It's coming home: Leeds academic explains the enduring appeal of Three Lions as fans blare anthem across city

It's hard to escape the football anthem being blared from cars, in pubs and across homes in Leeds.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 4:45 am

Three Lions (Football's Coming Home) reverberated around Wembley and across the nation at the final whistle of England s Euros semi-final on Wednesday.

England are one historic win away from their first major silverware since 1966 after coming from behind to beat Denmark 2-1 in extra-time on a famous night at Wembley.

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Frank Skinner and David Baddiel pose for pictures in the stands with other fans during the UEFA Euro 2020 semi final match at Wembley (Photo: PA Wire/Mike Egerton)

More than 25 years after the song's release in 1996, the anthem from Baddiel, Skinner and the Lightning Seeds has stood the test of time.

It's been the soundtrack to heartache, near-misses and now the prospect of winning Euro 2020.

Leeds academic Dr Simon Warner, a visiting research fellow in popular music at the University of Leeds, has explained why the song provokes such an emotional response from fans.

Dr Warner told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “There are various ingredients that go into the formula, it's musically straightforward and it’s got lyrics that are nostalgic and moving.

Leeds academic Dr Simon Warner has explained why the song provokes such an emotional response from fans

“In 1996 when the song emerged, it became associated with a very close run in the Euros that year. English football fans have hung their hat on that, because we came so close to getting to the final, and the song was a huge hit.

"It infiltrated the wider public consciousness, it wasn’t just the fans on the terraces."

David Baddiel and Frank Skinner were pictured taking selfies with fans at Wembley on Wednesday and it's the star quality of the comedians that helped propel the song's popularity in 1996, Dr Warner said.

He added that the simple 'it's coming home' refrain is full of "choral possibility"; a simple hook that fans can join in with.

"There’s not a huge range, so ordinary fans can at least have half a go at singing it," Dr Warner said.

“The song has an anthemic quality, a simplicity that people can latch onto, and it has lyrical content that is quite touching and emotionally affecting.

"I would say that fans can easily sing the song, but hearing some of the renditions I’m not sure!”

Dr Warner remembers England's 1966 World Cup win, but said younger generations are desperate to witness success - and the track embodies this.

"The song has become a banner for which they can pin their colours," he added.

“It has a longevity that I don’t expect the performers ever thought it would."

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