But it’s not only football, ‘cause football says a lot about people… sometimes football can be a metaphor of life…
cement will appear through the whole interview.
Probably I sound as drunk one haha, sorry for my mistakes with the English language.
That makes you funny and different. Some English mother tongue speakers still have to learn how to spell their own words correctly.
The same here in Italy with our difficult language. Usually I write a simple English so everybody can understand.
I’m ready to confess my sins haha about football.
Let’s start. Noel’s father took them to his first game, City-Newcastle in 1974 when he was 7.
Alan is a Rangers fan but bizarrely the first game he went to, when he was about 7, was a Celtic game.
Can you remember the first game you went to?
It was the same for me, half Noel and half Alan: my father (Inter Milan huge fan) took me and it was to see a team that is our big rival, today. If I look at my collection of tickets, I find an Inter-Como (yes, the lake Liam loves, lol), season 1985-86, but I can’t remember anything about that (Altobelli hat-trick). Then I have another Inter-Como season 1988-89 and I remember well, the great Lothar Matthaus scored two, he was a force of nature, he was “the tank”, he was made of cement.
How often did you used to go to the games at the legendary San Siro?
With my father very rarely, he’s always been a very “home man”.
With our mates we had season tickets, but we went to the stadium for friendship, you know, to spend some time together even if some of us weren’t really Inter fans. I even had to “share” myself, sometimes joining our crazy mates and sometimes “the quiet ones” (as an Oasis song :) by Gem), in different parts of the stadium.
Alan “cleaned up” himself, I never used drugs but I can say I cleaned up myself when I stopped following Inter, becoming a huge AC Milan fan.
As Alan, he was a Rangers fan and then started to follow Chelsea. I think there’s nothing wrong, you know, people even change religion, woman, or sides in politics. And football is no religion.
Now again about the stadium, with season tickets we had to attend even on some freezing Saturday nights to watch some terrible Inter-Piacenza 0-0. Inter was shite and they spent a lot of money to be shite.
I remember there was a friend who was a Juventus fan, he had never been to San Siro, and we took him to see the derby Milan-Inter as his first match, among the people in the “curva” (a stand with the hottest fans, it doesn’t exist in England, they’re not allowed to be crazy). It was freezing and we had to stay there for hours even before the game, so we had to drink alcohol, Italian “grappa” (brandy). It was AC 1-0 and when Inter scored the people went crazy. We don’t know what really happened, if that boy hit the cement with his head or if he didn’t feel good because of alcohol, but we had to take him to the hospital and he spent the night there.
Who were your favourite players at the time?
I think this: Juventus is the team of naïve childhood, Inter of crazy youth, Milan of a mature young man :) who knows all about it…
When I was in kindergarten, I was a big fan of Paolo Rossi. There’s an interview with him on Zani, as Matteo Sedazzari is a big Juve fan. We won the World Cup 1982 with “Pablito” Rossi. I used to bring Juventus posters to “school” and the teacher was kind to hang them on the cemented blackboard. I felt like in heaven.
Some years passed and when I learnt to read haha, I left Juventus and my father influenced me with his Inter. My favourites were Rummenigge and Altobelli. Later, Matthaus and Berti. But meanwhile I admired the Englishman playing for AC Milan, Mark Hateley (recently @ a Pretty Green store), and then the legend Marco Van Basten.
You’re still young and you’re lucky enough to have seen Italy win even 2 World Cups. Some people in England are about 45 years old as Noel Gallagher and have never seen one.
Haha well I’m not happy that England didn’t win for so long, as I’m a big England fan, sometimes even more than Italy. But England reminds me of City without trophies for so long...soon or later we'll win.
Some time ago Noel talked about the first World Cup he remembers, 1974. Memories about the legendary World Cup 82?
I watched it on tv with my father, it was still a black&white tv (as Juventus :), my sister was born a few days before (today 21 August she’s working as High Flying hostess @ AC Milan-Juventus :) - again: not me, or not yet haha.
Any other World Cups memories? Or any other memorable matches?
