English fans furious over Christmas remake of Three Lions

Following the success of ‘Three Lions’ 26 years ago, comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner have teamed up with Lightning Seeds singer Ian Broudie to go 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 festive star-studded video, but England fans aren’t happy.

The original ’30 years of pain’ – actually correct back then – has been changed to a more painful ’56’, though the lyrics made sure to point out that it was ‘in the man’s game’ after the Lionesses roared in summer. Sarina Wiegman guided the nation to her first major women’s trophy in July, clinching Euro 2022 glory at Wembley Stadium.

The England men’s players enter the Winter World Cup in Qatar after late heartbreak in their last two major tournaments. And they will once again be fueled by the dream of ‘bringing football home’, the central lyric of the original and newest song by Baddiel, Skinner and Broudie.

Skinner admitted: “We just had to do it. World Cup Christmas songs aren’t like buses. If we’d let this opportunity slip by, it would have been a very long wait for the next one.” And Baddiel quipped: “It’s between me and Mariah Carey who really is the voice of Christmas.”

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The team behind the song will seek number 1 on the official charts next Friday to power England through their group stage campaign. They accomplished just such a feat in 1996, staying at number 1 for three weeks before ‘Three Lions ’98’ also topped the charts during the 1998 World Cup.

New lyrics include ‘I love lionesses to win’, ‘Three lions in a sleigh’ and a dig at FIFA’s awarding of the World Cup to Qatar with ‘When they decided on Qatar they should have checked the VAR’. “What a great game,” “England’s giving them a nice fill,” and “Ding Dong Merrily on Sky” add to the Christmassy element of the tune.

In the music video, Baddiel and Skinner meet their 1990s selves and decorate a Christmas tree, crowning it with the 1966 Jules Rimet trophy. The hero of England’s only World Cup victory that year, Sir Geoff Hurst, sings Christmas carols with the children on his doorstep wearing a festive jumper. Lioness couple Beth England and Jess Carter also seem to sing along as clips relive their European summertime glory.

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However, star power has not done enough to win over many England fans, who have shared their discontent with the updated version on social media. ‘Terrible’, ‘nonsensical’, ’embarrassing’ and ‘pathetic’ were just some of the words used to describe it…

One user wrote: “Absolutely tragic.” Another said: “Don’t fix what ain’t broke.” A third fan asked, “Lol, do you think anyone will listen to that instead of the original?” And a disappointed fourth said: “Great. I won’t sing that.”

Many have accused the trio of using the popular song to make money, but Baddiel dismissed those suggestions earlier this year. “I want to say to them, ‘Do you know how much you get from Spotify?’ I can’t retire [£900 between us from 16 million plays.]”

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The original ‘Three Lions’ has sold nearly two million copies and has over 40 million streams on Spotify. And judging by the widespread reaction to the reverberated 2022 release, despite the praise the Lionesses deserve, it’s unlikely it will age as well.

Regardless of opinions about the new track, the nation will undoubtedly be united when England take the field in Qatar. Gareth Southgate’s side begin their World Cup journey against Iran on Monday before taking on the USA and Wales on November 25 and 29 respectively.

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