Hotly-tipped Essex four-piece The Milk release their splendid new single “Broke Up the Family” on April 2nd, so Football Burp caught up with the band’s bassist Luke Ayling for a chat about his beloved Arsenal…
“Broke Up the Family”
You must be delighted with the Gunners’ current form. Do you think you’ll finish above Spurs?
Our guitarist is a Tottenham fan. I was watching the derby in town and he was so smug at 2-0. His face just dropped when we got it back to 2-2.
Did you watch the game against Newcastle United?
I did, yeah. We’ve turned in some great performances of late, it’s really exciting. There’s been a lot of doom and gloom about Arsenal this season and I’ve been sucked into that at times, but fair play to Arsene for turning it around. To put the run together that we have in the league, and going out of the Champions League with some dignity as well, it’s been impressive.
Recent Football Burp Boo-Boy of the Week Theo Walcott turned in another good performance. Do you think he has a future at Arsenal?
Theo’s a confusing player. He’s got all of the attributes to be one of England’s best centre-forwards or right-wingers – everyone’s seen him do it, and that’s what makes him frustrating. I think everyone wants to see him playing on the shoulder of the last defender, in the Henry role – in fact I think Arsene’s even spoken about that himself, even if it hasn’t yet come to fruition. I like Theo and I hope we keep hold of him.
Robin van Persie is simply sensational. You must fear him leaving…
There was always going to be speculation. He’s probably one of the top three players in the world now along with Messi and Ronaldo, so it’s inevitable that big clubs are going to try and turn his head from Arsenal and the life that he’s got in London. The likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Man City and Man United have the money behind them to come in and unsettle him, but I think van Persie will stay, personally – he doesn’t come across as a person who’s overly swayed by the bigger bucks deals, and he’s always talked in interviews about how much he loves London, how settled his wife and kids are, and how much he loves the club.
He’s obviously enjoying himself from the performances he’s putting in, unlike Cesc Fabregas’s last six months here where you could tell his mind was elsewhere. Obviously it was his boyhood dream to go to Barca, but van Persie doesn’t seem to be affected by speculation about his future. I think he’s being sensible, doing his job and saying let’s talk about contracts at the end of the season. Fair play, really.
“(All I Wanted Was) Danger”
Which is your favourite of van Persie’s goals so far this season?
Obviously there are the two volleys against Liverpool and Everton. I think I’ll go with the Everton one – the technique he showed for that was incredible, and like I said there’s probably only him, Ronaldo and Messi in the world who could finish the ball like that. And to have two from him this season! (Laughs)
Arsenal have been linked with moves for Lukas Podolski and Jan Vertonghen of late. Which areas of the squad would you like to see strengthened this summer?
I still think we could use another centre-back because I don’t think Squillaci is up to it and he’s probably on the way out. Cover at full-back is another one that’s been obvious this year – there hasn’t really been anyone to step in when Sagna and Gibbs have been injured, although Santos has apparently just got back. It’s nice to see that we’re starting the search early, especially after last year when we seemed to panic buy on the last day to get Arteta, Santos and all that lot in. We seemed to start slowly because of that. I like Sir Alex Ferguson’s approach of getting players in early, by the end of July, and they tend to hit the ground running. With a few tweaks to the squad, I don’t see why we can’t compete next season, because we’ve got a solid back five now.
Have you managed to get to Highbury and the Emirates much over the years?
The first game I went to was a Champions League game against Benfica at Highbury, maybe three years before we left Highbury. I know a lot of people said “Highbury the library” and all that, but I always had a great time when I went there, getting tanked up and having a couple of burgers on the corner, then into the ground. The fact that the stands were so close to the pitch created a better connection between the players and the fans.
The first game I went to at the Emirates was against West Ham, and we lost – Bobby Zamora at the last lobbed Almunia – so you can imagine the stick I got off my family when I came out of the ground! The Emirates is a really impressive ground, state of the art, but it’s pretty much out of my price range at the moment. I love going though, being in a ground with all those likeminded people rooting for the team.
Finally, if you had to select a five-a-side team out of all the Arsenal players you’ve ever seen, who would you pick?
Can I have six? David Seaman – I was a ‘keeper when I played so he was my hero – Tony Adams, Cesc Fabregas, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie.
Luke, thank you.
Hotly-tipped Essex four-piece The Milk release their excellent new single “Broke Up the Family” on 2nd April. Please visit thisisthemilk.com and place your delivery order today!