There was a B side to Euro ’96.
While Three Lions supported England’s dizzying race to the semi-finals, another song was the soundtrack of the descent.
It was chosen by television producers Craig South and Jonathan Sides.
In charge of putting together a montage of the English tournament, the couple chose Cast’s Walkaway, a Britpop lament for lost causes and bitter ends, for the closing music.
Their work does not exist anywhere online.
But to a generation of English fans, this riff is instantly reminiscent of gray shirts on a pitch black night, moving away from what could have been.
In 2018, some of those same images were put on a new song. For a new group of fans, to tell a new story.
Ahead of England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden, Gary Lineker presented a two-minute film.
Over the strings of “England” from The National, he pulled together the team’s miserable shootout history and occasional glory days with their success against Colombia four days before.
It ended with the music disappearing and Gareth Southgate, the fall guy of 1996, the head coach of 2018, screaming with joy from the stands.
It struck a chord.
“Easily one of the best things I have ever seen. Goosebumps,” wrote an English fan. while uploading the film.
And Twitter accepted. The video in this article has been viewed 2.3 million times and retweeted over 22,000 times.
“The edits are huge for us,” said Mark Woodward, BBC Football Creative Manager.
“Without wanting to sound too pretentious, all television is about creating something in the viewer.
“The montages are there to create emotion. They spark that visceral anticipation, but they also take you back to the past, to where you were when those great moments happened, the places you were, the people you were with. were, how the country felt. “
Creating them was easier, but more stressful.
Often faced with deadlines, producers physically cut the tapes together, their creativity limited by a handful of camera angles and the music library their employers had built up.
Now, over 40 cameras follow the action in every Euro 2020 game, showing slow motion, super slow motion and ultra slow motion footage. A multitude of effects and filters can be added in the editing suite.
As production values have increased, the concepts have become more ambitious.
Ahead of Wales’ opener against Switzerland on BBC One, goalkeeper and part-time artist Owain Fon Williams painted scenes from Euro 2016 that came to life.
Scotland’s arrival at a first international tournament in 23 years was greeted with an overview of the country and its footballing history, from the Glenfinnan Viaduct to David Marshall’s shooting stop.
But one thing is always more important than anything: the music.
“I don’t like to do what’s expected,” explained Woodward.
“The danger with edits is thinking one size fits all. You could have a new single, something from Cardi B say. It could be awesome, current and on the charts.
“But you have to really dig deep into what you mean and what you want the music to do.
“I have used classical music before, Polish folk groups, Arabian Oud music, the more eclectic you can be, the better.
“You can take inspiration from anywhere, it can be a snippet of a piece of a documentary, something in the background of a movie, anywhere.”
Kevin Evans found it in John Lewis.
Evans, Woodward’s counterpart at BT Sport, was shopping one day when something caught his ear. He ran to the store speaker for Shazam the intriguing trail.
But, for a special occasion, Evans and Woodward like to bring more than a recording to a montage.
Biffy Clyro reworked a track called This is the One for the opening of the BBC’s Scotland campaign. And BT Sport marked the end of this Champions League with an epic four-minute film starring indie pop group London Grammar.
“The most important thing for me is the music, it’s the most important element, it’s the hook, that’s where you get the hair on the back of your neck,” Evans said.
“We went to London Grammar with our concept storyboard which involved bringing out the elements throughout the year, snow, heat, rain.
“The song was Lose Your Head, which refers to a mirror in the first verse and we wanted to have that reflective element. We built a reflective stage, with reflective ground, and then with the effects, there were a lot of shots going on. mirror in transition between the match the images and the performance of the group. “
Editing planning began in January, with Evans and his editing team for 10 days weaving the band’s performance into action.
Woodward has a shorter deadline. His team started planning for the Euro’s closing fixture in mid-June, after the first round of matches, before England’s run extended to the final.
The goal is still the same. To bottle the flash of the live moment. To capture the feeling of a summer. To move people.
“When the music, concept, and imagery come together perfectly, that’s when you hit the lode,” said Woodward.
After Sunday’s final, when the credits roll, when the football has come home or gone, we’ll see if he succeeds.