Three Lions provides the soundtrack to the summer of '96.
The England football song is a strange beast. At its best it can raise the hopes of an entire nation, define a generation of players and evoke the raw emotions that make you believe “this time, more than any other time,” the Three Lions are guaranteed for glory.
At its worst it can make you wish we’d never qualified for the tournament in the first place.
‘Three Lions’, released by David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and the Lightning Seeds, released on this day in 1996, definitely falls into the former category.
Thirty years after Bobby Moore lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy at Wembley, England were again hosting a major international tournament, the 1996 European Championship. The team was primed, the country was united and Baddiel and Skinner managed to sum up perfectly the expectations and apprehensions of every football-loving punter.
The lyrics, the tune and the heartfelt emotion made Three Lions a smash hit in the charts and on the terraces and when England opened Euro ’96 against Switzerland at Wembley, the famous stadium rang out with the sound of over 70,000 fans warbling along to what had already become a cult classic.
Sadly, we all know how the tournament ended and although football did “come home” the trophy didn’t. What we were left with, however, was one of the greatest football anthems of all-time.