After the success of ‘Three Lions’ 26 years ago, comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner have reunited with Lightning Seeds singer Ian Broudie to move from producing the song of the summer to the anthem of the winter World Cup. Today, the trio released a Christmas version of the Euro ’96 hit single, accompanied by a star-studded festive video, but England fans aren’t happy.
The original ’30 years of hurt’ – factually correct back then – has been changed to a more painful ’56’, although the lyrics made sure to point out that it was ‘in the men’s game’ after the Lionesses roared in the summer. Sarina Wiegman guided the nation to its first-ever women’s major trophy in July, clinching Euro 2022 glory at Wembley Stadium.
England’s male players enter the winter World Cup in Qatar on the back of late heartbreak in their past two major tournaments. And they will once again be fuelled by the dream of ‘bringing football home’, the core lyrics of Baddiel, Skinner and Broudie’s original and latest song.
Skinner admitted: “We just had to do it. Christmas World Cup songs are not like buses. If we’d let this opportunity pull away, it would have been a very long wait for the next one.” And Baddiel joked: “It’s between me and Mariah Carey for who really is the voice of Christmas.”
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The team behind the song will be eyeing No 1 in the Official Charts next Friday to boost England during their group stage campaign. They achieved such a feat in 1996, remaining at No 1 for three weeks before ‘Three Lions’ 98′ also topped the charts during the 1998 World Cup.
New lyrics include ‘loving that Lionesses win’, ‘Three Lions on a sleigh’ and a dig at FIFA’s awarding of the World Cup to Qatar with ‘When they decided on Qatar, should have checked VAR.’ ‘What a cracker of a game’, ‘England are giving them a real good stuffing’ and ‘Ding Dong Merrily on Sky’ adds to the Christmas element of the tune.
In the music video, Baddiel and Skinner encounter their 1990s selves and decorate a Christmas tree, topping it with the 1966 Jules Rimet trophy. The hero of England’s sole World Cup success that year, Sir Geoff Hurst, sings carols with children at their doorstep wearing a festive jumper. Lionesses pair Beth England and Jess Carter also appear to sing while clips relive their summer Euro glory.
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However, the star power hasn’t done enough to win over plenty of England fans, who have shared their discontent with the updated version on social media. ‘Terrible’, ‘pointless’, ‘cringe’, and ‘pathetic’ were just a handful of words used to describe it…
One user wrote: “Absolutely tragic.” Another said: “Don’t fix what isn’t broken.” A third fan asked: “Lol do they think that anyone will listen to that over the original?” And a disappointed fourth claimed: “Great. Won’t be singing that.”
Many have accused the trio of using the popular song as a cash grab, but Baddiel shut down such suggestions earlier this year. “I want to say to them, ‘Do you know how much you get from Spotify?’ I can’t retire on [£900 between us from 16 million plays.]”
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The original ‘Three Lions’ has sold almost two millions of copies and boasts over 40 million streams on Spotify. And judging by the widespread reaction to the 2022 reverbed release, despite featuring the praise the Lionesses deserve, it’s unlikely it will age just as well.
Regardless of opinions on the new track, the nation will undoubtedly be united when England take to the field in Qatar. Gareth Southgate’s side start their World Cup journey against Iran on Monday before facing the USA and Wales on November 25 and 29, respectively.
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