Put 'Em Under Pressure

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"Put 'Em Under Pressure"
Put 'Em Under Pressure.jpg
Single by Republic of Ireland Football Squad
LabelSon Records, London Records
Producer(s)Larry Mullen, Jr.

"Put 'Em Under Pressure" was the official song to the Republic of Ireland national football team's 1990 FIFA World Cup campaign in Italy.

Produced by U2's Larry Mullen, it featured an intro by Moya Brennan. The song was created by Larry Mullen Jnr, Denis Woods, John Donnelly. Engineered by John Grimes who was assisted by Colin O’Mahony. It also featured Davy Spillane on the Uilleann pipes. The Jack Charlton soundbites were captured by Colin O’Mahony from reels of archived radio interviews.[1][2]

The chorus was by performed by some U2 fans that were hanging about outside studio 3 on Windmill Lane in Dublin. There was an attempt to record the team but it was a disaster. Somebody had the great idea of using beer to loosen up the team's vocal cords.

Anthony "Anto" Drennan is credited with playing lead guitar on the single. He actually recorded it in a single take which is very unusual.

It is often assumed that the guitar intro was a straight sampling of "Dearg Doom" by the Horslips; however this is not the case. The Horslips song "Dearg Doom", was itself based on the traditional Irish tune, O' Neill's March, (which appeared as Marcshlua Uí Néill on Sean O Riada's 1969 album "O'Riada sa Gaiety",) and which refers to Hugh O'Neill and his part in The Nine Year War.[3]

Thanks to this song the title became a catchphrase of then manager Jack Charlton, whose soundbites were sampled for the verse; the chorus was a combination of the familiar football chant "Olé Olé Olé" and a reworking of "Ally's Tartan Army" (which was itself set to the tune of "God Save Ireland"), the unofficial theme tune for Scotland in the 1978 FIFA World Cup, and for 13 weeks the song was at number one in the Irish Singles Chart.[4]

The song is regularly played in celebration at Irish homes matches.[5][6][7] It was used as the opening theme for the compilation episode of BBC Switch series Chartjackers.[8] In 2011, RTÉ One aired a quiz show titled Put 'Em Under Pressure, presented by Gráinne Seoige.[9]

The phrase Put 'Em Under Pressure is to this day used in relation to the Ireland national football team.[10]


  1. ^ Lynch, Declan (1 April 2010). "Days of Heaven: Italia '90 and the Charlton Years: Irish Soccer's Finest Hour". Gill & Macmillan Ltd – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Keane, Trevor (1 October 2010). "Gaffers: 50 Years of Irish Football Managers". Mercier Press Ltd – via Google Books.
  3. ^ DailyEdge.ie. "11 reasons why Put 'Em Under Pressure is the greatest Irish song ever".
  4. ^ Keane, Trevor (1 Oct 2010). Gaffers: 50 Years of Irish Football Managers. Mercier Press Ltd. p. 211.
  5. ^ O'Brien, Brendan (16 November 2011). "Here We Go Again". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 16 November 2011. Old favourites like Put ’Em Under Pressure were pumped out over the PA system, a new generation of fans experienced their first attempt at the Mexican Wave and punters entertained themselves by floating paper aeroplanes onto the pitch. It was that kind of evening: Giddy and childish and wonderful.
  6. ^ Finn, Melanie (16 November 2011). "Cheers boys". Evening Herald. Retrieved 16 November 2011. As the fans chanted 'Keano, Keano', and 'Ole Ole Ole', the DJ blasted out famous soccer anthem Put 'em Under Pressure as the crowds in Dicey Riley's cheered on their heroes.
  7. ^ Tevlin, Rory (17 November 2011). "Irish nurse sore heads after Euro qualifying party". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 17 November 2011. Old classics such as Put ’Em Under Pressure and Give It A Lash rang out lustily.Heroes such as Ronnie Whelan and Ray Houghton from past campaigns also joined the party.
  8. ^ Producers: Jonathan Davenport and Adam King (21 November 2009). "Compilation". Chartjackers. Series 1. Episode 11. BBC. BBC Two.
  9. ^ Presenter: Gráinne Seoige (Fall 2011). "All episodes". Put 'Em Under Pressure. Series 1. Raidió Teilifís Éireann. RTÉ One.
  10. ^ Kelly, Paul (11 November 2011). "Put 'em under pressure, former Latvia boss Johnson urges boys in green". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 11 November 2011.