Premier League academy players join forces to mark Christmas Truce

Players from the academies of Premier League clubs have joined with their equivalents in Germany to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Truce football match by recording of a new version of The Farm’s 1990 hit ‘All Together Now’.

“It’s a wonderful message to send out that a 100 years on football and culture are still bringing young people together”
Ged Roddy

As well as stars from the UK music industry uniting as The Peace Collective to re-record the song, the new track features a backing choir made up of 60 Under-12 players, 38 from Premier League clubs and 22 from German sides.

They came to Liverpool for a weekend and recorded the song together at Parr Street Studios, singing in English and German, while also enjoying the chance to train at both Liverpool FC and Everton FC’s academies, and meet Everton manager Roberto Martinez.

The single will be released on Monday 15 December and all profits will go to the British Red Cross and the Shorncliffe Trust. The Peace Collective were behind The Justice Collective, whose re-recording of ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’ in aid of victims of the Hillsborough disaster topped the UK charts during Christmas 2012.

The new recording is being produced by Simon Britton, and executively produced by Suggs (Madness), who produced The Farm’s original version, and Mick Jones (The Clash). Stars confirmed to appear on the new recording include Alexandra Burke, Guy Chambers, Gorgon City, Gabrielle, The Proclaimers, Engelbert Humperdinck, Holly Johnson, John Power (Cast), Jah Wobble (PiL), Jane McDonald, I Am Kloot, Shara Nelson (Massive Attack), Amelle Berrabah (The Sugababes), the winner of The Voice 2014 Jermain Jackman, and The Farm themselves, with many more to be confirmed.

‘Wonderful message’

“All Together Now was the chief inspiration for the Premier League’s Christmas Truce Tournament in Ypres, where since 2011 we’ve brought young players from England, Germany, Belgium and France to play football in a spirit of peace and reconciliation,” Ged Roddy, Director of Youth at the Premier League, said. “It’s been fantastic to work with the Peace Collective and have young British and German players sing on All Together Now.

“I was overcome to hear these fantastic voices sing it in English and German”
Peter Hooton

“These lads are only a few years younger than some of the soldiers who met on those Flanders fields a century ago. It’s a wonderful message to send out that a 100 years on football and culture are still bringing young people together.”

Peter Hooton, lead singer of The Farm, added: “I wrote All Together Now about the extraordinary events on Christmas Day 1914 when British and German troops took part in an unofficial truce, singing Christmas carols, exchanging gifts and even playing football. It was a spontaneous act of humanity that transcended the horrors and barbarity of World War One and is a story which still resonates 100 years on. It is a story of hope and peace which should be told over and over again.

“At this new recording, it was poignant that we should bring together young footballers from Britain and Germany. As the songwriter it’s an emotional song for me anyway, but I was overcome to hear these fantastic voices sing it in English and German.”

Premier League Christmas Truce National Tournament

The youngsters from the Premier League clubs will soon be together again, but in opposition this time, as they travel to Ypres next week for a weekend of competitive football and education. The Premier League Christmas Truce National Tournament will, for this year only, take place in Belgium at the site of the annual International Finals. The national tournament, from 14-16 November, doubles as the official opening of the Premier League’s new 3G pitch being donated to the city of Ypres and the local football club.

“We read the diaries of soldiers on both sides who witnessed the matches”
Joe Dolan

“I’ve been lucky enough to visit Ypres and the experience these boys are going to get playing there is amazing,” Joe Dolan, Crystal Palace’s Head of Education and Welfare said. “Coming to Liverpool they got a flavour of the significance of the Christmas Truce: we read the diaries of soldiers on both sides who witnessed the matches.

“They’re all very excited about heading to Belgium. But that’s what a Premier League education provides, it’s getting them to appreciate what happened a century ago and the privileged position we all have now thanks to the sacrifice of others.”

Bayern Munich coach Christopher Loch also believes this is a special project.

“This is what football can do: it can bring people together,” Loch said. “There was a lot of conversation between the English and German boys over the weekend about football. Then when we get them out on to the pitch they become one.

“They love football and they love being part of a team and they took that attitude into the recording studio. It was a perfect weekend and it was a very special experience for different boys from different clubs and countries to come together in a spirit of peace and harmony.”