'Football's Coming Home': Souness once demanded the legendary England song be axed

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Following their side’s resounding 4-0 victory over Ukraine in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 on Saturday night, England fans across the country are daring to dream that it might (finally) be coming home.

Passionate supporters packed pubs, bars and public screenings at the weekend to watch Gareth Southgate’s men stroll into the last four of the tournament. By the end of the evening, a familiar song had been belted out countless times by enthusiastic England fans in every venue.

First recorded 25 years ago by David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and The Lightning Seeds in the run-up to Euro 96, ‘Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home)’ has served as the unofficial anthem of the national team ever since.

Since its release (as we are all well aware), England have failed to claim any major international silverware. The Three Lions’ best efforts on the big stage have been a pair of semi-final exits (at the aforementioned Euro 96 and the 2018 World Cup). 

Despite this, ‘Football’s Coming Home’ has remained a firm favourite of the nation – and will no doubt be loudly roared on numerous occasions tomorrow evening at Wembley Stadium as England take on Denmark for a place in the final of Euro 2020.

One man who made it clear that he was no fan of the song during the last World Cup, however, was former Scotland international-turned-TV pundit Graeme Souness.

Now, as a proud Scotsman capped 54 times for his country, it is understandable that the 68-year-old might not have the track at the top of his personal playlist. Souness, though, actually went as far as to say that he wanted the song banned when he spoke about it three years ago (subscription required).

In a newspaper column penned in the aftermath of England’s defeat to Croatia at the World Cup, Souness suggested that England boss Southgate should ask FA chiefs never to play the track again.

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“If I was Gareth Southgate, sitting down to write his Russia 2018 report for the FA, then top of my notepad would be the following – never allow that song, ‘Football’s Coming Home’, to be played again during a major tournament,” declared Souness.

“Football’s coming home, is it? So, England effectively own the sport. I don’t think so.

“They didn’t have a monopoly on it when their teams and the FA were big players in the global power game back in the last century, and they don’t now.”

As controversial as Souness’ opinion might be, he insisted that his words were not motivated by jealousy.

“You can say: it’s just a song, only a bit of fun. But if I’m an opposition player, it would irritate
the life out of me. That’s my motivation there and then, and that’s how Croatia said they had channelled the song.

“These are not the words of a bitter and twisted Scotsman. I have spent most of my working life in England and want to see the national team do well,” concluded Souness.

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It is worth remembering that these comments were made a while ago – and may no longer reflect how Souness feels about England’s favourite football-inspired anthem. However, as a man known for sticking to his guns, we’re guessing that he is unlikely to have had a massive change of heart.

Regardless of how Denmark – or Souness – feel about it, expect to hear ‘Football’s Coming Home’ rattled out consistently before, during and (hopefully) after tomorrow night’s match.

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