Since forming, Blossoms have taken their sound from Stockport into the stratosphere. One of the most successful British bands for a new era, their appreciation for Greater Manchester and their support for Man City is emphatic. Donning the 20/21 Puma Manchester City 3rd kit, we spoke to Tom and Joe from the band about how football has cut through their musical careers and how Messi on an English Motorway is something they're so desperate to see.

So let’s kick off with your relationship with football - where did it start for you guys?

Tom: It started for me through my mum and my dad, both sides of my family are City fans. From as early as I can remember I was in to football. I think I had a Euro 96 England kit. I would have only been three but I can remember getting them. I remember falling in love with it and then that’s all my life revolved around. I started playing when I was about seven then went to my first game at City at Maine Road in 1999 against Burnley in the League Cup. So for as long as I can remember, it’s always been around me and something I’ve loved from day one.

Joe: With me it was a bit different. My family have always been City fans but my dad was a market trader. It meant that he worked on Saturday’s so when I was growing up, football wasn’t really something we could do. I remember a photo of my dad in a City kit but I think over the years he might have just fallen out of love with it and family came first. It wasn’t until school when football came on my radar. Then when I started hanging around with Tom and we became mates we started going to games on a Saturday.

Tom: He (Joe) played in nets for the school team but that was a bit of a joke, that. He was a good keeper. I was no Ederson.

Football has been a running theme over the years with you guys - sponsoring stockport, playing at their stadium - have you always wanted to keep both world’s close?

Joe: It’s been very natural but I think the biggest thing about it comes from when me and Tom used to go to the football before we were in a band. We had season tickets and then the band came together it became all we would ever talk about. If I went around his, we'd obviously talk about the band and music and what we wanted to do but football was probably the only thing we can go to where the band doesn’t get brought up.

Tom: We used to play FIFA a lot as well. It’s always been there for us as a talking point. It sounds simple but music and football, they go hand in hand are what our lives are all about. It’s the same for a lot of other people - those two things are what people are in to. I suppose a lot of people who go to games are also into music as well. Wherever you go, it’s how connections are made because we’ll always get asked about football, it connects so many people.

Joe: Even our mates who aren’t into music, football is that one thing that binds us all. I think it’s that working class town thing where football just means so much to everyone and obsessed about it. Especially when you’re living in somewhere like Stockport and Greater Manchester. There’s two huge teams in the city and then Stockport County as well. It’s a big talking point all the time.

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Is it a bit of an escape for you guys? Music must be so consuming, it must be good to have a distraction through football…

Tom: I think so, yeah. When we’re home and we go to games, it’s nice to back in that environment. When you do something like we do for a living, it can be so obsessive in a way and you can’t really escape. Football is something that can take your mind somewhere else. You’re not thinking “oh, what song are we going to record, we need to write this song” and all that kind of thing. It’s a really good way to escape.

Joe: I turn into a 17 year old again and just start screaming. I remember the steward looking at me last time we went to City with this look on his face. I was just thinking… “I bet I look like an absolute tool.” There’s some people who definitely sit near us thinking, “I know he’s in a band but he needs to chill out a bit…” I just go all out when I’m at the football.

You’ve been involved in City kit launches before - always with wild kits - are those situations a bit of a dream when you think back to younger selves?

Tom: It’s so strange because it’s almost beyond a dream. It’s something you never thought would even be possible let alone happen. It’s funny. It’s something you just can’t say no to. If I could tell my ten year old self that this kind of thing was going to happen, you’ve just got to do it because it’s the team you’ve grown up loving. So to be involved or to just be a small part of things, even being associated with the club - it’s a no brainer.

Joe: It’s exactly that - it’s the stuff you’d never imagine happening. If City signed one of us and then we played for them that’s the stuff of dreams - modelling the new shirt wasn’t on the radar as a ten year old - it’s class to be involved. I think it’s mint how City have always involved us. Early on in the band, they’ve always looked after us. They invited us down to a game right at the beginning and have looked after us really well. They’re a club that’s always had a strong connection to music given everything with Oasis and I think the fact they’re on it with music makes us love the club even more.

How much does it reflect the success you guys have had over the last decade?

