
The song was presented at a sold-out Dragão Stadium on 17th January 2020 for FC Porto’s league encounter with SC Braga. FC Porto stated at the time that the club aimed “to promote the values of inclusion, respect and equality, as the club has always taken on its responsibility in increasing public awareness for these very important subjects in today’s society, such as equality, and fighting any instance of social or territorial discrimination.”
“In modern society there is no place for discrimination,” added Saul Davies. “It is up to us, artists and sports people, men and women, to uphold the value of tolerance and promote justice and understanding. I am very proud to stand next to FC Porto in this initiative, which enables uniting a great sports team with a great song, for the benefit of us all. After all, we are all part of the human race and we all belong here.”
A Celtic State of Mind supports the Everybody Belongs Here initiative. Please visit the official website HERE for more information and to register for future updates.
Paul John Dykes