Editors note: For those who don’t want to relive our annoyance, the full squad can be found at the bottom of the page.
At some point, who knows how recently, the Lionesses Twitter account has undergone a makeover, out with the old “Unleash Fierce!” and vague horror-movie font in favour of something more tasteful and age-appropriate. With the account prominently displaying a video, one would assume someone put in a dodgy old VHS due to the amount of snow on screen. Be ready, 08.05.19 (we’re English, this is the right way of expressing the date).
What’s happening? What’s coming? What do we need to ready ourselves for? Is the McRib back?!
It began at 8.01am, Prince William in all his receding glory popped up… it was time for a coffee, or a double vodka and Red Bull. The world (or the 70.5K followers of the official Lionesses Twitter account) were made aware, in 28 seconds that England captain, Steph Houghton would be going to France. It was hard to gauge if anyone was surprised, most were just left reminding themselves that William is the president of the FA and what was happening was totally normal.
17 minutes later, Greg James (yeah, us either, turns out he’s a radio DJ), popped up with some cringeworthy banter to announce Toni Duggan. Right, that was two and that vodka was starting to seem like a better and better idea.
A further 26 minutes passed and suddenly there was Dan Walker (BBC Sport guy), Jade Moore was in the squad and a grown man had filmed himself saying, “Be ready… hashtag.” Five minutes later there was another, scheduling tweets is hard okay? Nicole Holliday (another sport person, we may have had to Google) was there to announce Carly Telford then proclaim it was coming home.
9.01, who better to announce Ellen White than James Corden? Credit to James, he knew he wouldn’t be a favourite so cut off his video mid-word after 10 seconds. Nine minutes later (where is the pattern?!) Alex Scott appeared to announce the player who stole (we’re not bitter) her starting spot at right back for England, Lucy Bronze. Four minutes later (?!) Emma Watson (?!) awkwardly spun around to charades Demi Stokes’ announcement. It was awkward alright, let’s not dwell.
Anyone want to guess how long we had to wait for the next video? Any rhyme or reason to their release? Nope, 19 minutes later and Anne Marie finished announcing Rachel Daly (She does it on the Daly, as the tweet proclaimed) with another, “IT’S COMIN’ HOME.”
Nine minutes later and we had Olly Murs revealing Alex Greenwood. Eight minutes passed, the Twitter account buggered up their thread and for no reason at all, Ellie Goulding (who filmed herself in portrait rather than landscape) announced Fran Kirby. Was Kirby a surprise? Probably not. Did Goulding sound far posher than anyone assumed? Yeah, yeah she did. Kiera Walsh was next, announced non-verbally (but with far too much base for 9.56am) by MONKI (contextually, we assume a DJ).
The natural progression from Ellie Goulding and MONKI was obviously to David Beckham, that made perfect sense. And if you’ve just been announced by James Corden and get to watch Becks wish Nikita Parris good luck in France, you’re not left feeling at all short-changed. Two minutes later, not at all stealing Beckham’s thunder, Jordan Pickford did a so-so job of appearing to read off of a cue card to announce Karen Bardsley (75 caps).
England fans were in their element, “BECKS, OMG!” How wonderful, how cute. Why were people bitter, it’s the World Cup squad, it deserves something special. Obviously, Greg James ticked that box. Another vodka downed we headed back to the Twitter feed (it was easier to watch than the Instagram story).
Jamal Edwards appeared ten minutes after Pickford, Millie Bright was in the squad and Edwards had remembered to use, “Be ready” in his video. Three minutes slipped by and we were back in the BBC Radio 1 studio as those at The FA realised the barrel needed another scrape, Jill Scott was in the squad and Nick Bright’s voice was a little too chipper – we may have overdone it with the vodkas.
You got who? I got a DJ
Still jumping around at complete random, 28 minutes later, Rachel Yankey (and Mini Yankey) ended up with an awkward mum video announcing Karen Carney. For those without stone hearts, the video was most likely a delight. With a nod to her love for her club, Ian Wright was next up 17 minutes after Yankey, Arsenal the focus as he announced Leah Williamson with another tally mark for “Be ready”.
The Twitter thread screwed up and corrected again, Raheem Sterling was next to announce Georgia Stanway (Stanway Stanway). Sterling was followed a literal minute later by Katrina Johnson-Thompson, decked out in the new England tabard, er, shirt (not currently available for purchase). Another video featuring a swivel reveal, McManus read the shirt.
Back to nine-minute intervals, Kelly Smith was next up (bet the players who had Radio 1 DJs were feeling great at this point) to announce Beth Mead, “Lap it up like a sponge.” Might be our new favourite expression.
We had to wait 22 minutes for the next, it could have been Meghan’s baby for all the sense the announcers made but no, it was Alan Shearer declaring Lucy Staniforth was going to the World Cup. Apparently fast running out of former (or current) England players, we were back to Radio 1 HQ with Clara Amfo to announce Mary Earps. Another minute elapsed and finally, it was all over, Jodie Taylor was declared by Chelcee Grimes.
23 players, four hours and one James Corden later…
The social media engagements will be somewhere between big and huge and it will be a while before you can go to someone’s Twitter without seeing one of the 23 but it was dragged the hell out. There was no logic to who filmed themselves, were there really so few England players?
Over and over, it was the same thing, “It’s coming home,” “Be ready,” “Do us proud.” Anything off script would have been even more tedious. Yes, maybe thinking outside the box to announce a World Cup squad isn’t a bad thing, but at the same time, the squad was all but picked. There was no parity between who announced who or even an allotted time for one player’s announcement video to sit atop the Twitter page. And it took four hours (and countless vodkas).
It had been over four hours but Lionesses Twitter account had one last video, something composed and frankly, nice. Why they didn’t just use that instead of the Radio 1 crew, we’ll never know
Goalkeepers: Carly Telford (Chelsea), Karen Bardsley (Man City), Mary Earps (Wolfsburg).
Defenders: Steph Houghton (Man City), Lucy Bronze (Lyon), Demi Stokes (Man City), *Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Alex Greenwood (Manchester United), Millie Bright (Chelsea), Leah Williamson (Arsenal), Abbie McManus (Man City).
Midfielders: Jade Moore (Reading), Kiera Walsh (Man City), Jill Scott (Man City), Karen Carney (Chelsea), Georgia Stanway (Man City), Lucy Staniforth (Birmingham City).
Attackers: Toni Duggan (Barcelona), Ellen White (Birmingham City), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Nikita Parris (Man City), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Jodie Taylor (Reign FC).