Alex Govan, who gave Birmingham City their 'Keep right on' anthem, dies aged 86

Alex Govan
Alex Govan hopes of playing for Scotland were dashed when he was refused permission to play against Austria three days before the 1956 FA Cup final.

Alex Govan, who gave Birmingham City their 'Keep right on to the end of the road' anthem, has died aged 86.

Born in Glasgow in June 1929, outside-left Govan joined Blues from Plymouth Argyle in 1953 and went on to make 187 appearances in five years at the club.

Govan, who scored 60 goals during his time at St Andrew's, helped Blues win the Second Division title in 1955.

He introduced Harry Lauder's famous song on the team bus during the club's run to the FA Cup final a year later.

The following season, Govan's 30 goals propelled Birmingham to sixth in the First Division - their best-ever top-flight finish.

He left in 1958 for a short spell at Portsmouth before seeing out his career back at Plymouth.

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How 'Keep right on' was adopted

'It was the easiest one to sing'

There are a number of versions of how Birmingham came to adopt 'Keep right on' as their club anthem.

One, that he was heard singing it in the shower after a game, was denied by Govan, who said the song was adopted during Birmingham's run to the FA Cup final in 1956.

"We always had a sing-song on the coach wherever we went away from home," Govan once told BBC WM 95.6.

"And (manager) Arthur Turner turned and said 'Come on Alex, give us something from Scotland.'

"I couldn't sing 'I belong to Glasgow', so I sang 'Keep right on to the end of the road' - it was the easiest one to sing.

"The fans heard us through the windows and it's been magic ever since."

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