England’s football fans will have to come up with their own soundtrack for this year’s World Cup as it emerged the team will not have an official tournament song.
The Football Association (FA) have not commissioned a squad single nor is there a planto endorse an unofficial song to mark the competition in Russia next month.
Despite previous records such as Three Lions, Vindaloo and World In Motion developing into anthems on the terraces and streets of the host countries, officials at St George’s Park have distanced themselves from the tradition.
Gareth Southgate is preparing to name his 23-man squad for the tournament before the June 4 deadline and has two friendlies against Nigeria and Costa Rica to focus on.
It appears the manager does not want any off-field distractions to hamper his team’s build-up and an FA spokesman said: “There is no official World Cup song planned.”
It is not first time the Three Lions have been without a sanctioned anthem, although unofficial attempts have had some chart success.
Reports of an effort by Chas and Dave, who have just released new music for the first time in 30 years, were met with a muted response from the band’s manager and drummer Nik Hodges, who said: “There’s certainly no solid plan.”
At the last tournament in 2014, Gary Barlow’s reworking of Take That track Greatest Day, featuring stars of pop and English football, such as Pixie Lott and Gary Lineker, was dropped in the lead-up.
A video was unveiled for Sport Relief in March that year but a single, originally planned to go on sale nearer the start of the tournament, was never released.
England did not have an official anthem in 2010 either, although an unofficial release featuring James Corden and Dizzee Rascal called Shout managed to top the charts.
The 2006 World Cup song World At Your Feet was released by Embrace and went to number three in the singles chart.
The Spice Girls performed with Echo And The Bunnymen star Ian McCulloch on (How Does It Feel To Be) On Top Of The World, which was released under the name England United for the 1998 World Cup.
But it was outsold by a revamped version of an official track for the 1996 European Championships – Three Lions 98, by David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and the Lightning Seeds – as well as by Vindaloo by Fat Les.
American signer Jason Derulo has recorded Fifa’s official anthem Colours for this year’s tournament.
England have not qualified for a semi final of a major tournament for 22 years and the last time the team made the final was when they won the World Cup in 1966.
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The Top 10 England World Cup Songs
In the build-up to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the Telegraph’s Rachel Cooper compiled a list of the top 10 England World Cup songs.
- England World Cup Squad – Back Home (1970) Straight in at number one is the track that set the trend for players swapping the pitch for the recording studio. The lads seem to have enlisted the assistance of a marching band for this rousing tune that stayed at the top of the charts for three weeks.
- England and New Order – World in Motion (1990) Featuring John Barnes doing a brave job as MC, the squad teamed up with New Order to create this electro-pop classic, co-written by Keith Allen. Could daughter Lily follow in his footsteps and record the 2010 anthem? Could Fabio, Master and Commander, discover a talent for rap? The suspense is killing us. Watch on YouTube
- Baddiel and Skinner/The Lightning Seeds – Three Lions 98 (1998) Originally written for the European championships in 1996, this matey Britpop chant was rolled out again for the ’98 World Cup campaign. Awash with shameless nostalgia, it has an unnerving ability to make one come over all misty-eyed. Watch on YouTub
- England World Cup Squad – This time (we’ll get it right) (1982) Or not. An ambitious England squad promised much but failed to deliver, returning home from Spain after a disappointing 0-0 draw in the second round. Maybe this time, they really will get it right. Watch on YouTube
- Fat Les – Vindaloo (1998) An inspired, subversive parody of the football chant genre. Or a hooligan’s anthem? Opinion is divided over the track penned by Keith Allen (him again) which became the unofficial song of the 1998 tournament. Watch YouTube
- England United – (How does it feel to be) on top of the world (1998) Sung by the future Mrs Beckham, along with Spice Girl bandmates, Echo and the Bunnymen and the Lightning Seeds, this chirpy poppy number was somewhat eclipsed by the above track. Watch on YouTube
- Rider feat. Terry Venables – England Crazy (2002) El Tel recorded a double A-side with band, Rider, with one terrace-friendly chant version and another Frank Sinatra-style swing version. The video for the latter shows a rather delighted-looking Venables surrounded by scantily-clad showgirls. Watch YouTube
- Ant and Dec – We’re on the Ball (2002) The perky Geordie duo re-worked the old Arsenal anthem to sing the team on their way to Japan and Korea. Other tunes of the summer included Martin Bell and Jonathan Spurling’s ‘Sven, Sven, Sven’. Watch on YouTube
- Embrace – World at your Feet (2006) This rather clean-cut, Coldplay-esque number from Yorkshire rock band, Embrace, faced stiff competition from the likes of Ricky (‘Come on England’) and Crazy Frog to become the 2006 team’s official anthem. Watch on YouTube
- Glenn Hoddle and Chris Waddle – Diamond Lights (1987) OK, so it’s not strictly speaking a World Cup song and probably not worthy of a place in this run-down either, but we couldn’t resist mentioning this synth-pop opus, courtesy of the Spurs team-mates. Complete doggerel, just like their rhyming surnames, but worth watching the video purely for the Miami Vice jackets and dodgy haircuts. Watch on YouTube