Euro 2020: Why do English fans sing Atomic Kitten?

Football fans are known for their love of recycling improbable pop songs into thunderous patio anthems.

From the Beach Boys ‘”Sloop John B” to the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” to Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Dave Clark Five, Earth Wind and Fire, the Village People and even Joy Division (“Giggs, Giggs will you tear it up! ”), no artist is immune to seeing his most lovingly crafted three-minute masterpiece in a loud song bellowed by thousands.

Ray Davies and the Kinks must have been completely stunned when shirtless Newcastle United fans burst into their version of ‘Lola’ praising Shola Ameobi and God only knows what Simon & Garfunkel may have done with ‘Mrs Robinson “reimagined by Leicester City fans as:” Here’s to you, Danny Drinkwater, Leicester loves you more than you know. “

The more improbable the source material, the better, with perfection surely achieved over the past decade, when Gala’s “Freed from Desire” became: “Will Griggs on Fire! Your defense is terrified! “

Your correspondent has vivid memories of being woken up in the middle of the night in a university residence by a watered tribute to the Portuguese deity Cristiano Ronaldo to the tune of “My Guy” by Motown icon Mary Wells.

“There’s nothing you can do when he’s past you, Ronaldoooo…” a college colleague hummed under the light of a silvery moon.

The English team has of course inspired a great selection of original compositions, notably “Three Lions” by Baddiel and Skinner, “World in Motion” with New Order and John Barnes and “Vindaloo” by Fat Les.

But there still has to be room for spontaneity in these things and maybe there is no more foreign English anthem than the reuse of “Whole Again” by girl group Liverpudlian Atomic Kitten as a profession of love for Gareth Southgate.

Quite why this particular song from the band’s album during the Sven-Goran Eriksson era At present (2000) should have been heard, but it certainly was at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where the nation learned to fall in love with its national team again.

So often a tournament-level disappointment in recent years, the Southgate men have challenged us all to dream with their valiant run to the semi-finals (before crashing into Croatia on penalties).

During that intoxicating summer of three years ago, M&S had a run on its men’s waistcoat line as the England manager found himself an unlikely fashion icon as sweltering pubs across the country resonated with the frankly deranged chorus:

“Thinking back to our first meeting,

“I can’t escape and I can’t forget,

“Southgate is you,

“You always turn me on,

“Football is coming home!”

The craze hasn’t gone unnoticed by the kittens themselves, Natasha Hamilton posted a video of herself singing the new version of their old hit on Twitter and the band are apparently considering re-editing the track with revised lyrics.

But the popularity of “Whole Again” as a football anthem actually predates its adoption by English fans, apparently from Celtic fans looking to pay tribute to Swedish defender Mikael Lustig in the 2017-18 season. , the player better known for his dismal fishing. fluffy mustache.

“Anytime anything you’ve created is widely accepted, it’s a lesson in humility and touching,” said one of the song’s four credited writers, Andy McCluskey, of great synth artists. 1980s pop, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark. The Guardian in 2018.

“I wonder who made that first link when they started singing it … suddenly everyone was doing it.”

We can expect to hear a lot more when England’s late Euro 2020 campaign kicks off against Croatia on Sunday.

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