Unless you were hiding under a rock in the summer of 2018, you would’ve at some point heard the song ‘Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home)’. Although the lyrics of the song were penned by comedians, Baddiel and Skinner, the music was written by britpop band, The Lightning Seeds, well known for British anthems such as ‘The Life of Riley’. Three Lions may as well be the national anthem when England compete in summer tournaments, and its britpop sound makes the relationship so strong between the genre and the sport.
In the 90’s, the emergence of bands such as Oasis and Blur certainly caught the ears of the ‘laddy’ football fans. The rowdy sound to the early Oasis albums were a huge influence on the behaviour of fans at matches. Liam Gallagher’s bad boy carefree reputation was idolised by fans, and the passion for britpop music started to grow amongst young lads. Their song ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ I’m sure inspired a certain lifestyle among football fans, if it wasn’t the lifestyle already, with lyrics encouraging the agenda that all you really need in life to make you happy is a drink, a smoke, and drugs. It’s fair to say if you go to football games now, that’s still pretty much all you see from fans of a certain age, particularly in the championship, leagues 1 and 2, and non league, with the premier league seeing a few more tourists at fixtures.
The holy trinity also known as football-beer-music was growing. Oasis being huge Manchester City supporters I’m sure helped the cause. Songs such as Parklife by Blur also sound so strongly related to the working class sport of football, with the song sounding aggressively British, with a cockney narration of lyrics which the working class lads in love with the game of football will strongly relate to. Britpop was like a celebration of the working class, and that is something so many passionate football supporters can get behind. Common People by Pulp is another example of an anthem to celebrate working class, with the song describing an upper class girl who meets a standard lower class lad (the narrator), and develops desires to live normal like him. Notable lyrics in the song include ‘Cut your hair and get a job’ and ‘Smoke some fags and play some pool’. Just a couple more lyrics which would certainly appeal to the loyal supporters on the terraces.
I can’t write about britpop and football without mentioning ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ by The Verve being the song in the ITV intro for England games. A classic, a national favourite with some fantastic lyrics to go with a catchy instrumental. ‘Slave to money then you die’ is arguably one of Richard Ashcroft’s best lyrics, and is once again expressing the voice of the working class people, and it surely can’t be a coincidence that this song has become a football anthem to an extent, thanks to ITV’s choice of music.
This concludes an insight into the way 90’s britpop brought football fans to really love and connect with music, and spark a strong relationship between this genre of music and the sport. In my opinion, the two now go hand in hand. When I hear a lot of britpop, the whole culture surrounding football comes to mind, and I’m sure many can relate.