The biggest wins, if you’re an AC Milan fan as me, you have loads. As Noel, I have a great memory of our World Cup won in 2006.
The recent ones tend to be similar, even if 4 years pass every time and they play in very different parts of the world, while the old ones in the past sound as legendary.
Italians could never forget Italia 90 played at home. I have nice memories about the World Cup 94 in the Usa even if we unluckily lost the final on penalties, but I was in England so it’s good to remember. We were watching games at school making a lot of “casino” noise, as typical Italians (they say) or like Manchester City fans, “noisy neighbours” haha as Ferguson said.
Germany lost against Bulgaria and I was shocked that my German mate was crying alone at home. I was used to cold German people, he must have been some "Sturm und Drang" poet haha. The English father in the family was a huge football fan but couldn’t even be bothered about England, ‘cause they didn’t even qualify.
Roberto Baggio was extraordinary and I had just started to follow this (football-related) new band called Oasis…
But you already know all my experiences with that…
Noel once said he was a hooligan and Alan remembers being chased through the streets by Celtic fans. Great Britain had hooligans, but that big problem was solved. In Italy it was different but going to the stadium didn’t use to be safe. Any experience with violence?
I’ve never been a hooligan of course but I have some stories with their risks…
When we used to go to the stadium regularly, Inter fans rarely had a good behaviour and I was part of them. In 2001 they even threw a scooter down the stands. And a rocket on AC Milan goalkeeper Dida in a Champions League derby. Some say it even changed his career, as before that he was the best one in the world for some time, then he was crap.
I was a quiet supporter of football in general, there was just one day when I was angry because the referee unfairly (apparently) sent off Simeone in an Inter-Lazio, and it was even me throwing something: but only an innocent sandwich haha thinking it could reach the pitch. The people saw my sandwich spreading its wings in the air… the ham landed on one’s neck (behind, the nape), the cheese on another one, the two pieces of bread on other two people. Of course it didn’t hurt anyone, but made some laugh. The San Siro is huge and we were so far away from the red card scene. Of course when we came back home and watched it on tv, Simeone had clearly to be sent off. So it was just a wasted sandwich.
Another time I followed the craziest Inter fan and we went to see a Champions League AC Milan-Herta Berlin among the German fans… today it wouldn’t be really possible. He looked like a German and we were fans of Germany at those times, because we were going to drink in Germany, he was going to Oktoberfest in Munich, I was going to Berlin for a girl.
A policeman understood we were Italians but let us enter, laughing. Almost quoting Noel, in hindsight you look back and think, 'Fucking hell that was mad'. Because German fans were drunk, we were singing chants with them (A-O-E Herta B-S-C) and we had to stay inside the stadium for some time when the game was over and it was quite a risk when we had to go outside, ‘cause the German fans were accompanied by the police to the buses, but we had to choose the right moment to leave them, while some restless AC fans were making some noise around. It was a crazy situation, as leaving a Nazi lager.
Did you play football again? Any good?
Later I played with my work mates from the main sports tv channel in Italy at that time (Tele+). Usually this kind of games finish with big results as 9-8, 12-10, etc. but not these, there was a lot of "fighting" to win and they ended with a few goals as in real games, 2-0, 3-1, etc. with a decisive and devastating Zanella always scoring :) (also because girls were watching haha)
What position did you play?
I played them all. When I was a child, goalkeeper. But then I was short as a kid, became right defender and discovered to be a little Hassler [the German footballer], right winger. Playing with teams, I became halfback, then ending as striker. From goalkeeper to forward, I made all the journey.
Did your interest in football ever wane?
Yes in the early ‘90s, I was more interested in videogames and music, and we didn’t have much time for football because of school. But then I started to follow again thanks to a “new” team coming out: Parma, great surprise.
Liam Gallagher said, "Everything's different now. They've got it all haven't they? You don't see many out in the park playing, or in the streets, they're just all indoors staring at screens. I'd hate to be a kid growing up today. It's fucking soulless." And Ian Wright too, he said there are only a few home-grown talents.
Has the game lost its soul?
