Wed. Sep 27th, 2023

In the latest episode of his podcast, ‘Wrighty’s House,’ Noel Gallagher spoke with former footballer Ian Wright about the time Mario Balotelli sent him fake merch. It’s no secret that the Gallagher brothers are ardent Manchester City supporters, and Noel used to frequent the team’s training sessions to see his favorite players work. Among the former Oasis guitarist’s favorites, though, one name stuck out: Mario Balotelli, whom the rocker dubbed the “first gangster footballer.” He had quite the adventure with the Italian sportsmen as well, as Gallagher described the time a chance arose for him to interview Balotelli, albeit things did not go as planned. Noel was astonished to learn that instead of Mario interviewing him, people asked that the rocker ask the questions. After the initial shock, Gallagher had no problem interviewing Balotelli, and while the two were talking, the guitarist inquired about the whereabouts of his iconic ‘Why always me?’ shirt, which the footballer wore during a match against Manchester United in 2011, criticizing the press for seemingly always targeting him. Noel got the brilliant idea of asking Balotelli if he could give him the shirt after the star replied that it was somewhere in his Milan residence. Mario promised the singer that he would send him the shirt because he didn’t hesitate to say yes. However, things did not turn out the way Gallagher had hoped.

The rocker’s assistant called him right before a show in South Korea to tell him about a parcel he received, which had a shirt with the words ‘Why always me?’ on it. So Noel asked his aide to give him a picture, and after he finished the event and returned to his hotel, Gallagher was unhappy to see that the shirt Balotelli provided him was a poor copy manufactured by a Manchester City kitman. The guitarist discusses interviewing Mario and how phony merchandise got to him: “So, my office is well-known for getting the short end of the stick. ‘You know, while you’re up in Manchester, do you want to conduct an interview with Mario Balotelli?’ remarked my manager. So I replied, ‘Yeah, alright.’ It’s for a show called ‘Football Focus,’ and I’m waiting for training to end when the guy asks, ‘Do you want to see the questions?’ I told him, ‘I don’t like to see the questions before the interview,’ and he added, ‘But you’re asking him the f*cking questions,’ to which I replied, ‘What?’ Then he walks in, and I have to question him. ‘What the f*ck?’ I think. So I was asking to him, ‘Why always me shirt?’ ‘Oh, I don’t know, it’s in a holdall somewhere at my flat in Milan,’ he responded. And I joked, ‘Can I have it,’ and he answered, ‘sure, sure, you can have it, no problem.’ And I saw him a couple of times after that and asked, ‘Can I have that shirt?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, no problem.'”

He went on to say: “Then, while I’m on tour in South Korea, my PA Kat calls and says I have a parcel from Manchester City […] ‘Open it,’ I urged, and she said it was a blouse with the words ‘Why always me?’ on it. And I said, ‘F*ck off. ‘There’s no way.’ So I asked her to take a picture of it, put it on my iPad, and went to do the gig, gazing at the image in the hotel room and thinking, ‘I cannot believe he’s given me that enormous piece of… Wait a second, that doesn’t look right – the question mark is simply a letter ‘g’ turned upside down. So I Googled the actual shirt and discovered that it is not the actual shirt! So I called a kitman I know and asked him, ‘Is this the real shirt?’ ‘No, he was so embarrassed that he offered it to you that I just made one up for you,’ he explained. ‘But it’s not even a real f*cking question mark!’ I exclaimed. But I still have it framed at home.” So, it appears that Balotelli didn’t want to share his iconic shirt with Gallagher, but because he had promised him several times on different occasions, he decided to keep his promise in a way and sent him a duplicate, probably hoping Noel wouldn’t notice. He did notice, but the bogus merch didn’t bother him because the musician hung the shirt in his house.

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