The Spanish sun has set on a beautiful July night in Valencia, as three English lions limber up and pull on the new England away strip. But this isn’t Messrs Terry, Lampard and Rooney at the Mestalla. It is Will Kennard, Saul Milton and MC Rage of Chase & Status at Benicassim Festival.
Umbro chose the mainstream-smashing, dance music titans to front the launch of the new navy-blue kit – set to feature at the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine if qualification is secured in Montenegro this Friday. If Fabio Capello’s team can replicate the success enjoyed by Chase & Status in their field, we’ll be talking about an England side competing seriously for the main prize come next summer.
With a score of top 10 hits and Radio 1 playlist compilers bowing to their every move, commercial success has been added to C & S’s reputation as raucous live-show favourites. The trio told Sabotage that while they felt downright sympathy for rival acts who were forced to follow their sets at festivals this summer, the ambassadorial role of donning the Three Lions in Spain certainly had a humbling effect…
How does it feel to be part of this England kit campaign?
It feels amazing. Being among the first to wear the shirt when we launched it at Benacassim was really lovely and the whole thing was quite surreal. Performing in an England kit abroad we were expecting a bit of hostility but it was easier than we thought as most of the fans there were English. The whole thing was a top experience.
How do you rate this shirt?
It’s one of our favourite England shirts for a long time, it’s stylish with that old-fashioned, tailored, classy feel.
Trawling through the kits of yesteryear, what is your favourite England shirt of all time?
The shirts from the 1986 and Italia ‘90 World Cups are classics. They’re great shirts and symbolic of memorable tournaments, even if they did end in disappointment.
What is your favourite ever England moment?
Beckham’s last minute free-kick against Greece in 2001 was massive, as was Michael Owen’s solo goal against Argentina in ’98…it’s hard to choose. You can’t forget the Lineker moments in ’86 and ’90 though, and you’ve got to include David Platt’s volley v Belgium as well! Too many great goals and great moments in there to choose one…
Being among the first to wear the shirt when we launched it at Benacassim was really lovely and the whole thing was quite surreal.
Can you remember the first time you had your heart broken by England?
Yeah, 1986 in Mexico was the first and still is the main one for us. What with the ‘Hand of God’ and how we close we came, it was utter heart-break watching as a youngster. There are so many gutting moments to be honest, but that’s what adds to it all with England.
You're forced to take the mantle from Mr Capello for the last game of the European Championships in Montenegro: who would make up your first XI?
Hart. Smalling, Terry, Ferdinand and Cole across the back. Lampard, Wilshere (if he was fit) and Parker in midfield - no place for Stevie Gerrard I’m afraid - with Young, Rooney and Bent going forward. How’s that?
Good. Could you see yourself making an England song for a major tournament?
That would be amazing, it would be an honour just to be asked. No doubt it’d be a real challenge to get it right but we’d definitely love to do that…. We’d take on a Sex Pistols vibe, Dr Martens and all…
Here’s a scenario: MC Rage has tonsillitis ruling him out of your live show. Inexplicably, you’re asked to replace him with an England player past or present to get the crowd pumped and lay down some bars. Who would it be?
Psycho. You’d have to have Stuart Pearce. If not, Ashley Young because no-one would tell the difference between him and Rage!
In the age-old club v country debate, what would you prefer? Success and trophies for your club sides come the summer, or England to win the European Championships?
I think we’d have to say England winning the European Championships. It’s easy to lose heart with our country but you’ve got to support them. There’s always hope.
Is there hope?
Yeah of course! We’ve just got to beat the Spanish. Get us passing the ball a bit more and we’ll be laughing.
Footballing matters aside, are you excited about getting back to the bread and butter of your own tour after a summer of festivals?
We love being back on tour doing our own thing and the travelling is not quite so bad as doing the festival circuit, but there have been so, so many highlights from this summer it’s hard to say. We did some of the best European festivals we’ve ever done this year. We’ve been to Denmark, Norway, Holland, all over the place, and there were some incredible shows. Glastonbury was particularly special for us, but Benicassim was easily one of our highlights from the past 5 years too.
Do you feel added pressure to win the crowd over with your festival sets given that people aren’t there solely to see you?
We like that fact. We like that it’s hard for people to come on after we’ve played. We feel sorry for people playing on the same stage as us, as you wouldn’t want to come on before, or after a Chase & Status set. We don’t feel loads of pressure, we just go out, do what we do, and put pressure on the other acts instead!
Chase & Status are Umbro ambassadors for the new England away kit, click here for more information on these beautifully tailored shirts
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