‘It’s (not) coming home’: desire, drive and the melancholy of English football

BLACK, Jack (2023). ‘It’s (not) coming home’: desire, drive and the melancholy of English football. In: ROBERTS, Will, WHIGHAM, Stuart, CULVIN, Alex and PARNELL, Daniel, (eds.) Critical Issues in Football: A Sociological Analysis of the Beautiful Game. Routledge.

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In 2021, the men’s English national football team reached their first final at a major international tournament since winning the World Cup in 1966. This success followed their previous achievement of reaching the semi-finals (knocked-out by Croatia) at the 2018 World Cup. True to form, the defeats proved unfalteringly English; with the 2021 final echoing previous tournament defeats, as England lost to Italy on penalties. However, what resonated with the predictability of an English defeat, was the accompanying chant, ‘it’s coming home’. A ubiquitous presence throughout the course of both tournaments—while chanted at England football matches, it was also repeated across social media, the press and commercial advertising—the chant originates from the 1996 single, Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home), performed by David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and The Lightning Seeds. In what follows critical attention will be given to examining how the song offers what will be argued is a melancholic outlook. By re-approaching examples of English nostalgia and hubris, this chapter will expose how illustrations of English melancholy offer the potential for promoting collective forms of expression, which, when contextualized alongside England’s lack of footballing success (for the men’s team, at least), can be offset against a melancholic mediation that is cognizant of the centrality of loss—both for the subject and our collective sporting endeavours.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sport Industry Research Centre; Sociology, Politics and Policy Research Group; Humanities Research Centre; Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2023 10:49
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 17:01
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/31257

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