It’s an exciting time to be James Moon, front man of Mancunian epic-rockers Stop The Blackout. Firstly, his beloved Manchester City are five points clear at the top of the Premiership after their unbeaten start to the season was extended with a 5-1 dismantling of Norwich City this weekend. Secondly, his band’s new single “Headlights!” was performed on ESPN and has been used during ITV coverage of both the recent England vs Sweden friendly and the Champions League match between Bayern Leverkusen and Chelsea, while City’s official magazine ManC has dedicated a two-page spread to them in its latest issue.
Thirdly, having played at the Etihad Stadium twice previously, they have been invited back to perform at the Manchester City Christmas party on the day that Roberto Mancini’s men welcome Stoke City. Oh yes, and a debut album recorded with Simon Cullwick [Arctic Monkeys/Atomic Kitten/Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark] is ready for release sometime in 2012, once a suitable label has been found. Football Burp caught up with James to discuss these various matters; but first, for your delectation, here is “Headlights!”…
You must be loving football at the moment!
Yeah. What makes me laugh is, coming from Manchester and having mates who are United fans, the same amount of money has been spent on them. The only difference is that United have kind of earned it whereas it kind of just turned up for City; but, at the end of the day, people are saying, “You’re just trying to buy trophies,” but that’s what happens these days in football.
It’s not just on the field that the benefits of this money have been seen: the owners are investing quite a lot into the club’s infrastructure as well, which sets you up to be a force for many years to come.
Yeah, the whole area around the ground is improving. The Sheikhs are actually doing the whole area up, putting loads of money into all sorts of things, so they’re doing really good things. My sister’s boyfriend plays for Hyde, a small team in Manchester who are actually owned by City, and they’ve been given a new training ground, a new complex and a new kit. They’ve spent loads on them, improving everything, basically.
Are there still any areas of the squad that you’d like to see improved upon?
The squad’s absolutely phenomenal. It’s so good that Tevez isn’t even being missed one bit at all, because you’ve got people like Aguero who’ve stepped up to the mark. With the defence, people keep raving about Lescott but I think that there’s better out there. Our defence is probably the weakest part of City’s team: the midfield is fantastic, Joe Hart’s amazing, the strike force is amazing, so our defence is probably the only slightly weak part, although I would say that it’s pretty much up there with the likes of Tottenham’s, Liverpool’s and Arsenal’s.
What would you say to non-City fans who slag off Gareth Barry?
I’d say they’re just jealous, to be honest. Man City are just getting slated by everyone; it looks to me like they’re becoming one of the Premiership’s most hated teams just because of what they’re doing.
Are you all City fans in the band?
No, the drummer’s a massive Stockport fan. He’s been a season ticket holder for god knows how long and goes abroad. He watched them play in Spain somewhere last year and they got beat something like 5-0. They got beat 7-0 at Grimsby the other day; it kills him. He’s still smiling – they’ve got their manager Jim Gannon back – but it absolutely kills him. He hates it!
So, does the title beckon?
Chelsea and United have some big games coming up in the new year, so it’s ours to lose, basically. The amount of goals we’re scoring at the moment is unbelievable and we’ve already got some of the harder games out of the way, so if City are still top of the league at the beginning of January then I think it’s theirs.
There were some doubts about Roberto Mancini but it must be hard not to be convinced about him at the moment…
It’s always got on my nerves how quick people are to sack managers – everyone was behind Mark Hughes, no-one wanted him to go – but with what Mancini’s doing now, everyone’s right behind him. You can’t be getting those kinds of results if you’re doing something wrong. We’ve not been beat this season and that’s absolutely phenomenal for a team that was in the Second Division ten years ago. It’s unbelievable, to be honest.
Have you been able to get down to Maine Road and/or the City of Manchester Stadium much over the years?
Yeah, quite a bit in the past, although I’ve never actually had a season ticket. This season, I’ve only been to four games because of work commitments and the band and stuff.
You guys played at the stadium recently, didn’t you?
Yeah, we’ve actually played there twice. We’ve not played actually on the pitch to sixty-thousand people: we played on a complex they’ve got outside the ground, but still in front of a few thousand people. We played before the Wolves game last year, and the, day before the FA Cup final in May, in the ground for the players and stuff. That was pretty good.
Could you name the first, best and worst games you ever went to?
I think the first game was against Norwich in ’94. The worst is every game they get beat, to be honest, and the best games are always the derby games. I didn’t go to it but the 6-1 recently would have been the ultimate game. I didn’t go to the 1999 playoff final against Gillingham either, which also would have been amazing.
Finally, if you had to pick a five-a-side team out of all the City players you’ve seen in your time as a fan, who would you pick?
I’d definitely have Joe Hart in nets. Rosler and Kinkladze up front. Midfield I don’t know because they’ve got some good players at the minute. Barry might even be in there, I’m not too sure. There are too many good players that I don’t know. Paul Dickov?
James, thank you.
“Headlights!”, the new single by Stop The Blackout, is out now. Click here to download it from iTunes and here to download it from Amazon. For more information and a list of live dates, please visit www.stoptheblackout.com