Entertainment & Arts

Euro 2016: Shaun Ryder unveils unofficial England song

Black Grape Image copyright BMG
Image caption The song is officially released on Friday, to mark the start of the tournament

Shaun Ryder has released an unofficial anthem for the Euro 2016 football tournament, despite admitting he knows "absolutely nothing about football".

Called We Are England, the single features Ryder and his Black Grape bandmate Kermit, joined by Goldie and DJ Paul Oakenfold.

Black Grape fans will recognise the loping piano line and Ryder's laconic drawl as he sings "England til we die."

But the star says the song is really an anthem "for the working people".

The song was the brainchild of Paul Oakenfold, who produced Happy Mondays' Pill, Thrills n' Bellyaches album.

"He emailed me and said he wanted to do a tune for the Euros, but he didn't want it too football-y," Ryder told the BBC.

"He didn't want it political or religious; he really wanted it to be for the heroes of this country, which is the working men and women of England."

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Media captionEuro 2016: Manic Street Preachers perform Welsh anthem on One Show

Although the lyrics include the line "we're not going home half-way through", Ryder said his lack of expertise prevented him writing a more explicit football anthem.

"I always say, 'whatever you're writing about, know your subject'. So it's good that Oakie didn't want a football song.

"What I do know is that we've got the youngest team in the Euros and that, to me, is a good thing - the naivety of youth.

"Basically, these kids have been knocking goals in the back of the net since they were eight years old. I'm sure when they walk out, it'll just be another job. It probably won't phase them. They'll just go out there wanting a win, and that's a good thing."

Ryder, who is currently writing a new Black Grape album, said he "doubts very much" that the England team have heard his song, but hoped it would find favour with fans.

"I can hear this blasting out of the pubs and people's garden parties while the match is on," he said.

He also admitted to sneaking in a drugs reference - the song talks about "95,000 of us off our face" - which would exclude the song from being endorsed by the Football Association.

There is no official England song for this year's tournament, leading David Baddiel to comment that his 1996 song, Three Lions, had "killed off the football anthem".

The Welsh squad is being backed by The Manic Street Preachers, who have written Together Stronger (C'Mon Wales) as their Euro 2016 anthem.

Northern Ireland is also lacking an official song. However, their Euro 2016-bound players have recorded a version of the viral hit Will Grigg's On Fire.

And there are several fan-made songs for all the sides, including The Nouvelles' Our Oui Country, in support of the Northern Irish side; and the alternative England anthems A Nation of Tribes and This Time England.

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