Three Lions on as per usual
…It’s coming home
Taking place during November and December, the highly anticipated FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 starts this month! How time flies. Thirty-two nations are set to compete in eight groups to battle it out for football’s most prestigious accolade – to become World Champions. So, as this competition only rolls round once every four years, it will come as no surprise to many that a certain phrase, synonymous with the England national team, will also be doing the rounds as well. Dare we even say it… It’s coming home.
With the FA now rejecting the notion of not playing the iconic song Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home) before prominent international games, it’s safe to say that one of the most loved football anthems will be with us for years to come.
Prominent in both the men’s and women’s game and a key component in uniting the fan base, Three Lions is now played at every major national tournament. We hear it all the time. But have you ever wondered how the song came to be? How did it hit the right note with England fans? And have you been singing the lyrics wrong all this time? It’s time for kick-off so let’s get stuck in!
The need-to-know background
Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home) by Baddiel, Skinner and The Lightning Seeds was released 20th May 1996, pre-Euro 96.
As described by Baddiel, Ian Broudie (of The Lightning Seeds) thought of the Baddiel and Skinner duo as “the nation’s football fans” 4 and approached the Fantasy Football League presenters for help and inspiration. The FA’s slogan for Euro 96 was “Football’s coming home”4 so, from a sofa in a shared flat, the duo got to writing the iconic song we know and love today.
Three Lions broke chart records reaching the UK’s Number One a record four times – the first time in the charts’ 66-year history that a song has topped the charts four times with the same artist line-up.3
The song captures the nation’s hearts and as Baddiel put it, “it was the first song properly to be about football and actually to describe the experience of being an England fan.”1
Having failed to reach the World Cup two years prior, and the continued disappointment before that, Three Lions encompasses not only the highs of 1966 but our subsequent lows and eventually tugging at our hearts to remind us that there is always hope. “We know rationally that we tend to disappoint but somehow we keep on hoping that things might be different this time.”1
Footballs coming home but do we still believe?
What does ‘it’s coming home’ actually mean? Well, it depends. Which version are you listening to, 1996 or 1998? The well-known line ‘football’s coming home’ was used in both songs, however, has vastly different meanings.
For Euro ’96, ‘football’s coming home’ served as a metaphor for the tournament being held in England, the country that invented the game. Baddiel mentions “we are the homeland of football. Which historically is the case. We were the first one to ratify the rules of the game.”2 According to FIFA, football as we know it today was invented in England in 1863.
The World Cup 1998 ‘football’s coming home’ takes on a new meaning. No longer held in England the phrase now refers to winning the World Cup and bringing the trophy home.
The big lyric mistake
We all make mistakes but when we shine a light on this one it will be gleaming!
During the second line of the chorus many fans have made the mistake of confusing the, “Jules Rimet still gleaming” for something else. Some have been singing ‘Jewels remain still gleaming’ possibly referring to the crown jewels. Jules Rimet actually refers to the Jules Rimet trophy, which was awarded to the England national team in 1966. It was named after the third FIFA President who served between 1921-54.
With the World Cup starting this month, now is a chance for the nation to come together. Whether it’s the lionesses’ triumphs at the Euros or the men’s less successful performance in the UEFA Nations League. Football brings this country together and nothing does it quite as well as singing the Three Lions in a packed pub!
This year, make sure you are correctly licensed to entertain your staff and immerse your customers in this unusual Winter World Cup, from the opening ceremony to the final whistle by putting the power of music in your business with TheMusicLicence.
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