It bests Fat Les’ Vindaloo. It dumps all over New Order’s World in Motion, featuring John Barnes in an unfortunately unforgettable rap solo. And it frankly makes that South Africa 2010 song by James Corden and Dizzee Rascal sound like audible garbage. Baddiel & Skinner and The Lightning Seeds’ Three Lions, far and away the greatest novelty football song of them all, is not just a huge novelty tune, but a huge tune full-stop.
It makes sense, then, that the song is, 22 years on from its original release, making a stunning comeback. Boosted by England’s unexpected success in Russia and fuelled by curious millennials semi-ironically revelling in World Cup fever, Three Lions’ sudden uptick in popularity may get it to number one in the UK music charts this weekend. That’s nothing, however, compared to the memes that the song’s resurgence has spawned.
— Danni Carr (@dannixluisax) July 3, 2018
Inspired by Three Lions’ catchy, vaguely nonsensical “It’s coming home” refrain, the memes so far have been second-to-none. They play on the hyperbole that typically surrounds England in international tournaments and optimistically estimate that wins against micro-nations like Panama now make England favourites to win the World Cup. They range from the odd, to the droll, to the honestly downright inspirational.
Here are 12 of the best Three Lions memes, courtesy of the internet.
It’s just about still coming home. pic.twitter.com/NCwuVW9aCi
— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) July 3, 2018
The two main men behind Three Lions have, 22 years after first putting the song out, officially memed themselves. According to them, it’s “just about still coming home”, and we should probably trust them – they are the experts, after all.
— Terry Mac (@YidTel) June 27, 2018
Caesar’s final line in Rise of the Planet of the Apes gets an update, so that, no longer concerned with his own freedom, the king of the apes just wants James Franco to know that football is coming home.
No mum, I’m not coming home. It’s… pic.twitter.com/VdFHVoEfTI
— Jesse Lingard (@JesseLingard) July 3, 2018
Even members of the England team are getting in on the Three Lions meme action. Here, Jesse Lingard goes meta for a case of Three Lionsception, and shares a picture of himself calling up his mam to let her know he’s not coming home, but that something else might be.
Classic New York sitcom Friends isn’t an obvious candidate for adaptation into an England football meme, but here we are. In this clip, where once The Lion Sleeps Tonight played through the scene, it’s now Three Lions that Ross, Joey, Chandler and Ross’ monkey Marcel are boogying on down to.
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) July 3, 2018
Not content to miss the Three Lions meme wave, even Match of the Day had a go with a simple yet effective pic-caption combo. Here, dapper England boss Gareth Southgate is being informed that what he’s watching is football, and that it is indeed coming home.
A glorious scene from lad-cry classic The Shawshank Redemption is given a makeover, so that the song Andy Dufresne plays for the awed inmates of Shawshank prison now reassures everyone that England are destined for World Cup victory, maybe.
"Do you Harry Edward Kane know it's coming home?"
"I do" pic.twitter.com/Gb1y8xNZFW
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOE_UK) July 3, 2018
Joe adapt a scene from 1998 comedy A Night at the Roxbury, so that now Gareth Southgate interrupts an ecstatic Harry Kane’s wedding to remind him and the rest of the lads that a win may be on the cards.
— Rob Jones (@RobertoJonesio) July 4, 2018
Can the World Cup trophy make travel arrangements, relocate from Russia to a home in the English countryside and physically rap on the front door? No. Therein lies the genius of this comedy meme.
— Kierran Fletcher? (@KIERRANNN) July 3, 2018
Nobody knows why Harry Kane appears in this photo to be using an ancient phone while dressed as Crockett from Miami Vice – but, as we can see here, some are speculating that he was in fact calling a cab service, so that someone might come to take football home.
— ryan (@VintageLanzini) July 3, 2018
You probably never thought that the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the FIFA World Cup would ever comfortably be able to merge in a single meme, but this is the internet, and now we have Dr Strange predicting a glorious future for the English national team.
— 9GAG Football ⚽ (@9GAGFootball) July 4, 2018
Snappy dresser Gareth Southgate has got a lot of attention this tournament for his sartorial choices as much as his decision-making on the field, but how closely have any of us actually examined his trademark waistcoat? A closer look reveals a message of hope stitched into the fabric.
What if I told you it's coming home? pic.twitter.com/sUjxFLkGJo
— Puppy (@puppyvybes) July 3, 2018
The ultimate Three Lions meme, this Matrix-inspired clip is an absolute triumph of media repurposing and absurdist humour. No longer is Neo resurrected by his sheer willpower and possible divine intervention: it’s his belief in England, and more to the point in football coming home, that now brings the One back from the dead.