Dejected England fans licking their wounds from last night’s World Cup heartbreak might take solace in the words of Mick Jagger: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might find, you get what you need.” We wanted to bring football home, and all rallied behind Southgate’s Brave Boys, and in doing so, we found something of greater value than a gold football award: collective joy, and a renewed sense of hope that had seemed long lost.
But after picking ourselves up from that, we might want to get incensed at some of Mick Jagger’s other words. Turns out ol’ Michael released a song called ‘England’s Lost’ last year, which included the line “I went to see England, but England lost.” Almost exactly a year later, Mick would go to see England play Croatia. And they lost.
This would just be a vaguely prophetic minor coincidence, if it weren’t for the fact that Mick Jagger has previous form in this area. In fact, he’s jinxed every team he’s supported at the World Cup for the last eight years now, and is absolutely aware of his curse.
During World Cup 2010, Jagger threw his weight behind three nations in the knockout stages. First, he cheered on USA, who succumbed to a 93rd minute Asamoah Gyan winner in their round of 16 game with Ghana. Next, he went to see England, who were promptly thrashed 4-1 by Germany. Finally, he took in a quarter final wearing a Brazil shirt, and oversaw the Selecao being duly upset by the Netherlands.
That’s 3 backings for 3 losses. Not the best, Mick, we’re not gonna lie, but at this point the results could still be chalked up to bad fortune. It only started to become a noticeably suspicious, recurring theme four years later when he wished England the “best of luck” for their World Cup 2014 opener against Italy:
They lost. He then urged the Three Lions for their crunch match with Uruguay:
They did not win this one, and were subsequently eliminated, finishing bottom of their group. He had also told a crowd in Lisbon that he thought the Portuguese would win the whole tournament, but they were likewise dumped out before the knockouts. He then predicted Italy would beat Uruguay 2-1 in the final Group D game:
They lost 2-1.
At this point, fans had begun to twig the curse. Brazilians nicknamed Jagger ‘Pé Frio’ (‘cold foot’ - basically a Jonah figure who brings bad luck) and took along homemade signs of the big-lipped songster wearing a Germany shirt and exclaiming “LET’S GO GERMANY!!!” to their semi-final against Die Mannschaft.
Unfortunately, Mick Jagger decided to take measure to negate these attempts to harness his anti-fortune vibes, by turning up in person, supporting Brazil. The 2014 hosts lost 7-1, perhaps their most humiliating defeat in history, and blamed Jagger to such an extent that the singer had to release a statement stating “I can take responsibility for the first German goal but not the other six!”
Frankly, Mick, should have probably taken responsibility for all seven. If he’d had some introspection, if he’d clocked that he had already condemned teams to 8 consecutive defeats, then maybe he wouldn’t have wrought his curse on Messrs Kane and company by turning up.
But then again, if you look into the lyrics for ‘England Lost’, then you start to suspect… maybe Mick knew…
“It’s a déjà vu, I’ve seen it all before, different season, same score”
“I just pick it up, put it down and leave it where I found it. Feel like Macaulay Culkin, I’m home alone”
Of course, these lines could well be read in the context of a song that seems to be using football as a metaphor for feeling alienated by a country mired by various crises that seem to continue perpetually, beyond a point of no return.
Or, you could read them as not being a metaphor at all and instead, an acknowledgement of his curse. Maybe ‘England Lost’ was Mick Jagger’s attempt at a World Cup anthem. Déjà vu, different season and same scores? Could those be the international fixtures you keep cursing, Mr Jagger?
What are you picking up, putting down and leaving where you’ve found, Mick? Is it ‘football’? Is that why you’re “home alone”?
When he repeats “I went to see England, but England lost” over and over again, to the point that it leaves the end of the phrase unspoken and implicit, emphasising that England losing is a doomed groundhog day inevitability - is Mick Jagger actually expressing some sense of fatalist despair as his country goes to the dogs, or is he simply recalling all of the England matches he’s attended?
There is only one conclusion and it’s fairly conclusive: Mick Jagger is fully aware of the curse, and so by actively choosing to fly out to Moscow and attend any of England’s matches, he deliberately and spitefully tanked England’s near-glorious campaign in Russia. He can’t get no satisfaction, and so he’s bringing everyone down with him.
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