Pogues become favourite for Christmas number one as frontman Shane MacGowan battles illness

22 November 2023, 08:44 | Updated: 22 November 2023, 08:55

Fairytale of New York is expected to take the number one spot for Christmas this year
Fairytale of New York is expected to take the number one spot for Christmas this year. Picture: Alamy/Social media

By Emma Soteriou

The Pogues have become a favourite for Christmas number one this year as singer Shane MacGowan battles ill health.

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MacGowan was the frontman of the band, which is best known for the iconic Christmas hit Fairytale of New York.

And the group is now expected to swoop in and take the number one spot for the first time in the UK charts, after it was revealed that he has been in intensive care for months.

MacGowan was diagnosed with viral encephalitis last year and has been in and out of hospital since. He was readmitted in June.

BetVictor spokesperson Sam Boswell said: "With Shane MacGowan’s wife publicly sharing news of her husband’s health last week, we’ve seen a lot of support for The Pogues to claim this year’s Christmas Number One with their iconic festive hit, Fairytale of New York.

"They are favourite to top the charts this Christmas with odds of 11/8. They could achieve their first ever Christmas number one!"

It comes after LadBaby ruled themselves out of this year’s race after five years in the top spot.

Husband and wife Roxanne and Mark Hoyle – who raised money for the Trussell Trust – said they wanted to give other charity singles a chance.

Read more: Pogues singer Shane MacGowan 'so happy' after hospital visit from singer Imelda May

Read more: Pogues singer Shane MacGowan’s wife gives health update on frontman's condition after asking for ‘love and prayers’

During his time in hospital, MacGowan has had several A-list visitors, including musicians Daniel O'Donnell and Bobby Gillespie.

Most recently, he was "so happy" to receive a visit from singer Imelda May.

His wife, Victoria Mary Clarke, shared a picture of the pair, captioning it: "Shane is so happy to see ⁦@ImeldaOfficial !!!"

May replied to the post saying: "My darlin’ Shane! So good to see you today. Best kisser."

MacGowan's wife previously said she had hopes that he would be allowed to go home for Christmas.