Tom: Yeah it’s one of those, especially given what the world has been going through. You can get caught up in everything that’s going on and often you don’t really realise what you’ve done. It’s good to reflect and appreciate all the things you have achieved. With what we do, you’re always looking forward and your life is pretty planned out. We’ve had conversations already about what we’ll be doing in 2023 which is just so far ahead. It’s nice to look at opportunities like this where the club and puma have asked us to be involved, we must be doing something right. We’ve achieved a lot as a band in seven years. It’s makes you proud to be doing what you’re doing.

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It’s a high moment but talk about the graft, how hard have you had to work to get where you have?

Joe: Because you’re doing something you love, it doesn’t feel hard. It’s only when you stop and think back and think about the times we’ve driven to Inverness then to Brighton, did a gig, loading everything ourselves and take that all in when you realised all the graft that went in. Now its like this is the easy bit because we’ve put all the time in to get where we have. When you’re lucky enough to have a crew and a tour manager and have people to sort everything out, it’s a dream. I was driving the van about, ringing up venues to try and get gigs at the start, trying to get a manager - it’s the most fun thing ever because there’s no pressure but you’ve got to put a lot of work in.

Tom: I’d say the pressure has changed now because where we’ve got to, there’s not just one thing that holds the key to it. There’s so many different parts. It’s a puzzle. Firstly the five of you have to get on and be on the same page completely, then you’ve got to have the songs, then the songs have to fall into the lap of the right people, then when you’re in there you’ve got to keep writing and producing good songs. Like Joe says, because you’re having the time of your life and your young, there’s none of those fears at the start - you just go in there and start writing and thinking you’re going to do it.

Joe: I remember when I was younger seeing Noel and Liam talking about them breaking through and being asked if they ever thought they weren’t going to do it. Their response was straight back “no”. I remember thinking, I’d love to be that cocky. I’d love to be that confident. I thought they were just saying it to be who they are and confident with the media but then when we had our first jam together and the first gig, we all had that feeling and knew straight away we had something. From then, we had that confidence and had no doubts. I remember when I walked in to quit my job, I didn’t once think I would be back there in a few years asking for it back. I just knew. It’s all about that belief and all five of us having that same belief.

Tom: There is a massive amount of hard work and you’re rehearsing every day. You look back and realise that you probably neglected other parts of your life at that time but we were willing (sorry mum) to put all that to the side and focus on the band.

There’s the obvious comparisons between musicians graft and a footballers training, once you sign for a big club or get that record deal, is that when a different kind of work starts?

Tom: Yeah that’s a new pressure and you do feel that but you’ve got to turn it into motivation and fuel to make you want to do it. You could easily flip the other way and let it consume you. There has been times when I’ve felt like that but touch wood it’s not dried up so as long as that doesn’t happen we’ll keep writing and writing and releasing music quickly because we’ve got nothing else to do.

How integral is the wider creative scene in Manchester been to getting you where you are?

Tom: I think it’s massively helped to be where we’re from. Because people love music so much up here, they properly get behind the bands perhaps more so than they do anywhere else in the world. If you’ve got something then the people are behind you and they’ll flock to see you. We got bigger in Manchester before we did anywhere else and it took the rest of the country a bit of time to catch up. We were playing The Ritz in Manchester and selling that out while playing to other parts of the country to half the amount of people. In Stockport we played to 15,000 at the Stockport County stadium last year as one of our gigs and we probably couldn’t do that in too many other places in the country. You see it with someone like Sam Fender and Newcastle - even though he’s massive everywhere, he has that hometown support behind him.

Joe: Manchester is such a strong place for music. People always come out in numbers for gigs up here no matter where the band is from. When you speak to other bands they always comment on how good Manchester crowds are. I don’t know what it is but there’s something there with the people up here. The crowds up north are so good.

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It’s only right city have a kit that reflects such a creative part of the world - What do make of the paisley design?

Joe: When I first saw it, I was proper buzzing with it. Puma have really put it out there in such a good way. I’ve never seen Paisley on a football shirt before. Obviously it can be like marmite for people but I love it. The thing that makes it better is that it’s just putting out a generic design. It means something. This can have the same effect as that Nigeria shirt from the last World Cup. I loved that. I love what City and Puma have done here because it has such a good back story. All the creativity of the city, the music, the fashion, the design and all three of City’s kits have that this year - there’s a genuine link to Manchester which goes a long way for me.

