It’s been nearly three weeks since England’s loss to Italy on penalties in the final of Euro 2020, and the nation is now just about able to look past the heartbreak (and the unacceptable actions of some England fans) to remember all the hope, joy and excitement that the Three Lions gave us this summer.
There are plenty of iconic moments to remember. There’s Raheem Sterling, the Boy from Brent, scoring the winner against Croatia at Wembley just minutes from his childhood home. There’s the entire squad piling on top of an ecstatic Harry Kane after he made it 2-0 against Germany.
There’s Leeds lad Kalvin Phillips changing into a ‘Granny Val’ shirt to honour his late grandmother after the semi-final victory over Denmark. There’s the nation’s heartthrob Jack Grealish preparing to be subbed on, hands on hips and socks folded down to reveal his mighty, powerful calves.
But perhaps the most iconic image of all is that of the England team’s youngest member, 19-year-old Bukayo Saka, jubilantly riding around the team’s swimming pool atop a rainbow-maned unicorn float called Unity during downtime at St George’s Park.
The eminently likeable Arsenal winger and his inflatable pal have so come to represent the humble, youthful and team-focused spirit of England’s Euro 2020 squad that the National Football Museum in Manchester has decided to give the float a home in its galleries.
‘We are delighted to have acquired Unity for our permanent collection from The FA,’ says the museum’s Laura Crossley. ‘The unicorn epitomises Gareth Southgate’s management style – the importance of teamwork and having fun together – and was top of our wish list of objects to collect from the tournament.’
The museum’s new signing arrived directly from the England camp last week and has now been put out to pasture in the Euros Heroes gallery as a reminder of the momentous summer when football came home. Sort of.
Fancy getting a selfie with the England squad’s rainbow-coloured floating friend? Head over to the museum’s website to plan a visit.
And if one football exhibition isn’t enough for you? There’s a proper art gallery opening at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium.