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Baddiel & Skinner’s Three Lions was almost banned due to ‘unacceptable’ original ‘Butcher at war’ lyric


Three Lions might be on repeat as the Euro 2020 final draws ever closer but the Baddiel and Skinner track almost got banned by the FA for an ‘unacceptable’ lyric in the original version.

The 1996 hit by David Baddiel and Frank Skinner has once again had a resurgence as England prepare to take on Italy in Sunday’s final.

Steve Double, former head of media relations at the FA has since revealed that the original version was almost banned by the organisation over a lyric they deemed ‘unacceptable’.

He revealed in the Mirror that he was the ‘faceless bureaucrat’ that almost vetoed the song, which has returned to the charts, over fears one line could be tied to football hooliganism.

Steve revealed: ‘The overwhelming fear of the Football Association was that hooliganism – so much more prevalent then than now – would mar the tournament and ruin the reputation of English football.’

He continued: ‘Foreseeing no issues, I read the lyrics. “Jules Rimet still gleaming… 30 years of hurt… never stopped me dreaming”. Very nice.

‘“Bobby belting the ball, and Nobby dancing…” This is good, I thought. “…Butcher at war…” Hang on. Terry Butcher was famed as England’s blood-spattered centre back from the 1990 World Cup campaign.

‘But this is football, not war. Any references to fighting were unacceptable. I picked up the red pen and struck it out. To me, it was an easy decision.

‘How can we preach peace to fans when the team’s official single was extolling war?’

Steve sent a message back to say it was ‘unacceptable’, which led to a visit from Avalon Management’s Jon Thoday who gave him ‘both barrels’ for changing the duo’s lyrics.

He revealed that he still held the power to veto the FA’s support of the single, adding: ‘With anti-hooliganism campaigns under way, it would be hypocritical for the official England record to reference war or fighting. The FA would get slaughtered for such an own goal.’

The lyric was eventually changed from ‘Butcher going to war’ to ‘that tackle by Moore’ and the song was allowed to be released with the support ofthe FA – and the rest is indeed history.

Credit: Source

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