“This remarkable place, the youngest child of England's enterprise, is an infant, but if an infant, an infant Hercules.”
The words of Victorian minister William Gladstone on a visit to Middlesbrough in 1862, a town at the heart of the industrial revolution.
Soon after that, in 1876, Middlesbrough Football Club was formed – and would go on to become a symbol of the spirit and character which embodies the region.
And it was Gladstone’s words that inspired Teesside-based musician Joe Hammill, best known for his work with his band Cattle & Cane, to write Infant Hercules, a song which celebrates our heritage.
“There's so much in Teesside’s history that we should be phenomenally proud of,” Joe said.
“I love the hard-working 'get on with it' attitude of this area. I tried to get that across in the song."
Now, that song will be immortalised, with the lyrics to Infant Hercules printed inside the collar of every Boro home shirt created by Hummel for the 2018/19 season.
"To have my lyrics printed on the Boro shirt is a real privilege,” said Joe, a lifelong supporter of the club.
“That definitely wasn't something I thought would happen when writing it! I like songs that make you want to push your chest out with pride and I hope Boro fans feel that with the song.
"There's something about the area that you can't quite identify in words. I guess spirit would be the closest I can get.
“I’m unbelievably excited to see the new kit, and to be part of it – without a doubt it’s one of my proudest moments in music.”
A brand-new recording of Infant Hercules will be released this Friday June 15 ahead of an EP and Joe's debut solo headline show this September.