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The Courteeners‘ Liam Fray has spoken out to slam ‘sneery classist snobs’ who criticise bands’ fanbases and fans from the North.

The ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ four-piece recently announced a huge homecoming gig at Manchester’s Emirates Old Trafford LCCC. The venue has a capacity of 50,000 – and frontman Liam Fray spoke out in defence of his fans against anyone who might take aim at them.

“If you’re in a band right, you’re there to be shot at, it doesn’t matter what sort of music you do,” Fray told NME. “I don’t think it’s necessarily right to do this, but reviewers and critics – that’s their job, I don’t mind. But when people start having a go at people’s fanbase, writing off people’s fanbases, and you can feel this kind of sneery classist undertone and that’s not okay, that’s really, really uncool. Snobs”

He continued: “Whether it’s Catfishes’ fans or our fans or whoever, and people kind of think because ‘Oh, you’re only really big up North and they’re fucking monkeys who don’t understand anything, you don’t understand what you’re talking about’. Like give me a break, people start to look foolish when they do that. It’s a dangerous game to play, because you start writing off whole swathes of the country.

“Telling the people up North that their opinions don’t matter as much or their taste is not as valid or not as important to them, and they’re like not as important because of where people live, I’ve never heard something so ridiculous. It really does anger me. It just seems absurd.”

As well as defending The Enemy’s Tom Clarke against ‘mean’ critics, Fray also told NME of the band’s ‘special plans’ to honour the couple who bought 67 tickets to their upcoming Manchester Emirates Old Trafford LCC show for a wedding reception party.

The Courteeners release their fifth album, ‘Mapping The Rendezvous’ today. Read the full NME review and verdict here.

Their full upcoming UK and Ireland tour dates are below.

Thu November 10 2016 – STOKE Victoria Hall
Fri November 11 2016 – SOUTHAMPTON O2 Guildhall
Sat November 12 2016 – LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Mon November 14 2016 – BRISTOL O2 Academy Bristol
Tue November 15 2016 – NORWICH UEA
Thu November 17 2016 – BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy Birmingham
Fri November 18 2016 – LIVERPOOL Echo Arena
Sat November 19 2016 – GLASGOW SSE Hydro
Mon November 21 2016 – NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE O2 Academy Newcastle
Tue November 22 2016 – NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Thu November 24 2016 – CARLISLE Sands Centre
Fri November 25 2016 – LEEDS first direct Arena
Wed December 7 2016 – DUBLIN Academy
Thursday December 8 2016 – Belfast Limelight

Sat May 27 2017 – MANCHESTER Emirates Old Trafford