Punk-pop heroes The Subways are back with their third album Money and Celebrity, so Football Burp caught up with drummer Josh Morgan for a jolly good chinwag about his beloved Arsenal. It’s been a turbulent old time for Arsene Wenger’s young Gunners but a flurry of incoming deadline day activity has given cause for renewed optimism, if not quite erasing the painful memories of that shuddering 8-2 defeat at Manchester United in their last Premier League outing…
Are you happy with the signings Arsenal made last week?
I am quite happy with them, to be honest. I think it was quite obvious that we had to make them after the kicking we were given by Manchester United, so it’s turned out to be a positive thing because we’ve got Santos, Mertesacker, Arteta and Benayoun. I don’t know much about Santos but I know that the other three are fantastic so I’m pretty chuffed to be honest.
Is Santos being lined up to play at left-back? Kieran Gibbs hasn’t really been working out there of late…
Yeah. It’s interesting – Gibbs has certainly got potential but it’s quite a lot to ask for him to be a first team player straight away because Clichy was so experienced and such a strong left-back, so I think we need someone there with a bit of experience.
The sale of Clichy has been somewhat forgotten about amidst all the palaver surrounding Fabregas and Nasri leaving – are you disappointed that you sold him, especially for just £7m?
I’m not that fussed about Fabregas because clearly he was desperate to go back home and he leaves with no hard feelings, but I’m slightly upset about Nasri and Clichy. They obviously went because of the money. I think we had the squad there to make it into the Champions League again this season but Nasri left and I do believe it was for the money. He’s broken his hand as well, which is quite funny.
Apparently he broke it trying to lift up his wallet.
(Laughs) Yeah, of course!
Are there any other areas you’d like to have seen strengthened? Arshavin reckons you were in for M’Vila until the last minute.
That’s right, yeah. We were looking at a few people but, once Fabregas and Nasri left, I think a lot of players lost interest in moving to us. To be honest, a lot of them are looking at us as a mid-table team now and I can see that because we lost that creative midfield spark. I think Benayoun is a quality player, completely underrated, but it’s been so clear in our games this season that there’s no creativity from the midfield. We’ve got a good set of holding midfielders with Song and Frimpong, who looks great, Rosicky puts the ball about a bit but there’s no-one who can really play that killer ball. We had to make that signing but it was quite clear that players didn’t really want to come, I think.
Do you think Scott Parker would have been worth a go?
I think he would have been a brilliant signing. I was asking questions about why we didn’t go for him. We signed Gervinho for the wing but I personally believe that our wings are very strong as it is. I would have understand if he was a big, strong centre-forward but he isn’t, he’s 5’10” and probably weighs about thirteen stone, and we’ve already got about six of those at our club! He’ll probably get injured halfway through the season, just like everyone else at Arsenal.
Now now, he could turn out to be as good as Bendtner or Chamakh…
(Laughs) Oh, god! I went to the Udinese home match and I’ve always wanted to give Chamakh a chance – “yeah, he’ll do well” – and he did pretty well at the beginning of last season. But he was woeful against Udinese, nowhere in the attack at all. I feel sorry for him and I really want to see him do well. Maybe he needs more time. As for Bendtner, I’m not sure I can forgive him for that touch against Barcelona, that woeful touch that completely ruined our chances!
Do you think Arshavin should play more centrally? He seems to be wasted out on the left…
Wenger has a knack for doing this, doesn’t he? He did it with Nasri as well. When Fabregas got injured last season, he put Nasri in the centre and we looked a lot better. For some strange reason, we use Arshavin on the wing but I think he would be great in the centre. He’s obviously got so much potential – remember that 4-4 draw against Liverpool a few seasons ago when he scored all four? And they were phenomenal finishes!
Overall, then, do you still have faith that Wenger will get it right?
Yes, I do. I think we should keep believing in him and I generally hate the idea of managers being let go for such ridiculous reasons as losing a match or not doing well for six months. Even if we don’t finish top four this season, we should still keep faith in him, still believe in him. It wouldn’t be the end of the world because Manchester City and Chelsea get so much money pumped into them that we’re not going to be able to compete with them. I do love that he goes for youth all the time and I do believe that’s how football should be.
You can’t compete against teams like Manchester City. I mean, if Mancini doesn’t win anything this season, then he’s a complete fool because he’s been given all the money in the world. I don’t even think they need him – they could just stick eleven of the best players in the world on the field, let them do what they want and they’d still win! That’s how it’s looking at the moment. When money’s involved in football to that extent, it ruins the game. You see them win 5-1 at Tottenham Hotspur – who, I hate to say, have a pretty fantastic squad – and when they beat a pretty much full-strength Spurs side 5-1, you wonder what the hell’s happening. Three years ago, they were crap!
Don’t worry, they’ll find a way to screw it all up. It’s in their DNA. So, do you manage to get to many games?
I’m going to the Swansea game on Saturday and I went to the Udinese home game. Obviously we’re away a lot of the time so I try to take in what I can, which isn’t a lot unfortunately.
Can you remember the first game you ever went to?
I went to see Luton Town against Bristol Rovers with a friend about twelve years ago, maybe longer. My first Arsenal game was against Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup last season.
Finally, who would you name as your top five personal favourite Gunners from your time as a fan?
Number one is Thierry Henry, obviously. Dennis Bergkamp number two – unbelievable flair and he got stuck in as well. That’s what Arsenal are lacking right now, a bit of aggression. I think Ray Parlour’s pretty awesome! I’d say Lee Dixon – he was solid but also interesting and quirky. And David Seaman. I’m sure all of those players played together but I was trying to pick one for each position!
They’d make a pretty good five-a-side team. Come to think of it, that’s how we should pose the question from now on: “which five players from your time as a supporter of Club X would you pick in a five-a-side team”?
Josh, thank you.
Money and Celebrity, the new album by The Subways, is released on 19th September 2011 on Cooking Vinyl. See www.thesubways.net for more details.