Today sees the release of Augustines’ new single “Now You Are Free”, taken from their eponymous breakthrough album. Tonight sees Arsenal take on Newcastle United, where a win would go a long way towards securing a top four finish.
What better way to celebrate these twin events, then, than a jolly good natter with Augustines drummer Rob Allen about his beloved Gunners?
What do you make of Arsenal’s season so far?
It’s been a bloody weird one, hasn’t it? When we were top of the league I didn’t think we’d drop down to 4th or potentially 5th – I thought we’d at least hang on for 2nd or 3rd.
Making the FA Cup final is a bit of good news, though. I think it’s on the 18th and our tour finishes on the 16th, so my parents are trying to get me a ticket. I’ve never been to a cup final before so that would be great.
I was almost hoping that Hull would beat us in the Premiership the other week so we don’t get complacent – I hope they don’t go into this match thinking it’ll be a walkover, because it’s going to be a tough game.
It’s no surprise to see you playing well again now that Ramsey’s back, Özil’s back and Cazorla looks to have rediscovered some form…
Cazorla’s like an angel! He’s such a talent, I love watching him and I think he’ll get better the longer he stays at Arsenal. Next season you should see him shine a bit more.
As for Ramsey – and I’ll probably get in trouble for saying this – the amount of stick some of our fans gave that kid was wrong, especially after breaking his leg like that which always takes a while to recover from.
When you break your leg the pain is excruciating – you’re always going to have that in the back of your mind, so it takes a while to get over that mental fear.
He’s done wonderfully well to get back to his best, he’s playing without fear now and he’s pushing the team on. He makes such a difference when he’s there.
Do you still trust Wenger to take the club forward?
I get frustrated when people say “you’ve got to get rid of Wenger now, haven’t you?” – okay, but who are you going to bring in? The answer is always “oh, I dunno”. No one has an answer.
Any big-name manager you bring in is going to want a war chest of £50m-£100m just to bring in the players that they want. The fact of the matter is that we don’t have the money for that.
We’ve made some investments off the pitch, developed Highbury into flats that we’ve been selling, and we’ve bought some properties – apparently we’re going to have new sponsors too, so there will be money coming in more and more.
However, we still can’t compete financially with Chelsea and Manchester City so firstly I don’t know who we’d replace Wenger with, and – although I sometimes wonder about him tactically – he is one of the best managers in the world and can develop talent.
How many managers have built three or four different new teams in their reign? We had a tough period where we lost quite a few players who went away for more money – van Persie, Hleb, Song, even Flamini.
But we always find new talent from around the world because we’ve got one of the best scouting networks around. I don’t think there’s anyone else who could do all that, so I’d have to say yes, I think Wenger should stay for as long as he wants to.
Finally, if you had to select a five-a-side team out of all the Arsenal players you’ve seen in your time as a fan, who would you pick?
I could probably give you a full XI if you wanted it.
Definitely Seaman in goal. Left-back is Kenny Samson. Tony Adams and Steve Bould at centre-back. Lauren at right-back.
Patrick Vieira obviously, and just for a bit of fun we’ll stick John Jensen in the middle next to him! Paul Merson right-wing, Marc Overmars left-wing, Cazorla in the hole and the king – Thierry Henry – up front.
Rob Allen, thank you.
Augustines’ new single “Now You Are Free” is out now. For more information, please visit the official Augustines website.