The England football anthem Three Lions could be “put to bed” after the Lionesses’ triumph in the Euro 2022 final, David Baddiel has said.
“The women have reset the clock,” Baddiel, one of the trio behind the hit, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme after the win, which erased 56 years of England failing to win a trophy.
While the men’s England team have yet to reset their clock, having reached the Euro 2020 final only to lose in penalties, Baddiel added “football carries on with its ups and downs”.
The Three Lions song by Baddiel, Frank Skinner and the Lightning Seeds, was written in 1996 and has been sung almost religiously in nearly every England match since, weaving itself into the nation’s footballing culture.
When asked if it was now time to retire the song along with decades of gloom, Baddiel said: “I’m very happy to think the song would, in a way, be put to bed.” Fans, however, may feel differently the next time England loses, he said.
“It was beautiful to hear it sung out of Wembley yesterday, as we finally clinched a final, I really did think that would never happen,” said Baddiel. “It’s so amazing to actually think, ‘Oh, we’ve won, this doesn’t happen, it’s actually happened’.”
In the spirit of the Lionesses, described as “joyful” by Baddiel, players gatecrashed coach Sarina Wiegman’s press conference after the match, singing the tune as they marched before reporters, with players going as far as dancing on a table.
Baddiel recalled the first time the song had been sung at Wembley in 1996 as England beat Scotland. The refrain “It’s coming home” is a reference to the fact that when the song was released, England was hosting its first big football tournament since the 1966 World Cup.
“Basically no one knew the song had taken root at that point,” Baddiel said. “At the end of the game the DJ put the song on and 87,000 people joined in spontaneously, which is an extraordinary thing to happen.”
Baddiel added: “You’re supposed to say the best day of your life is when your children are born – I’m not so sure of that.”
Witnessing the song taken to the heart of a near 90,000 crowd on Sunday as England claimed the European title in a 2-1 win against Germany, years later and to a different audience, Baddiel said he was proud the song had connected organically with England, the team and football.
“We talk about football, we just assume you mean men’s football. Football is not default owned by men – that is something I think is only made clear very recently,” he added.
“It’s the same game, played by women or played by men. What’s totally brilliant in the last few weeks is a sense that the country can get behind it in entirely the same way,. We’ve won, not the women have won. We’ve won.”