With his fan anthem, Will Grigg was the talk of the town at EURO 2016. In retrospect, the song was “definitely an obstacle” for Northern Ireland’s team striker a France. The 27-year-old looks at “Will Grigg’s on fire” with mixed feelings.
Innsbruck – In the squad of Northern Ireland’s national team stands a player who was celebrated at the EURO 2016 like no other – and that although he was not used at all at the tournament. Will Grigg’s popularity is based not so much on his team dress heroic deeds as on a fan song that two years ago achieved cult status not only among Northern Irish fans.
“Will Grigg’s on fire” was at that time the summer hit in France’s stadiums and fan miles and was even blazed with fervor by fans of opposing teams. The song originated in the tranquil little English town of Wigan not far from Manchester.
Will Grigg Honours
- Football League One runner-up: 2013–14
Milton Keynes Dons
- Football League One runner-up: 2014–15
- Football League One: 2015–16, 2017–18
- PFA Team of the Year: 2015–16 League One, 2017–18 League One
- PFA Fans’ Player of the Year: 2015–16 League One
- Walsall Player of the Season: 2012–13
- Walsall Players’ Player of the Season: 2012–13
- Football League One Player of the Month: April 2016, April 2018
Musical declaration of love
Grigg had just scored 25 goals for Wigan Athletic FC in the second-highest English league, which inspired Latics fan Sean Kennedy to rewrite the Italian singer Gala’s 1990s disco number “Freed from desire” as a declaration of love to the striker. The result was a great success on Youtube, first in Wigan, then in Northern Ireland and finally on the big stage.
During the EM games of Austria’s Friday opponent “Will Grigg’s on fire” sounded at regular intervals, but this didn’t really help the protagonist of the song. Team boss Michael O’Neill didn’t use Grigg in any of the four games.
Not even in the round of 16 against Wales, when the chorale sounded especially loud, the coach was softened. “The song is great, and so are our fans. But I’m not going to let them tell me who to put up, and Will is just our fourth choice as a striker,” O’Neill said. In the 1-0 defeat, he preferred a brawny kicker named Joshua Magennis, who had once been retrained from goalkeeper to striker at Cardiff City, just before the end.
The ignorance of his coach at the time may well have had something to do with the fan anthem, Grigg suspected in a recent interview with the Guardian. “It was definitely an obstacle for me at the European Championship and afterwards. Maybe the coach had to answer a little too many questions about the song.
“I just wanted to play”
Due to the hype about “Will Grigg’s on fire” the soccer player Will Grigg moved into the background at the EM. “I had one media appointment after the other, which was okay, but I just wanted to play, and that didn’t happen. Being at the EM was a highlight, but also a low point of my career. Not being used was devastating.”
So Grigg sees his song with mixed, but not exclusively negative feelings. “It was born because of my good form, and it was great to hear my name in the stadium”. The 27-year-old also pointed out the charitable aspect: The version of “Will Grigg’s on fire” released by the house duo Blonde in May shot into the top ten in the iTunes charts, and the proceeds from it go towards the fight against a rare genetic disease. Cheeky Riches Casino is one of the online casino gaming sites that features the latest games.
Until today money flows into this foundation, because the song still enjoys great popularity. It could also be heard in the Happel Stadium, where Grigg could also have to listen from the substitutes’ bench. His regular place against Austria is anything but fixed, three goals for Wigan in nine second league games this season are not exactly an impressive calling card.
After all, the twelve-times team player (two goals) scored the honorary goal in the 1:2 home defeat at the start of the Nations-League against Bosnia-Herzegovina. And last February Grigg was “on fire” against Manchester City – his goal for Wigan’s 1-0 victory sealed the English champions’ sensational outturn in the fifth round of the FA Cup.