Why is Sweet Caroline a football song? The history of English fans’ favourite anthem

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·3-min read
Why is Sweet Caroline a football song? The history of English fans’ favourite anthem
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As England secured their place in the Euro final on Tuesday with a stunning 4-0 victory over Sweden, football fans across the country cheered them on–and one familiar song could be heard everywhere.

Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline has been heard at major English football events in recent years and is now one of the country’s favourites–perhaps after only Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home).

But how did a song by an American singer, from 1969, become an unofficial anthem for English football fans?

How Sweet Caroline became England football fans’ anthem

Neil Diamond wrote Sweet Caroline in 1969 for his then-wife, Marcia Murphy, but her name didn’t fit the tune, so he went with Caroline, after the daughter of John F Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy.

Nearly 30 years later, the song was first played at sporting events in the US.

In the late 1990s, the Boston Red Sox played the song for an employee who just had a baby named Caroline. The baseball team thought it was good luck, and from 2003, it was played every week.

Eventually other sporting teams picked it up, and it has been played at Arsenal and Aston Villa games, as well as at other sporting events like cricket and boxing matches.

But the Euro 2020 tournament was when fans of the England men’s team really adopted Sweet Caroline.

Following England’s defeat of Germany in the quarter-final, Wembley DJ Tony Parry decided to play Sweet Caroline over Vindaloo. The switch up paid off, and the crowd went wild for the Neil Diamond classic.

The stadium erupted with tens of thousands of fans singing “Good times never seemed so good, (so good, so good, so good).”

Since then, it’s found itself a permanent spot on the set list for England fans to sing at stadiums and pubs–and the women’s Euro tournament is no different.

Following their semi-final win, videos emerged of football fans singing Sweet Caroline within the stadium, at fan zones, and on the street.

Although its adoption as a football anthem may have happened by chance–it looks like it’s here to stay.

Sweet Caroline lyrics

Where it began, I can’t begin to know when

But then I know it’s growing strong

Was in the spring

And spring became the summer

Who’d have believed you’d come along

Hands, touching hands

Reaching out, touching me, touching you

Sweet Caroline

Good times never seemed so good

I’ve been inclined

To believe they never would

But now I

Look at the night and it don’t seem so lonely

We filled it up with only two

And when I hurt

Hurting runs off my shoulders

How can I hurt when holding you

One, touching one

Reaching out, touching me, touching you

Sweet Caroline

Good times never seemed so good

I’ve been inclined

To believe they never would

Oh no, no

Sweet Caroline

Good times never seemed so good

Sweet Caroline

I believe they never could

Sweet Caroline

Good times never seemed so good

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