Marcus Russell - Wales On Sunday - 4th December 2005
WHEN Oasis take to the stage in Wales on Saturday, there'll be one Welsh voice cheering louder than all the rest - Ebbw Vale-born Marcus Russell, their manager and friend.
The softly-spoken former school teacher, also chief executive of Ebbw Vale RFC, has been managing the band for the past 12 years.
And despite having toured all over the world with the Gallagher brothers, the Noise and Confusion gig at the Millennium Stadium is the one that means the most.
Marcus, 45, said: "It's going to be a big day for everyone.
"Obviously I'm really pleased, coming from South Wales there's no greater venue for the band to play.
"Liam and Noel have been very keen to play at the stadium ever since it became available. This is the first real opportunity they've had to do it, the first time it has fit in with our touring schedule.
"It's great for them because it's fulfilling an ambition.
"They have never been in the stadium before. Everyone knows they're huge football fans but they've never even caught a game at Cardiff so this will be something incredibly special.
"People who've been there keep telling them the atmosphere and noise in there, with the roof on, is incredible. It'll be an emotional, fantastic night."
Marcus played a pivotal role in Oasis conquering both the UK and America.
But despite his globetrotting - he boards almost as many planes for far-off destinations as Liam and Noel now - his heart remains in Wales.
Speaking from Australia as the Gallaghers left the stage in Melbourne this week, he said: "I was actually at the stadium for the Wales v Australia game last weekend, just before flying to Australia to join the boys on tour.
"I've lost count of the number of games I've seen at the stadium but, strangely enough, I've never seen a concert there so next weekend will be a new experience for me too.
"I'm back and fore to Wales a lot because my family are still here. I probably make it back around twice a month."
In an amazing comeback year, Oasis have played 77 sell-out gigs around the world - from the UK, to Europe, Japan, America and Australia.
Their album, Don't Believe The Truth, which went straight to number one in the UK and Japan when it was released at the end of May, has already spawned two number one singles in the form of Lyla and The Importance Of Being Idle.
And with Scottish and Irish sell-out gigs taking them right up until December 22, a European tour planned for January and February next year, and Let There Be Love looking set to chart high in the singles chart this week, it seems there's no rest for Oasis or Marcus.
He says: "I think you can safely say 2005 is the best year we've ever had. We're just loving it. It has been a very successful year. The boys have a very good work ethic. They're still working hard."
So are the once-brawling brothers now all grown up?
"Yes. And I'm sure their families will be in Cardiff next weekend to support them.
"I think, if anything, they appreciate what they have got and where they are, as artists and individuals, now more than ever.
"And they definitely appreciate the fans. So getting out there and performing has been excellent."
As for Marcus, music has been a part of his life from his early teens, when he remembers his brother bringing home Rolling Stones singles.
He first left Ebbw Vale in 1975 to study education at Middlesex Polytechnic. While there he promoted several punk bands and even staged a show for the Sex Pistols.
When he finished college he settled with his wife in Essex, where he took up a teaching job. But when they split years later, disillusioned with teaching, he drifted into management with Eighties hopefuls Latin Quarter.
When the Smiths split in 1987 he managed guitarist Johnny Marr. And then he saw Oasis.
But his monumental success doesn't mean he's neglected Wales' music industry.
He said: "Oasis recorded their first two albums in Wales. The massive album, What's The Story, Morning Glory? was recorded at Rockfield and we've recorded at Caerleon and Monnow. But the boys have not been back to Wales since then.
"In January and February we are touring Europe and the band have invited the Stereophonics to tour with them. They've never played with them before so that looks set to be a great tour.
"The Super Furry Animals have also been with us for the big UK stadium gigs we did back in June.
"And there was a good relationship with the Manic Street Preachers.
"I don't think it's a conscious decision to keep the Wales connection but over the years everyone gets to know each other. Plus, you know, there are good bands in Wales and all of those who become successful deserve a place on the big stage."