Indian fans join the 'it's coming home' party

As the Three Lions continue their remarkable run in the World Cup, the phrase 'It's coming home' has been a constant utterance on the lips of English supporters.

'its coming home' england vs sweden

A young English supporter holding up a 'it's coming home' sign during the match against Sweden.   -  Getty Images

'It's coming home.' These are the three words which have gripped England during its remarkable FIFA World Cup run in Russia. The likes of David Beckham, Gary Lineker, Rafael Nadal and Michael Vaughan have all uttered these three words over the past week. You would also happen to hear various renditions of these three words in office spaces, pubs, wedding halls and the streets of England. Even the most sceptical of English fans are starting to believe that this time 'it's (really) coming home'.

 

For the uninitiated, its the chorus from the 1996 single 'Three Lions' by British band Lightning Seeds, released in the backdrop of England hosting its first major international competition since the 1966 World Cup, EURO '96.

READ: England fans celebrate World Cub win over Sweden at IKEA

Twenty-two years on, the song penned by songwriter Ian Broudie, and comedians Frank Skinner and David Baddiel, continues to be sung by its fans wherever their team plays. In recent times, however, the song is sung by opposition fans to ridicule the England team's poor performances.

The song has now found a connect with a legion of English Premier League supporting fans in India.

For Sunil Thakur from Mumbai, the song is now synonymous with England's run to the semifinals of the World Cup rather than its painful early exits in recent tournaments.

"I have been an England fan since the late 90's, in fact even before I was a Manchester United fan," says Thakur, who organises match screenings at his pub, Three Wise Monkeys, in Mumbai. "I returned from the United States (I stayed there for five years) and helped run Manchester United Supporters Club. I screened England matches from the 2010 World Cup. It was then, I came across this song and over the years it has become synonymous with every England campaign.

"Finally, England are doing well and 'It's Coming Home' has become viral. But it always was an anthem for me and for most England fans. Anyway, it hasn't come home yet, two matches still to go. One match at a time."

For another English supporter from Mumbai, the song evokes a sense of redemption after past failures.

"For people who don't live in England, this means or rather feels like life is coming a full circle," says Sai Adithya, who is a media professional.

"A lot of us started watching the sport because of David Beckham, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, the so-called 'Golden Generation' which failed repeatedly in the international stage. The spiritual home of football reaching the semifinals after two decades does feel like an alternative to redemption. And the cult anthem 'Football is coming home' embodies that feeling."

Being an ardent follower of the Premier League and the Three Lions, Sudharshan Vyas — a working professional from Bangalore — is enjoying the moment and wonders what it would be like to be a supporter in England.

Indian football supporters showing their support for England.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

"Despite previous disappointments, it must feel really special to support the team. The thing is there is always a sense that they are never going to win anything. The expectations are even lower this time around. In England, the fans are really great. The Premier League fans are the best. And it's nice to see that supporters of all clubs are getting behind the national team. Anyone would love to be in England right now," says Sudharshan.

He doesn't remember the year the single was launched or the name of the artiste but he belts it out with his mates at screenings.

"All these English people get on to the song and it's really catchy. The song beautifully explains England's success in 1966 and it's downsides. So it's a mixture of happiness and sadness. In the end, they still believe that football is coming home,” he adds.

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