Son Heung-min had spent two-and-a-half seasons at Tottenham Hotspur, made more than 100 appearances and scored 40 goals before he was finally granted his own song by the Spurs faithful.
The eminently loveable South Korea international has scored almost 100 times since, eliciting countless renditions of a fittingly cheery tune from his adoring public in north London.
Here’s everything you need to know about the fascinating origins of a song that has become a staple of N17.
Chirped out to a bouncy rhythm, Tottenham fans don’t have to memorise much to keep this jaunty chant in their head. The lyrics go:
Nice one Sonny,
Nice one Son,
Nice one Sonny,
Let’s have another one…
And repeat. And repeat, and repeat…
As a Goodwill Ambassador for the World Food Programme, Son will be pleased that even those on Tottenham’s terraces don’t let anything go to waste. ‘Nice one, Sonny!’ was originally ‘Nice one, Cyril!’, in honour of the Spurs left-back Cyril Knowles from the 1960s and ’70s.
Pat Jennings joined Spurs in the same year as Knowles and insisted that the former England international would “have been proud” to have his song moulded in Son’s image.
To find the inspiration for Knowles’ chant, you have to turn to an earworm from 1970s advertisement. Before turning his pen to a bestselling memoir, Peter Mayle conjured up the slogan ‘Nice one, Cyril’ for Wonderloaf Bread. In the iconic advert, a baker by the name of Cyril saves the day at a bakery and is cheerily praised.
Spurs fans snagged the tagline which Cockerel Chorus expanded into a single for Tottenham’s run to the 1973 League Cup final. The song, written by Harold Spiro and Helen Clarke, topped out at number 14 in the charts. Cyril Knowles played the full 90 minutes as Spurs beat Norwich City 1-0 in the showpiece event.
When did Tottenham fans first chant ‘Nice one, Sonny!’?
It’s tricky to pin down the exact moment that ‘Nice one, Sonny!’ was first whispered by a Tottenham fan. However, the reinterpretation of the classic appears to have gained a spot in the hymnbook on 11 March 2018, when Son bagged a brace in a 4-1 win away to Bournemouth.
That victory came at the end of four game sequence in which Son scored seven goals across three competitions for Spurs, forcing himself into the throat of the watching public.
Although, spare a thought for one Tottenham fan that pondered why Son hadn’t been serenaded with a specific chant all the way back in May 2017. Ten months before that hot streak, they wrote on the Spurs Community message board: “Surely he deserves one by now? I always thought the best one would be the old Cyril Knowles one.”
Even some of his teammates know the lyrics.