Tom: Sometimes you’ve got to push yourself outside the box. If you’re in your comfort zone with anything, you’ll get slagged off regardless so you may as well do something different and try it. It’s so important to not stay in that comfort zone.

Joe: I just get surprised about the number of middle aged guys that slag off any kit. It’s not like they’re going to be wearing the full kit. It’s a football kit, why get so irate [laughs].

You guys have your look, a strong one - always interesting to see how football shirts can be moulded to different people’s tastes - do you have that child like connection to a football shirt?

Tom: Yeah you definitely associate them with eras and the players that wore each shirt. All the time wrapped up in that moment and the memories that you have attached to it - when you see one you remember, it instantly triggers so many thoughts and can take you back to a place.

Imagine if this one became associated with a Messi era…

Joe: Imagine that. I’ve had to mute Messi on my twitter because I started to get so excited about it.

Tom: Every night he’s been on at me sending messages about Messi. I’m just like, “how many different stories can there possibly be?”

Joe: It just changes every hour and I’m getting deep into watching whether Messi’s dad is flying to Manchester [laughs]. It’s like torture. Everyone wants him to come to the Premier League.

Tom: It’s the small stuff I can’t imagine. Never mind the legality of getting there, just him waking up in Ancoats or Deansgate. He can’t just walk about. Him driving down the A6 - I just can’t see it.

Joe: If he’s going to go somewhere though… we’ve been around the Man City training facility and it is incredible. It’s next level and so with him, Pep, Aguero, it’s the obvious place and reason why we’re favourites. Surely we’re the best place for him. Realistically, I think something will happen and he’ll stay at Barca. They’ll have a re-shuffle behind the scenes and he’ll be happy to stay.

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Much like the hunger of getting back to a match, how hungry are you to get playing live again?

Tom: Yeah this is the longest we’ve not played together in front of crowds and we’re all just itching to get going again now. The fact that we were halfway through a tour when everything went into lockdown, it feels like we have a lot of unfinished business. We were releasing songs and had a new record out so it feels like we’re just ready to hit the ground running. It’s heartbreaking to not play live because that’s what we love doing. Obviously there’s a bigger thing at hand but you miss it so much.

Joe: Everyone is going through it together and we’re starting to see socially distanced gigs so we’ll see what happens. We’ve been busy on other things like demo’ing and we’ll be in the studio from next week. So we can keep busy and keep our minds working. A part of it is sad because we had a record out that all felt so right and we’ve only been able to play those songs to a small amount of people. By the time we’re through all this we could have another record out so it would be sad to think these tracks wouldn’t get the listens they deserve.

A lot of players have said it’s the first time they’ve stopped playing in like 10 years - has it been like that for you guys over the last few months or was it a time to be more productive if anything?

Tom: 100% you’ve got to take the positives where you can. We had a few weeks where stayed home, drank and ate and wondered what else there was to do. But us as people, we just can’t sit still and do nothing. You have to turn it into something creative otherwise you just feel like you have no purpose. That’s why we started releasing isolation tracks. It kept us busy but also meant we could reach out and engage with our fans. We had so many ideas over the last few months.

Joe: I think it’s just the way we are as people. You have to keep busy to stay sane. In our jobs, a lot of people work from home and that’s great but for us as a band, there’s only so much we can do on our own. It’s a collective. We bought a new rehearsal room and so I was doing the lot in there - painting an decorating, fixing fridges - you name it. That’s how mad I was by not doing anything.

Tom: I wrote a load of songs as well during this time so as soon as they said we could go back to work, with distancing, we went straight in on the day we could. I couldn’t wait.

How excited are you about the return of football and having that back in your lives as a distraction?

Joe: When it came back and it was up and running, I loved how close together it all was and how much football we could watch. It felt more like a World Cup in that sense. Game after game. It made me more hungry for football if anything and I’ve really noticed those weeks since it finished that I miss it. I’m just always thinking “when are City next playing?!”. I loved it. It was relentless and all on TV too. I remember the first game coming back and thinking it just feels like training or pre-season and not being that into it but all of sudden I got used to it so quickly. It was mint when it came back but definitely not the same without fans.

Tom: I can’t wait. It’s going to be so good and it means we can look forward. Going back to football, going back to gigs - it’s what we all want.

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Pick up the Manchester City 20/21 third shirt at