We owe a lot to the 90s. The advent of cloning, Jennifer Aniston, the Backstreet Boys – all of these cornerstones and many more have their origins in the closing years of the 20th century.
Of course, as anyone new to guitar might tell you (so here’s “Wonderwall” anyway), the decade spawned what is surely one of the greatest bands in recent memory with the Brit sensation -Pop Oasis. Known for their rockstar antics and earth-shattering hits like ‘Champagne Supernova’ and ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’, the band, chartered by siblings Liam and Noel, dominated the collective consciousness for years before the feud of Boleyn between the Gallagher brothers inevitably overwhelmed and spoiled the group.
Family spitting aside, Oasis has blessed us with a revered discography, countless documentaries and books and perhaps just as importantly, a living example of how to behave with all the swagger and charm of a true ‘boy’. . Liam’s charisma and cultural presence, in particular, are often recognized as one of the last true superstar outfits to grace stages around the world.
Unfortunately, much of Oasis’ deep coolness has been lost to the annals of time. Stemming from the era just before celebrity ubiquity and fandom that spanned the web, the band saw a fraction of the digital recognition one would expect from four moderately ugly British guys in a band to garner from the likes of Instagram and TikTok.
One event fueled by Gallagher, in particular, is a tragic victim of this phenomenon. May 12, 1996 has toiled in relative obscurity for twenty-five years, despite its outsized importance – after all, it marks the most swaggi football match ever played.
Part of the ‘Soccer Six’ charity event, a benefit tournament for music therapy, the match in question was part of a wider series headlined by a jaw-dropping mix of huge UK bands of the time – Oasis, its Blur rivals, etc. of Reef were all present. The stacked tournament featured an elimination-style format and pitted Oasis against Blur in the musical derby of the century, a microcosmic manifestation of the pre-existing and allegedly contentious rivalry between the two giants of brit-pop.
The match went as expected: Liam Gallagher stole the show. Gallagher shoved Bougie Blur frontman Damion Albarn. He put himself in the face. Then he got tired and laid. He enjoyed a cheeky half-time cigarette. He threw a can of beer at a reporter after losing. He was class personified, in a way.
Admittedly, some of the admiration here stems from Liam’s approachable looks. Kangol Bucket Hat pushing back messy locks, Gallagher exuded an easily repeatable casualness that has us reaching for our summer outfit moodboards. No designer t-shirts or slim fit to be seen here; rather a man of the people Adidas raglan (in Manchester City blue, of course) and suitably casual sweatpants. For a 25-year-old, the whole thing reads almost nerve-wrackingly modern — such is the trend cycle — until the glimpse of a gold chain sticking out of Gallagher’s tee shirt.
Is that exactly what makes this specific match so intriguingly chic? Is it the vintage sportswear or the enticing mental image of profanity and bruised shins? Less than chivalrous rivalry? The sophisticated awkwardness in the way Liam behaves?
We’re willing to admit that all of the aforementioned points contribute to the decidedly funky vibe, but the determining factor might just be how carefree it all seems. Blame media training or big brother PR, but larger-than-life superstars walking around a shitty football pitch in London just wouldn’t happen these days. These images aren’t just a relic of a terrifically excellent and impossibly stylish football game, they’re the last known images of rockstars as people. Because at the end of the day, we’re all just a few guys who have indulged in football…even Oasis.
This article was published in the Inside hook newsletter. Register now.