How England fans' ode to Gareth Southgate owes a debt to Celtic supporters

By Euan Davidson

June 12, 2021

England supporters fell in love with Gareth Southgate in 2018, but when they needed inspiration to show it, they turned to Celtic supporters.

Subsequently, it led to Atomic Kitten considering rereleasing their hit ‘Whole Again’ [NME]. But as England get ready to embark on their Euro 2020 campaign, how did we get here?

Mikael Lustig, obviously.

During the 17-18 season, Celtic supporters decided we needed a song for Mikael Lustig after years of excellent service at the club. The Sweden international, with a lovely two syllable surname, fits seamlessly into countless pop songs. But Atomic Kitten’s ‘Whole Again’ was the decision, and it stuck [].

It was a fun, if strange year for chants in general. Scotty Sinclair fitting into “Ramp (The Logical Song)” by Scooter was an unpredictable turn, yet it happened. Both chants became popular, and as is so often the case [Celtic Wiki], an original Celtic creation was pinched. And if our version of the song bordered on the schmaltzy, England’s is even worse.

Via The Independent, and I’m so sorry for this, here’s England’s version:

“Looking back on when we first met,

“I cannot escape and I cannot forget,

“Southgate you’re the one,

“You still turn me on,

”Football’s coming home again!”

England ode to Gareth Southgate earned more headlines than Celtic and Lustig

Sadly, Atomic Kitten didn’t make any official response to Celtic’s use of the tune, the last to feature original member Kerry Katona [NME]. They did, however, respond to questions about the Gareth Southgate version.

The Liverpuddian trio’s Natasha Hamilton shared a tweet of her singing the new lyrics, while one of the original writers, Andy McLuskey told the Guardian:

“Any time something you’ve created becomes widely accepted is humbling and touching. I wonder who made that first connection by starting to sing it, and suddenly everyone was doing it.”

Lustig you’re the one… / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

I wonder who, indeed, Andy!

We are used to injustice. To being overlooked, underplayed and uncredited. But this will not stand – Celtic fans have accidentally adapted a song for England to celebrate Gareth Southgate. To add insult to injury, the Independent described Lustig as “the player otherwise best remembered for his woeful peach fuzz moustache”.

It’s unbelievable, really.

Justice for Lustig can be served on Friday the 18th of June, with Scotland taking on Gareth “M&S Waistcoat” Southgate and his England side at Wembley. Sweden, meanwhile, will be meeting Spain on Monday the 14th.

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