Definitely. Just hear what they say: sometimes I hear people and also footballers saying they're "going to football", as one of many activities or as a job where only money is important. When I was a child, a kid, we were thinking about football the whole day. We LIVED football. In our eyes, every little space was created to play football.
Some time ago a Czech girl came to visit Milan and while going around I was joking about all the places where we used to play football, even on the cement of the top of Milan cathedral.
We watched football cartoons as Captain Tsubasa (Holly & Benji) and then immediately out to play football.
We even used to play inside the classroom, with teachers very upset about it.
I even played alone making tournaments (really) as a mad one, playing for both "teams", in my very small bedroom, even making little balls with paper. It was so small that one day I hit a cemented wall with my face and broke my teeth (then repaired them :). Another example: we used to play everyday in a small yard (made of cement, not grass), with people passing and we were hitting them, so our house porter was always very angry with us, trying to steal our ball all the time. And we could play for hours, not just one or so.
I was also lucky 'cause we had a countryhouse and my father built a goal for us, with white posts, lines made of sawdust and all (is it any wonder why princes and kings are clowns that caper in their sawdust rings? :) -> on the cover of that Oasis single, "Go let it out", there were kids playing football on the cemented roof of a skyscraper…), but we also played on the cement of another pitch (I broke my finger, then repaired it :).
And as Noel, in the parks with jumpers for goalposts and all that.
Result of all this: my generation, some years ago, in 2007, AC Milan became the best team in football history, and still is. And some years ago, in 2006, Italy became the 1st European national team, and still is. We are 2nd in the world behind Brazil – even if they were lucky in 1994 and FIFA made them win in 2002, we could easily be the first ones. Brazil where they live football, the poor ones, playing especially on cement, they have only football on the streets, that's where great players come from.
Today I have a bigger room and a long corridor ("life’s endless corridor" :) - The Masterplan) and even today I still play football at home, now with my cat haha. My double Paul Weller (last album "Wake up the nation") said: "get your face off the Facebook and turn off your phone".
So today I say: wake up nations... do you even want to be World Champions?
I think that’s the problem of England national team: there’s something wrong in the way they learn to play when they’re very young. Try cement.
We know you organized some meetings with great AC Milan footballers. Any funny memory to tell?
I feel privileged, as a kid I wasn’t so lucky and I would have never thought I could have these chances.
The best moment was when we sit down on the same grass where they were playing, and an Oasis fan called Beckham was looking at me and sometimes threw the ball to me 'cause I had an England shirt and Liam’s sideburns haha
The biggest Italian football legend for decades was probably Franco Baresi, playing endlessly for AC Milan. There’s a nice photo of us somewhere, with some people around, all smiling ‘cause I made him a joke: I gave him a pennant to sign, on the white side, and while he was slowly writing his legendary name, I told him something like: you don’t mind if it’s an Inter Milan pennant? I think he had a sort of heart attack, but then smiled and joked, so I showed him it was an AC Milan one.
Any football plan for the future?
It’s some time we’re not playing, I should organize at least my last game for a goodbye to “played football”… sigh ;(
Recently I was very interested in watching English and Swedish girls haha playing football. So it wouldn’t be bad to “play” with them.
But the ideal “last game” would be “singles vs married” :)
I bet the singles would win. Married ones usually grow a big belly...
You told me you’d like to dedicate this little interview about football memories to someone?
Yes to a friend who is not with us anymore, because of drugs. Alessandro, AC Milan big fan.
The drugs don’t work. Play football, folks. On cement.
- - -
"Noel refers to Italy as Oasis 'spiritual home' and anyone who has been to an Oasis gig in Italy will know why. It’s fitting they have chosen Milan to stage the final show..."
(from the official site)
"Italian boys are like me, very passionate.
4 elements mark them: football, music, family and love for elegance. My Italian friends are cool, they wear wonderful clothes & shoes, fabulous scarves, sunglasses even at night and have beautiful women by their side. Well, I'm considered quite a holy figure in Italy. It's Milan... Italy's great man, I fucking love going there".