Introducing a series of articles about England World Cup Anthems…some of which were released during Euro years.
Football, isn’t it? Hmm? Small boys, in the park, jumpers for goalposts?
(Christ, I’ve just remembered there’s yet another Fast Show reunion on TV this month.)
But yes, football indeed – and this year’s is the one where everyone has to pretend to care because England Are Playing, and you’re an unpatriotic bastard if you happen to want to give it a miss because you don’t like football.
I’m in the unique position of loving Leeds United but hating most other aspects of football. The overpaid players who get treated like movie stars and try to act like them by diving on the field; the mass commercialism of the game that’s helping the rich get richer and the poor get poorer; the never-ending rafts of retiring players who speak such bollocks on television and get away with it because their career grants them the authority (if not the intelligence to string a sentence together that isn’t entirely made up of clichés.) I even hate the amount that the word ‘literally’ gets used when coupled with these daft metaphors. (Read Literally Corner when you’re done here – it’s so funny.)
But there was a time when I was a whole lot less cynical about the national team; when I was just young and impressionable enough to think they could win a World Cup or European Championship. National pride and morale was at an all-time high during the 1990s, and one thing which helped to boost that good feeling was the music which came out around the time of a tournament. Songs by the likes of New Order, Fat Les and, of course, Baddiel, Skinner & The Lightning Seeds were able to get us all a bit more emotionally invested in the game.
That whole side of things has always fascinated me, and although there hasn’t been an Official World Cup Song approved by the FA for the past two tournaments, it hasn’t stopped artists from releasing their own ode to England Pride.
I’ve had a good listen to a few of the songs released during the 1980s and 90s and picked out a few songs to write about; trying to get a sense of the culture surrounding the game and the music itself, starting later on this week and hopefully continuing through the beach holiday heaven I’ll be dragging myself off to a week today.
Here’s your starter for ten:
(Shit, sorry, that was supposed to be a Simply Red song of the same name. Actually, no, you’re welcome.)