Photo by Georgio, via Flickr
Incase you haven’t heard, England are officially going to win the Euros this summer. Yet, as our past record in tournaments demonstrates, we can’t physically enter the competition unless we have a banging anthem. A song, a chant, a clarion call to arms, to be wailed on boozy breath from the backs of stubbled, pale throats.
You only need to look at “Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home)” to get a feel for how much the right song can capture it all. The drama, the sadness, the hope, the despair, the lions on the shirt, the tears in the eyes, and the middle aged man ripping a plastic seat off with his bare hands and then tossing it into the face of a celebrating Swede. England doesn’t just need a song for champions, it needs one for dreamers, for romantics, for thugs and for lovers. To be honest, it needs “Three Lions” again, but we’ve used that twice so we’d better think of something else.
Which is why, with our winning squad in place, we are primed to start our search for the official England tournament song. I have picked eight very solid possibilities. Tracks that could unite this nation and carry them on to glory, come achilles heel or high water. Here they are:
THE MEN BEHAVING BADLY THEME TUNE
Right, so, I’ve always thought this would make a great football anthem, and I know I’m not alone. There is no more appropriate tune to accompany England’s new abble of rogues and upstarts than the creamy saxophone of the greatest lads sitcom of all time. Seriously, put this on in the background, watch some compilations of Jamie Vardy scoring goals, and tell me that doesn’t make you want to stand up and salute a £5 note. Get the Pukka Pies marching band to learn it and we’re sorted.
Idea: We get Barry from Eastenders to record “Mustang Sally” like he does in that episode of Extras, except we change the lyrics to “Dele Alli.” Just to recap, that’s Barry from Eastenders singing a version of “Mustang Sally,” wherein the words “Mustang Sally” are replaced with “Dele Alli.” Something to the effect of, “All you wanna do is ride Dele Alli, ride Alli ride.” I’m full of great ideas like this.
RONNIE PICKERING SHOUTING "PUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTH SHUT"
Ronnie Pickering is in some ways the spirit animal of this new England team—a big, steaming hot mess of a brutish English rage. He’s Roy Hodgson shouting “bugger” as he burns his hand on a baking tray, Gary Cahill smacking his dog on the top of his head for shitting in porch, James Milner lobbing his Nintendo DS on the floor. This is not a squad who are going to win through flair or precision. They are going to win through sheer, dumb self-assurance, by being vaguely threatening, and by running really fast. They are going to stare the greatest football teams in Europe squarely in the eyes and say “do you know who we are? We are Ronnie Pickering.”
Germany: Put your fucking mouth shut.
Italy: Put your fucking mouth shut.
Spain: Put your fucking mouth shut.
France: Put your fucking mouth shut.
You get the picture.
GEORGE MICHAEL - "AMAZING"
George Michael = Amazing. England = Amazing. This song = “Amazing.”
PHILIP GLASS - "KOYAANISQATSI"
Nobody knew how, but they did it. 6,000 traveling England fans penned into the terraces, a hive mind communing without words, singing Philip Glass’ Koyaanisqatsi in its one hour entirety. The sounds of shrill tuba and cello inexplicably leaving the yellow-toothed mouths of men. They sang, they sang, they sang, Rooney lifted the trophy and Roy Hodgson’s feet left the ground as he ascended into the sun.
BLACK LACE - "WE ARE THE ENGLAND FANS"
This track is a few years old, but deserves a re-up, particularly considering that it is basically every conceivable chant and football related composition happening at once. It is the Batman Versus Superman of football songs, a gargantuan mash-up so grotesque and unsightly it becomes almost fascinating. Even the title, “We Are the England Fans,” sounds like something a belching plasterer from Hastings would slur in response to a French restaurant manager asking, “Who the hell do you think you are?” Not to mention the unignorable presence of a bloke shouting the word “FLAGS” intermittently. Then, to cap it off, there’s the video itself, which features a cast sourced entirely from the maybe, possibly, definitely racist Facebook group your Aunty Pat is on. This isn’t just the sound of England winning the Euros, it’s the sound of England full stop.
ORDINARY BOYS - "I LUV U"
Do you remember the summer of 2016? The sun shone every day from the start of May until the last day of September. We all found our soulmates in crowded parks, dangled our feet in fountains and drank Lilt together. Do you remember the summer of 2016? Bernie Sanders became the president of America, Donald Trump turned out to be a Sacha Baron Cohen prank, and David Cameron left office to live with that pig. Do you remember the summer of 2016? Three new amazing Star Wars films came out, ice creams cost a penny and for some reason the Ordinary Boys were back in the charts. I held your hand as we lay on my bed at 8pm, it was still bright outside and the beams suspended flecks of dust above our heads, I pulled your hair behind your ear and whispered the words, “I luv u,” and “England are going to win the Euros.”
That's right. All 3,182 alliterative lines of Beowulf, one of the great Old English poems. We'll all begin reciting it when the tournament starts, and by the time England inevitably reach the final, we should be reaching the climax. Let's see the Spanish respond when we all chant in unison: "Nor have I ever seen, / Out of all the men on earth, one greater / Than has come with you; no commoner carries / Such weapons, unless his appearance, and his beauty, / Are both lies." GET IT UP YA!
FIVE, QUEEN - "WE WILL ROCK YOU"
This seems like as good a time as any to talk about the time Five covered “We Will Rock You.” It’s truly one of the worst cultural artefacts of our time. A tacky industrialist slab of post-Matrix futurism in which five blokes with gel in their hair and rings in their eyebrows postulate and pretend to rap against the backdrop of a ghoulish Brian May set 60 feet abreast a skyscraper. If this is what we thought the future was going to look like in the year 2000, then it’s a miracle we carried on. Yet, all that said, “We Will Rock You” has all the perfect hallmarks of a football chant. It doesn’t have a tune, so you can’t sing it out of key, it contains vague platitudes about victory, there’s clapping involved, and it’s already regularly played at football matches up and down the country. Plus, the royalties would raise some money for Abz Love so he doesn't need to keep selling all of his awards on eBay.
BADDIEL, SKINNER & THE LIGHTNING SEEDS - "THREE LIONS (FOOTBALL'S COMING HOME)
Shall we just do this one again? Yeah, let’s just do this one again.
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