Great moments in football, like great music, are often not about the technical proficiency of a moment. Instead, they are about the storytelling.
Aguero’s title-winning strike wasn’t a feat of footballing excellence, it was the bombastic crescendo of City’s “noisy neighbours” narrative that had been bubbling for decades. Reiss Nelson’s half volley against Bournemouth wasn’t just about the in-game comeback, it was emblematic of hope returning to the Emirates and bottled in a singular, cataclysmic second. Euro 96, Cantona’s chip, Jonás Gutiérrez’s return, Michael Thomas at Anfield, Maradona in Italy: football is only as good as the stories it is telling.
For the single, ‘Baggio’, from his latest album One Man Band, Miles Kane is telling his own football story. A childhood hero of The Last Shadow Puppets’ co-founder, Roberto Baggio is the human embodiment of youthful nostalgia for the singer.
Fresh from reuniting with Arctic Monkeys at The Emirates for the London stop of their world tour, Miles spoke to PENALTY about the whirlwind of actually meeting Baggio, his love of vintage football shirts, seeing songs from his new album as his form of storytelling, and being truthful to himself.
“You are my mother”: this is what Miles recalled thinking during his afternoon at Roberto Baggio’s Italian estate. Spoken in a typically tongue-in-cheek manner, the singer referred to the surprising comfort felt when meeting such an iconic figure from his childhood. “Baggio said ‘get the wine out’, and I was like ‘yeah, let’s get the wine out’. It reminded me of being at my mums. You know when you go to your mums and there’s always crisps upon arrival”. This ease was perhaps even more jarring given the sudden turn of events that led to the pair meeting.
A mere couple of days after the single ‘Baggio’ was released, Miles Kane received word that Baggio himself had heard the song. A fortnight later, after a small documentary crew was assembled for the journey, the two were mingling over some snacks and wine. “There was just this ease with him. I’m not sure if he felt it with me, but we were like hugging each other and his arms were open. I think it’s just, ‘real knows real’, and I mean that in a nice way not an arrogant one.”
This realness is at the heart of Miles’ songwriting and is on grand display throughout One Man Band. The artist covers everything he considers true to himself, whether it is as simple as his admiration for Robert DeNiro, or as intimate as his self-proclaimed tendency to be scared in love. He says of the album, “it’s just my own little story. I just hope other people can relate to what I’m talking about.”
There was a deliberate motivation for The Rascals former frontman’s latest album to be rooted in honesty. “I wanted to make this the most me this album can possibly be. I wanted it to be emotional and powerful and I didn’t want to overthink it," Miles paused before explaining “that’s where I’m at in my life, I just wanna be straightforward with no hidden agendas: this is me y’know.” It seems this self-reflection was key to constructing ‘Baggio’ and resulted in the documentary that Miles considers one of the favourite things he’s ever done.
“I didn’t set out to write a tune about Baggio. I was just thinking about being a kid, thinking of my mum’s house.” The documentary captures Miles’ child-like awe everyone feels around their sporting heroes. The football stories that unfolded on the TV when you were nine, or the first time you go to a match, end up being visceral signposts throughout your life. “I love the story of ‘Baggio’, it’s a story of childhood.”
Having been gifted a signed Baggio shirt from the man himself, the Merseyside-born singer now considers his vintage football shirt collection complete. After spending hundreds on eBay searching for authentic Italian shirts throughout the years, Miles asserted “Shirts were just so much chicer than they are now. It’s a bit Transformers now isn’t it?” As for the next album and new obsessions, Miles jokes: “I’ll have to be like ‘you know what, I’ve always loved tennis!’”
Miles Kane’s new single ‘Searching For Baggio’ is out now here and the album One Man Band is released everywhere August 4th.
Photography: Charlie Salt