David Baddiel shares original lyrics for ‘Three Lions’ that featured different words
YouTube/Screengrab/David Baddiel/Twitter

The original lyrics sheet to the classic English football anthem ‘Three Lions’ have been rediscovered and shared on social media by the song’s creators Frank Skinner and David Baddiel.

The song was written by the comedy duo and Ian Broudie of The Lightning Seeds for the 1996 European Championships which were held in England that year.

The iconic song has remained a favourite of England football fans ever since and gets a revival whenever England do well at a major international tournament as football fever grips the nation. It was most notable in 2018 when England reached the World Cup semi-final and you couldn’t go five minutes without hearing the song.

Baddiel shared a picture of a wrinkled up piece of paper that the original lyrics were written on. They were apparently found by Skinner who didn’t realise that he still had them. Baddiel joked that it should be in the British Museum now.

The song is 25-years old this year and it was noted that the original lyrics featured two lines that didn’t make it into the final song. The well known ‘But I know they can play’ line was originally penned as ‘They don’t know how to play’. And Bobby belting the ball, a reference to Bobby Charlton’s goalscoring prowess, could have been ‘Terry Butcher at war’, a nod to former defender Terry Butcher and an iconic image of him covered in blood when playing against Sweden in 1989.

Butcher’s omission prompted an amusing response from his old England teammate Gary Lineker.

Sky Sports have since reported that the lyrics sheet is now wanted by the National Football Museum for its archives. A spokesperson said: “We would be extremely interested in obtaining the original lyric sheet for Three Lions. Given the huge impact that the song had on English football and popular culture, this is an object that our visitors would love to see.”

The song, which has astonishingly had four different spells at number one, will be re-released for its 25th anniversary in June on a special vinyl edition.

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