“Football is coming home” – discuss this phrase…..

Author: Claudine Weeks   |   Date: 11th July 2018

With all the football fever across the country and the big England game tonight, I decided to engage a group of copywriters to see who could explain the phrase I keep seeing, which makes no grammatical sense to me.... "Football is coming home." Wow did I get a big response!

So with the World Cup in full flow the slogan “It’s coming home” can be seen everywhere, with many big brands now incorporating it into their advertising during the tournament. This phrase is one I understand – presumably expressing the positive sentiment that the actual cup, the physical trophy, is coming home.

However, the one that baffles me is “football is coming home” so I asked the question in a copywriting group I belong to, to see if any copywriting football fans could explain it!

It sparked a fun debate with various theories put forward – some claiming it’s because England invented football although others fiercely disputed this saying it was Scotland, or China who actually invented the game – no-one really had a definitive answer to that.

Others said it was just about the pride of the game if it’s won, bringing that sense of pride home – which is what I kind of thought too.

It was cited as a line from a song created during the Euro 96 tournament – I remember the Three Lions song and being equally confused back then by the words! And.. correct me if I’m wrong but England didn’t actually win….

Although I’ve just searched that tournament and it seems “Football is coming home” was adopted as the phrase for that particular tournament because England played all their games at Wembley so they literally were playing football at home – now that kind of makes sense to me.

However, it now seems to have been adopted as a far broader football catchphrase or slogan for the England team regardless of where they are playing but it hurts my copywriting brain!

My favourite comment from one of the other copywriters does seem to back up my view that it was a catchphrase created specifically for Euro 96 and out of context doesn’t actually make grammatical sense. He had this to say: “Football’s coming home meant Euro 96 taking place in England. Football’s coming home in the sense of winning the World Cup makes no sense in a coherent sentence and should be ignored at all costs.”

This was written from a writer’s perspective and is no reflection on the football.

It’s interesting to me as a writer and marketer how influential a few simple words and a catchphrase can become over time!

The debate I started yesterday went on throughout the evening, with contributions from people of various nationalities and raised some strong opinions.

One thing is for sure, whether the team win or not the slogan “football’s coming home” is now synonymous with England playing in any big football tournament… even if it doesn’t quite make sense!

Good luck to the players tonight!

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