Inside Blue Sat 3 Mar 2018
Given the respective footballing allegiances of Blur and Oasis, Chelsea's trip to face Manchester City this weekend can be considered the 'Britpop derby'.
During the mid-Nineties, the two bands were at the forefront of a musical movement that, along with football and the rise of new Labour, defined the era.
The rivalry between Blur and Oasis was a topic of national discussion in the UK, most famously when Damon Albarn and Co pipped the Gallagher brothers' Roll With It to No1 in the charts with Country House.
Noel and Liam are both die-hard Manchester City fans and Albarn has long been associated with the Blues, having become a season-ticket holder in the early-Nineties. For our money, that makes Chelsea versus Manchester City the official Britpop derby!
Albarn was a winner last week at the Brit Awards, when Gorillaz won the prize for best British band, and this is how his love of all things Chelsea came to be.
'My first game would have been in maybe 1989,' said the 49-year-old in a Famous Fans interview with Chelsea TV. 'As a kid, I didn't really have a team, but later on I ended up moving to west London and my mates were all Chelsea fans, so that's how I got into it. I've had a season ticket since 1990/91, so I consider myself to have bedded in nicely.'
The Britpop era coincided with Chelsea's rise to being serious contenders once again, with the Blues famously lifting the FA Cup in 1997 after 26 years without a major trophy.
'There was an amazing synergy between music and football during that period,' he said. 'It was extraordinary and I had brilliant times. Zola was my favourite player of that generation. Everything changed at Chelsea with him – his work-rate, his ability on the ball, and everything just changed.
'I very nearly did something, years and years ago, with Zola. I've never really hung out with footballers, not hung out in the same social circles, but I met Zola and Vialli quite a few times because there was this pizza restaurant on the King's Road that they used to go and I knew the owner. I tried to get them in my five-a-side team, but Zola said he'd only do it if I let him play piano on my next set of recordings. We never actually got round to it.'
The pinnacle for most Chelsea fans came when we lifted the Champions League trophy in Munich in 2012, and Albarn was among those who made the trip to Germany to see the most incredible night in our history.
'We passed through the gamut of emotions that day,' he said. 'It was a fantastic family day out – the best ever. The Germans were amazing hosts, it was a beautiful sunny day, nice atmosphere. When they scored, everyone's heart sunk – and then, just out of somewhere, Drogba scored the equaliser. When it went penalties, it was like, “We're not going to win this against a German side. It's impossible.” But we did. Incredible.'
While the rivalry between Blur and Oasis is a thing of the past, with the Gallagher brothers going their own way when the Manchester band split in 2009, Albarn won't be the only Blue celebrating if we can do the business in Sunday's big game...