Talking Aston Villa with… Editors

Editors bassist Russell Leetch talks to Burp about his beloved Aston Villa.

Editors… All Villa no filler (Image: Matt Spalding)

Editors recently released “Formaldehyde”, the latest single to be taken from their fourth album The Weight of Your Love, and shall be embarking on a UK tour across November.

Good time, then, to have a natter with bassist Russell Leetch about his beloved Aston Villa – well, maybe not such a good time in terms of their most recent result…

What was your reaction to the defeat at home to Newcastle on Saturday?

I went to see the game with very high hopes after the first three games, so I was very disappointed.

What do you think went wrong?

I don’t know, I just didn’t understand why they had so little about them as a team. I hadn’t seen them play that badly in a long time, it was completely baffling.

Do you think it might have had something to do with the 4-3-3 formation?

Yeah, I think he needs to swap that around. I’d like to see a 4-4-2 or a 4-5-1.

There’s no one in our midfield who’s going forward and creating. We had two 6ft 4 players on the pitch and we didn’t even cross it. Everyone plays FIFA, they know how to do that!

What are your thoughts on Antonio Luna and the other new signings so far?

I quite like the look of Luna. He’s good going forward, like Lowton, but not the best at defending.

I understand that full-backs are now part of the attack but it is still important for them to be able to defend. But he’s new to the game, so that’s okay.

Of the other new signings, I like the look of Tonev and I’d like to see him play more. He looks like he’s going to be a bit more of a playmaker, which I think we need.

I’m not so sure about Kozak. Is he supposed to be there instead of Benteke? I’m not sure yet, but it’s very early days.

Goals aside, how would you assess Benteke’s start to the season?

I think he’s going to find it a little bit tougher this season. Yeah, he’s scored the goals, but in the games he hasn’t really done much.

We’ve got this thing now where we hit every goal kick towards him for him to hopefully head it down to somebody, which is a bit of a boring tactic.

A lot of teams are just going to stick a man on him now and not give him any space. They realise he’s the player who can cause the most destruction, I guess.

Why hasn’t Yacouba Sylla been starting? He seemed to end last season strongly.

I thought so too. For me he’s the best at breaking down attacks and stopping it getting to our defence, which can be pretty shaky.

I liked the look of Ashley Westwood last year, but when we’ve got Westwood, El Ahmadi and Delph on, I don’t think those three as a midfield look quite strong enough.

Overall are you convinced that Paul Lambert is the right manager for the club?

I like what he’s doing, definitely – bringing in a young team, building it and having people that want to play football.

But then he hasn’t bought the experienced players – he’s got issues about them coming in and it being all about wages etc – and look at Barry coming in at Everton and bossing the midfield, knowing what he’s doing.

If you give a place instead to a kid who’s never been in the Premier League before, it quite simply isn’t going to work sometimes.

However, I do like his philosophy and that this Villa team is feeling refreshed.

The next few games will define how our season goes – everyone was on a high for the first three games, we were playing well and battling.

But now we’re going to be playing teams like Norwich who we should be giving a good game. Will we struggle like last season or are we actually going to push on a bit?

You must be very proud of Agbonlahor for snapping that One Direction kid in half at the Stiliyan Petrov charity match!

(Laughs) I did think it was quite amusing, but that game for Petrov is how football should be – the atmosphere, the excitement, good football and entertainment. That’s what people go for.

Have you developed soft spots for Nottingham Forest and Ipswich Town through Chris and Ed over the years? Who do the others support?

Tom’s an Arsenal fan. It’s quite amazing, he really doesn’t like me taking the piss out of any of the players.

I think it’s quite funny, because that’s what people do usually. Tthey’re a good team, so why not have a pop?

I still haven’t been to Portman Road to see Town but I’ve taken Ed to a few Villa games.

I always keep an eye out for Town. Super Mick McCarthy – he’s going to get them up to the Premier League!

Do you manage to get to Villa Park often?

Last year I did, yeah – I managed to get to the majority of home games because we were rehearsing and recording the record.

One thing that we do need to change this season is our home form, because we were absolutely diabolical last year.

I think I saw three 0-0’s in a row, and although you could take positives from not conceding, it’s a very long season when it’s like that!

Would you be able to name the first, best and worst games you’ve ever been to?

The first game was in 1991, Villa played Tottenham Hotspur and won 3-2 – but we missed all Villa’s goals because either I was going to the toilet with my dad or my brother was!

For atmosphere, the best game was when my brother and I went to see Villa v Man U three seasons ago where we lost 3-2.

We also lost 3-2 the following season – we can’t seem to beat Man U at home, even if we go two goals up!

I haven’t heard the Park that rocking since. The atmosphere was electric, but Macheda came on in the second half and he seemed to be a bit of a super sub at that time.

Worst game was the first home game of last season when we lost 3-1 to Everton. I can always tell a bad game when my brother and I decide to go to the bar after twenty minutes and watch it downstairs.

We went outside to one of the local pubs, and when we came out afterwards there were some Everton fans in a really beaten-up limousine, singing songs out of the sun roof.

They were singing “this place is shit hole, I wanna go home” and threw a can of Carling at us (laughs). It missed us!

Finally, if you had to select a five-a-side team out of all the Villa players you’ve seen in your time as a fan, who would you pick?

Brad Friedel, Gareth Southgate, Paul McGrath, David Platt and Dwight Yorke. Subs would be Gareth Barry and my boyhood hero Tony Daley.

Russell Leetch, thank you.

Editors’ fourth album The Weight of Your Love is out now on Play It Again Sam.

Editors - The Weight of Your Love