Music lovers will also recognize it as a hotbed of talent, led by 1990s superstars Oasis and The Stone Roses.
Now the two worlds are colliding, thanks to Bands FC, a duo that creates artistic interpretations of football crests blended with band names.
“Football teams have far better designers than bands do,” explains Manchester-native Nick Fraser, one of the Bands FC founders.
Since kicking off in June, Bands FC has created 500 crests, while raising £45,000 ($59,0000) for charity, Fraser says.
“I love it when they play each other, because this city comes alive with people from all over the place,” says Fraser, who has worked with bands in music festivals, “but I’m not going to be heartbroken about any result.”
That’s because he and his Bands FC partner Mark Liptrott, a graphic designer and art teacher, both swore off football fandom early on.
“I absolutely love football,” Fraser says, “but I saw what happened when you supported a team, you’d get absolutely harangued by the other team. I couldn’t take being on the receiving end.”
“You don’t lose a gig, so that’s why I got into music,” he adds. “The fact that we’re not partisan football fans means we can be objective with the designs.”
‘Teams love them’
Meanwhile, Manchester United’s red devil is given a modern makeover, with The Stone Roses replacing the club’s name on the crest.
Many of the designs are made with clever hidden references, like Death Cab for Cutie replacing Derby County FC on the team’s logo (check their initials).
Others include AC/DC, complete with cannon, invading Arsenal’s red crest, Blur colliding with Chelsea’s badge and Brookyln’s Beastie Boys taking over the classic New York Cosmos swirl.
Parisian robotic DJ duo Daft Punk personally thanked Bands FC for their interpretation of the Paris Saint-Germain logo, marked by hidden robo-helmets shaping the outline of the Eiffel Tower.
So far no word from the surviving members of the Beatles, perhaps because they were placed on the crest of Spanish club Villarreal rather one of their nearby clubs, Liverpool or Everton.
The Beatles crest has “20 references” says Fraser, the most obvious being Villarreal’s nickname: The Yellow Submarine. Liverpool FC’s crest went to Liverpudlian band Echo & The Bunnymen instead.
Considering Bands FC cheerily redesign the logos of well-established clubs, they have hired an intellectual property lawyer in case of any trouble. So far nothing has come up.
“The football teams absolutely love them, we’ve been bugged by teams to make them,” Fraser says, adding they would pull down a badge the moment a team asked them to.
He doesn’t see it happening, though. “You would be seen as the biggest spoilsports in sport,” he says.
Battle of the bands
We don’t know which rock stars will turn up at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, though it’s a good bet that both of the battling brothers of Oasis will be there.
After one final bust-up, Noel and Liam Gallagher went solo in 2009 — both on stage and at Manchester City’s stadium.
Each is seen often at the stands, with lead singer Liam preferring the privacy of a luxury suite and songwriter/guitarist Noel usually mixing in with the crowd before posing with players like Vincent Kompany and coach Pep Guardiola post-match.
Noel often appears as a football pundit on British television and radio, and served as a friendly rival to former United captain and broadcaster Gary Neville.
When asked to sign Neville’s guitars in 2014, Gallagher responded by using colorful language and marking M.C.F.C across them.
Though United currently trail City by nine points in the Premier League table, the Roses can claim superiority over Oasis in the “walkout song”department.
The club have used versions sang by different entertainers, including those by the Marcels, Sha Na Na, and Beady Eye — Liam’s solo band. Sorry Noel.