Chant of the Week: Welcome Home

Chant of the Week: Welcome Home
Bill Wolf

Welcome Home started off as an experiment with the club. It is clear that the experiment didn’t succeed. The chant itself sparked huge waves of emotions with many people hating it but even more loving it. When the experiment ended, many rejoiced in relief, but many to this day continue to call for it to return.

Ironically, the chant never left. People are often surprised to hear that Welcome Home is the first chant played at EVERY home game.

But let’s back up a moment. What exactly is the story behind Welcome Home?

Image Source: The Pride

Image Source: The Pride

From early on, in the history of FC Cincinnati, many supporters were wondering if it was possible to have an “anthem” that could be sung at home games by the entire stadium. Something that would speak to everyone’s hearts and souls and resonate with the Orange and Blue.

Could something like Liverpool’s “You Never Walk Alone” be recreated in Cincinnati in a uniquely Cincinnati way?

Many ideas were tossed around until someone stumbled upon the idea of Welcome Home from the band Over the Rhine. It had recently been used in a Cincinnati Bell commercial aired during the Super Bowl and for many weeks thereafter. It was well known and a song so uniquely Cincinnati that it just made sense. It was a bit long and definitely slower than was ideal, but maybe it could be adjusted?

Step One, get the band to agree to its use turned out to be easy. A quick email and not only were they happy to allow it’s use but were excited to help in any way.

Step Two, getting the club to agree turned out to be much more difficult. It took almost a full year of discussion. This was the first time, the club and supporters had agreed to coordinate on something like this together. Music would be played in the stadium. Lyrics would be posted. Approval climbed the ladder all the way to Carl Lindner III.

Step Three, execution was a disaster. Keeping things simple, the original song was used. It was too slow and people felt it didn’t get them excited enough before the match. But aside from that, there were several other execution issues. The song was done almost 20 minutes before kickoff when the stadium was only a fraction full. The music through the PA was too soft so people struggled to sing along with it. Relying on the lyrics on the video boards didn’t help as the posted lyrics failed and had to be stopped mid-song.

Several more attempted were made. The band was contacted to make an altered version of the song. They submitted something but the supporters’ groups didn’t get the opportunity to give feedback and though the remix was shorter and a little quicker, it still didn’t move beyond a ballad in style.

The remix continued to be used for future games, but the start time was way before kickoff and singing the song with a mostly empty stadium to players who are warming up or maybe in the locker room was kind of anti-climactic. Ultimately, the experiment was called off. A failure in the minds of many.

But the song lives on. It is the first chant done in the Bailey for every home match. The DJ doesn’t play music and the video boards don’t have the lyrics, but the supporters continue to carry the idea forward.

The song is quicker, has a driving beat and expresses the sentiment the supporters want to give to the team. “Welcome Home! You are in Cincinnati. The people and this city embrace you.”


My roots grow by the river,
They're deeper than the sea,
These people and this city,
They hold and anchor me,

And the arms of The Ohio,
Hold me where I long to be,
When I call Cincinnati
Welcome home, she answers me,

Welcome home, welcome home
Oh, Cincinnati, Ohio
When I call Cincinnati,
Welcome home, she answers me,

Whoaaaaa, ohhhhh,
Oh, Cincinnati, Ohio,
When I call Cincinnati,
Welcome home, she answers me.


There are a lot of lyrics in this chant compared to many others, but even so, this is a subset of the full lyrics from OTR with a little soccer chant liberty of tossing in “Whoa” and “Oh” for the last group.

Of significance, however, is that unlike most chants, the lyrics are not changed. Most often, with chants, the melody is kept but the lyrics are modified to fit the team. In this case, the song already fit the sentiment that the supporters were looking to convey.

Keeping a song relatively intact meant talking to the band to ensure that they were ok with FCC supporters using their work. Fortunately, the band graciously agreed to this use of their music.

Beyond that, the original song is a ballad. To create more energy and excitement as the team prepares for battle, it has been adjusted to a march style. The tempo is faster and there is a driving beat from the drums.


The Knights of the Bailey put together a simple video on their You Tube channel demonstrating the chant.


Most people who live in Cincinnati have probably heard the original song from Over the Rhine, but there was also a brief documentary where they discuss writing the song and some of the emotion and thoughts behind it.

If you haven’t heard the original song, here it is for your listening pleasure. Notice the tempo is slower and the style is light and free.

And of course, full credit to Over the Rhine for allowing the FC Cincinnati supporters to use their song. The learn more about OTR and their music, visit their web site.

Previous Chants

Read about previous chants of the week:

Forza Cincinnati
Hey FC Cincinnati
Cincy Till I Die
Let’s Go

Cincy Chants

Did you know there was an app for your phone that would tell you what chant was being sung by the Bailey? Check it out. Available on Android and iOS.

Cincy Chants


Bill Wolf