City DNA #68: Noel Gallagher – Manchester City FC

General

He is, as he penned for the opening track of a platinum selling debut album, a rock n roll star.

Noel Gallagher’s Ultimate Derby playlist

But before Noel Gallagher became familiar to millions as the creative mastermind behind Britpop icons Oasis, he was the Burnage boy who bled sky blue.

Given the symbiotic relationship between football and music in Manchester, Noel made his football allegiance abundantly clear during his meteoric rise to the most influential songwriter of his generation and, alongside brother Liam, became Manchester City’s most famous fan.

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His relationship with the Club has only strengthened over time and appearances in the changing room have been a staple of our recent trophy triumphs.

But, by his own admission, it could, and probably should, have been quite different.

“The first game my dad ever took me to was City v Newcastle United at Maine Road in 1971,” Noel recalled in 2000. “That was it; City became my team.

“United were in the Second Division then and we were the top team in Manchester for about 10 years.

“But over the years, when City have been struggling and United have become the best team in Europe, I’ve sometimes wondered why my dad brought me to Maine Road rather than Old Trafford.

“The reason is basically a family one – my dad hated his brothers. They were all Irish people who came over here and decided to support United.

“My dad chose City instead. No other reason than that. Liam and I should by rights have been United fans.”

Wonderwall with Noel: Dressing room celebrations

City won 5-1 on Noel’s first trip to Maine Road and from the age of 12, right up until he formed Oasis in his early 20s, he was a regular on the Kippax.

From 1993 onwards, however, he was a regular in music venues up and down the country.

Definitely Maybe became the fastest selling debut album in the UK in 1994 and was backed up by (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? in 1995 – the UK’s biggest selling album of the 90s – which propelled Oasis and Gallagher to superstardom.

And City featured in this sensational ride by one of Manchester’s most famous sons.

There was a memorable NME cover shoot in 1994, when City supporting photographer Kevin Cummins snapped Noel and Liam in that season’s home and third shirts.

Two years later and four months before Oasis’ legendary Knebworth gig, the band played a homecoming show of personal poignancy for the brothers.

80,000 people crammed into Maine Road over two sold out April nights to listen to an 18 song set-list comprising the most popular hits from their first two generation-defining albums.

‘The biggest day of our lives’ was how Noel described it beforehand and it didn’t disappoint.

“Somebody could write a book about that gig,” he said years later. “Honestly it was incredible.

“They were great times. Amazing gigs and it will never be repeated.”

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At the height of the band’s fame, City’s fortunes were less bright, but Noel has always been loud and proud with his support.

There’s been playful jousting with Gary Neville and like everyone of a sky blue persuasion, he had long awaited City’s return to the big time.

He may have been thousands of miles away in Chile on that fateful day in May 2012, but Sergio Aguero’s strike still reduced him to tears.

“It seemed like QPR were in the lead for a lifetime and it was very dark,” he explained.

“Right before we scored, I thought ‘We need it now, if we’re going to do it, we need to do it now’. And then when Dzeko scored, I don’t know what happened after that, there was a lot of swearing.

“My mate tried to pull the TV off the wall [when Aguero scored].

“I swore a lot and then I cried like a baby because I’ve never seen anything like that before. It was mind-blowing.”

Since then, City have continued to hit new heights, which has corresponded with Noel’s successful solo career.

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He has, however, continued to get to the Etihad Stadium when his schedule allows and has certainly made up for missing 93:20.

He was at Wembley for our 2014 League Cup triumph and on the pitch wearing Vincent Kompany’s captain’s armband when we lifted the Premier League title later that season.

It was Noel who conducted Pep Guardiola’s first interview as City boss and since the Catalan’s arrival Gallagher’s iconic anthem Wonderwall has been the song of choice when the players enter the dressing room on matchday.

A fan of more than 40-years, he takes none of it for granted.

“I never believed we’d get here,” he said after our second Premier League title in 2014.

“I thought maybe we might win the League Cup one day because Middlesbrough had won it and Blackburn. I never thought of this. How could you?

“You never take things like this for granted. If you’re my age you’ve been through it all, Gillingham and all that and playing York.

“You never get used to this. I’ll never get used it.”

Not only is Noel Gallagher a musical icon, he is a proud Mancunian and a City fan through and through.