One of Football Burp’s very favourite bands The Bees are in the formative stages of getting their fifth album together, so we exorcised our clamouring for more of their timeless psychedelic pop magic – which incidentally they shall weave on August 17th at the Green Man Festival in Glanusk Park, South Wales (check out this phenomenal line-up) – by having a natter with multi-instrumentalist and all-round top bloke Tim Parkin about his beloved Chelsea. First, though, get a load of this beauty from their staggeringly great 2010 LP Every Step’s a Yes…
May I start by saying that you all sound like footballers – Tim Parkin, Paul Butler, Aaron Fletcher…
Really? (Laughs) Don’t know if I’ve got the level of fitness for it. I’ve got the skills but not the fitness!
Come to think of it, have Brentford – a.k.a. The Bees – ever got in touch about doing something together? It would be a veritable hive of activity. (Sorry.)
No, they haven’t actually. I used to live just up the road from Brentford in South Ealing when I was at music college. That’s when I started getting into football, actually, first year of college – I moved into this house with three complete strangers, a Tottenham Hotspur supporter, a West Ham United supporter and a Liverpool supporter.
I felt left out so I thought, “Right, I’d better get into football,” asked who the nearest team were and got told Brentford. (Laughs) So I said, “What’s the nearest team that would compete with you lot, so we can have a bit of banter?” They said, “Well, Chelsea’s not that far away.” That’s how I got into football.
Did you see Daniel Sturridge’s goal against the UAE?
Yeah, it was amazing, wasn’t it? He’s a bit hot and cold, Sturridge: at the beginning of last season he was awesome, a little bit greedy at times but I think every team needs that one greedy player. We were lacking that sort of killer instinct in front of goal before. He’d come down the right-hand side and instead of crossing it a lot of the time he’d just leather it at goal, and he got a reputation for being a little bit greedy. I like that, although you wouldn’t want a whole team of players like that. He’s a great player though, and he’s just recovered from meningitis.
How do you envision the new-look Chelsea attack? Would you build it around Fernando Torres?
I’m in two minds about Torres: he’s cost a lot of money, not just on signing him but also on wages, so this is his last chance, really. He’s got to do the business this season, otherwise we’ll have to think about moving him on at a loss because he wasn’t worth £50m when we bought him. That’s Roman Abramovich though, isn’t it? “I want this player – I don’t care how much he costs, buy him!” It’s great to have someone like that pumping money into the club, but at the same time was that really necessary? We could have bought two good players for that money.
We’ll have to try and build around Torres after spending that much on him, and at the moment he’s our only real striker apart from Romelu Lukaku, because Sturridge has been playing on the right rather than as a striker like he’d always been as a kid. That might be part of his frustration.
Until the other day I didn’t really know a lot about Marko Marin, Eden Hazard and Oscar… Oscar scored for Brazil against Belarus in the Olympics the other day, didn’t he? It was an amazing goal – Neymar took it from the halfway line, turned his back to goal and then back-heeled it to Oscar who scored. He was just taking the piss out of the defenders: “I’m going to make this more difficult than it needs to be.”
I’m excited about Oscar – he looks like an incredible signing, didn’t expect it at all, and he’s only 20. He looks awesome. I’ve been on YouTube over the last week or so looking at clips of the new signings and they all look like special players, and they’re all fairly young too. It’s nice to see Chelsea looking to the future, rather than spending £50m on a player who’s past his best. How old is Torres? 26, 27?
Wikipedia says 28.
There you go, he’s coming to the end of his career! (Laughs)
Where did you watch the Champions League final, then?
I watched it round my mate Si’s on the island [Isle of White] – a few of us got together to watch it – and I had a gig straight afterwards with a band I play with locally. I ended up missing the whole of the first set because of course it went to extra time and penalties – I was ringing them going, “Erm, you might have to do the first set without me, the football hasn’t finished yet!” I didn’t really get to go out and celebrate…well I went out and played the gig so that was sort of celebrating.
How do you see Andre Villas-Boas faring at Spurs?
I give him three months! I don’t really think he’s as good as they say he is. When he was at Chelsea I think he disrespected the Premier League by playing his defence on the half-way line – there are quality strikers in every team in the Premier League, so you can’t defend like that. Even the best defenders in the world aren’t going to be able to keep up with a striker when you’ve given them half the pitch to run into. Even I know that! I wish him the best at Spurs but I can’t see it happening for him, to be honest.
I just don’t think he understands the Premiership. I’m sure he’s a great tactician in Portugal but I didn’t like him at Chelsea, walking straight in and getting rid of Nicolas Anelka. Apparently he sat the whole team down in training one week into the job and went through the whole team: “Didier Drogba, you’re a fraction of the player you were last year, sort it out.” Literally went through each player, then got to Anelka and Alex and said, “I don’t even want you at the club any more. Go.” I read that in the paper and thought, “Hang on a minute – Anelka?” I really rated him. He hadn’t had a great season but he was still one of our better players. Villas-Boas just got rid of him: “Off you go, you’re banned from the club.”
He was just trying to stamp his authority on the situation – and I was the first person to say that Chelsea needed an overhaul, new players in, old players out – but at the same time while doing that you’ve got to make these changes slowly over a season or two, not just walk straight through the door and start chucking people out. When we started losing loads of games it was like, what did you expect?
Are you satisfied that Roberto Di Matteo is the right man for the job?
Well, I’m sure there are better managers out there but I like the idea of the job going to an ex-player: he gets the respect of the fans, he gets the respect of the players, especially the English players like John Terry and Frank Lampard who’ve seen what he’s done in this country. However I’m holding out for Pep Guardiola – I’ve got a funny feeling he’ll be coming through the door in a couple of years, or someone like him.
Finally, if you had to select a five-a-side team out of all the Chelsea players you’ve seen in your time as a fan, who would you pick?
I’d definitely pick Gianfranco Zola and Lampard. Drogba I’d probably go for as well. I’d probably have John Terry in defence. And Petr Cech in goal, definitely. Three current players in there.
Tim Parkin, thank you.