Blur vs. Oasis: Remembering the Swaggiest Soccer Match Ever Played, 25 Years Later
Banter, beer throwing and bucket hats — the match between the Brit-Pop greats had it all
We owe much to the ‘90s. The advent of cloning, Jennifer Aniston, the Backstreet Boys — all these cornerstones and more trace their origins to the waning years of the twentieth century.
Of course, as someone just starting out on guitar might tell you (so anyways, here’s “Wonderwall”), the decade spawned what is surely one of the biggest bands in recent memory with Brit-Pop sensation Oasis. Known for rockstar antics and earth-shattering hits like of “Champagne Supernova” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” the band, chartered by siblings Liam and Noel, dominated collective consciousness for years before the Boleyn-esque feud between the Gallagher brothers inevitably boiled over and spoiled the band.
Family spatting aside, Oasis has blessed us with a revered discography, countless documentaries and books and perhaps as importantly, a living example of how to carry oneself with all the swagger and charm of a proper “lad.” The charisma and cultural presence of Liam, in particular, is often recognized as one of the last true superstar outfits to grace stages around the world.
Unfortunately, much of Oasis’ profound cool has been lost to the annals of time. Hailing from the era just prior to celebrity ubiquity and fandom that extended to the online, the band has seen a fraction as much digital acknowledgment as one could expect four medium-ugly British chaps in a band to garner from the likes of Instagram and TikTok.
One Gallagher-fueled event, in particular, is a tragic casualty of this phenomenon. May 12, 1996, has toiled in relative obscurity for twenty five years, despite its outsized importance — after all, it marks the swaggiest game of soccer ever played.
Part of the “Soccer Six ” charity event, a benefit tournament for music therapy, the match in question was part of a broader series headlined by a jaw-dropping mix of humongous British bands of the time — Oasis, rivals Blur, and the likes of Reef were all in attendance. The stacked tourney featured an elimination-style format, and pitted Oasis and Blur against each other in the musical derby of the century, a microcosmic manifestation of the pre-existing and purportedly contentious rivalry between the two Brit-Pop giants.
The match went about as you might expect: Liam Gallagher stole the show. Gallagher pushed around bougie Blur frontman Damon Albarn. He got in his face. Then he got tired and laid down. He enjoyed a cheeky halftime cig. He chucked a can of beer at a reporter after he lost. He was class personified, sorta.
Surely, part of the admiration here stems from Liam’s accessible looks. Kangol Bucket Hat pushing back messy locks, Gallagher exuded an easily reproduced casualness that has us scrambling for our summer outfit moodboards. No designer tees or fitted tailoring to be seen here; rather a man-of-the-people Adidas raglan (in Man City blue, of course) and a pair of appropriately relaxed track pants. For a 25-year old get up, The whole ensemble reads almost unnervingly modern — such is the trend cycle — right down to the glimpse of a gold chain poking out from Gallagher’s tee.
Is that what exactly makes this specific match so intriguingly chic? Is it the banging vintage sportswear or the tantalizing mental image of profanity and bruised shins? The less-than-chivalrous rivalry? The sophisticated gaucheness in the way Liam carries himself?
We’re willing to concede that all of the aforementioned points contribute to the decidedly bang-on vibe, but the defining factor might just be how unbothered it all seems. Blame media training or big-brother PR, but larger-than-life superstars putzing around on a crappy soccer field in London just wouldn’t happen nowadays. These pictures aren’t just a relic of a terribly excellent, incredibly stylish soccer match, they’re the last known images of rockstars being people. Because in the end, we’re all just a couple of blokes proffered chuffed for some footy… even Oasis.
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