The 20th of November could have been England's national day. Saint Edmund's Day would have brought out the bunting, street parties and feasting. But no. Edmund lost out. Twice.
Other tales say that Ragnar had been raiding in France and crossed to England only to be captured by King Alle of Northumbria. Here the Viking was thrown into a pit of vipers and was bitten to death. Whilst singing his death song he called out "How the little pigs would grunt if they knew the situation of the old boar!"
His sons went on to East Anglia and King Edmund met his death in an unidentified location known as Haegelisdun, after he refused the Vikings' demand that he renounce Christianity. Edmund was shot with arrows and then beheaded on the orders of Ubba and Ivorr the Boneless.
Edmund’s head was thrown into the forest. His body was found but the head was missing for a while until those searching heard a voice calling “Here, here, here!” They followed the voice and found Edmund’s head, guarded by a grey wolf. Stories vary as to whether it was the head or the wolf calling, but it is impressive either way.
As for the Great Heathen Army, they went on to pillage (well, they were Vikings after all) East Anglia before moving on to Wessex, Mercia and Northumbria. Edmund’s shrine became one of the most popular pilgrimage sites at Bury Saint Edmunds until it was destroyed during the Reformation in 1539.
A great army, a great header, pillaging, marching and then smashing up a shrine. This is not a football story: this is a martyr's story. Edmund had been patron saint of England for five hundred years. Then Saint George took over in the mid 1300s. Two really heavy defeats, I'd say.