Talking Aston Villa with… Tom Tyler

Tom Tyler discusses his beloved Aston Villa.
Tom Tyler: prepared to give McLeish a chance

“Shooting Star” by emergent singer/songwriter Tom Tyler has been getting plays at Premier League football grounds of late, so Football Burp caught up with the man himself to discuss his beloved Aston Villa…

Was “Shooting Star” played at Villa Park last weekend?

I think so, yeah. It’s fantastic – if you’re not going to be a footballer then the next best thing for a musician is to have your music played at your favourite club’s ground. I live in London but I think it’s gone on rotation so hopefully I’ll get to go up to Villa Park soon and hear it.

Onto less pleasant matters, did you see any of your League Cup defeat to Bolton the other night?

I caught the highlights. Bit disappointing, really.

On June 17th, you Tweeted: “So we get Mcleish, after he managed blues into the championship. I thought Randy Lerner was brighter than that.” It’s fair to say you didn’t want him appointed!

When you look at his track record in the Premier League, you think, “Well, what have you actually done?” I don’t think Birmingham had a bad side last year and he didn’t manage to keep them from being relegated. I thought we could have been a little bit more ambitious. I don’t know whether or not that was just the chairman having a look and thinking, “Okay, we can get him for a reasonable price,” or whether or not he sold himself to the club. I’m sure he’s got a very talented agent! He’s got a good pedigree in Scottish football but, not to be too disparaging towards it, their league is only ever going to be won by one of two clubs.

Surely you must have assumed Mark Hughes was on the way after he quit Fulham…

I probably would have taken him over McLeish. Having said that though, I’m happy to give McLeish the benefit of the doubt, see how he gets on. It’s not been a bad start to the season, I guess.

What are your expectations for this season?

Going out of the Carling Cup already is pretty disappointing because, in reality, we’re never really going to be competing for the title so, even though all clubs like to think they’re bigger than they really are, the Carling Cup is important for clubs like us. I think getting a Europa League place is probably a reasonable ambition. We haven’t got the squad to get a top four place.

Were you surprised that Jean Makoun was let go?

A little bit, yeah, because we’re probably short a couple of players in that area. I saw today that McLeish has said he’ll only make one more signing before the end of the season, or something like that, which is a little bit surprising. I’d imagine though that if he was given the money then he’d buy, so maybe it’s the chairman or whoever controls the purse strings saying he can’t have any more before the end of the season.

Charles N’Zogbia, Stephen Ireland and Jermaine Jenas are all talented players but, if they don’t start firing, you could be in trouble…

Yep, I’d agree with that, but that’s a situation that a lot of clubs in our position are in. We’ve got these what you might call ‘second line’ players, who wouldn’t necessarily get a game for one of the top sides, and we need them fit and on-form for most of the season otherwise we’ll struggle.

Do you think Darren Bent’s current drought is due to the way McLeish is setting up the side?

It could be. I suspect McLeish is still finding his feet a little bit with the players and maybe he hasn’t quite figured out the best combination up front yet. There’s Gabby Agbonlahor too, and Emile Heskey can be very effective when he comes on, like the Wolves game last year where he came on and scored within ten minutes. He just intimidates defences but he’s getting on a bit so maybe he can’t play a full game now.

Have you managed to get to Villa Park much over the years?

Not so much now but I used to go quite a lot when I lived back home. I was an avid Holte End boy back in the glory days of Nigel Spink, Tony Cascarino and Tony Daley! I manage to catch the odd London game now – Fulham’s an easy one to get to and I’m going to QPR this weekend. My brother-in-law is a season ticket-holder at Chelsea so I get to go to that game, although I have to sit there quietly and not say very much!

Could you name the first, best and worst games you ever went to?

I think the first game was in 1992 against Manchester United but I can’t remember what the score was. The best game was probably the 1994 Coca Cola Cup final, also against United, when we won 3-1 – Dalian Atkinson scored. He was Mister Hot and Cold! Awesome when he was on form, dreadful when he wasn’t. I always loved going to Villa Park so I don’t know about the worst game. There were some boring games, I guess, but if you need just one game then I could probably pick one out of the hat from the mid-nineties or something!

If you had to pick a five-a-side team out of all the Villa players you’ve seen, who would you go for?

Even though I think Shay Given is awesome, I’d have to pick Nigel Spink in goal out of loyalty. Then I’d probably go for Tony Daley, Gareth Barry, Paul Merson and Dwight Yorke.

Finally, a quick score prediction for the weekend, please…

I think we’re going to register a 2-1 victory. We like to let in goals to make it a fair game!

Tom, thank you.

Tom Tyler - Silence
Silence, the new album by Tom Tyler, is out at the end of November

For more information, please visit www.tomtylermusic.co.uk