If their dreamy new single “Off Our Heads” is anything to go by, Manchester indie-rock types Daystar could soon complete the transition from buzzed-about up-and-comers to fully-fledged…well, stars. As such, Football Burp caught up with front man Simon Monaghan for a ruddy good natter about Manchester United, at a time when Sir Alex Ferguson looks like he may have just assembled his latest great Red Devils side…
You must be delighted with the start to the season that United have made. Could you have envisaged the likes of Welbeck and Cleverley playing such a big part already?
It’s brilliant. I did think that Cleverley would play a part but I wasn’t sure about Welbeck because we’ve got so many strikers there at the moment – you’ve got Hernandez, you’ve got and Diouf there still, and obviously Owen signed another year-long contract, so I thought Welbeck would be fourth or fifth in the pecking order to be honest, so I was really surprised by it. But he’s come in and done well, hasn’t he?
And Anderson as well – is he looking like making a Nani-esque step up to you?
The jury’s still out for me because you’ve got Anderson and Cleverley in the centre and neither of them are really defensive midfielders as such. I think once Fletcher comes back we’ll see him playing alongside Cleverley as the main two, to be honest. I’m glad we didn’t sign Sneijder or anything because I’m happy with what we’re doing but I think we probably could have done with signing a really good defensive midfielder, which isn’t Fletcher either as he’s a bit of an all-rounder.
Would you have preferred to see United in for someone like Scott Parker?
Scott Parker would have been a good signing but it would have gone against the policy of signing young players because he’s 30 now, so we probably would only have got two or three years out of him. I personally would have gone for him because he was fantastic last year and I think Tottenham have got a really good deal for £5m. Or I would have signed someone like Lassana Diarra.
United have an embarrassment of riches on the wings in Young, Valencia and Nani. Can you accommodate all three into the same side? If not, which two would be your first-choice picks?
You’ve got Park as well on top of that and we’ll need all of them because of the amount of games we’ll be playing through the season. It will be a case of rotating them. When Valencia comes back, you can pretty much have him, Nani or Young playing on either wing – well, Valencia’s more right-sided but Nani and Young can play both wings. Every single one of them will get a lot of playing time but if I had to plump for two, then definitely Young but I’d find it hard to choose between Nani and Valencia. Nani’s really good but he can be a little bit greedy sometimes – like against Arsenal, he came through one time and it would have been easier to slot the ball back as someone was there waiting but he didn’t. Sometimes it feels like Nani tries too hard to be the hero, whereas Valencia is more of a team player. I love Nani but sometimes he’s not really a team player.
Where did you watch the Arsenal game?
I watched it at home with my housemate and a few other people because we’ve just moved into a new apartment and we’ve got a 3D telly, so it was the first game we’ve watched in 3D.
It may seem unreasonable to focus on the negatives after an 8-2 win but United did a look a bit open at times. Do you have any concerns about the defence?
I think the way we set out to play was quite open anyway – we were all about scoring goals. I think Jonny Evans looked a bit suspect – I’m still not convinced about him at all – but I thought Smalling and Jones played well. Smalling got forward quite well as well, which surprised me. But they’re not the main guys so you’ve got to put it into perspective – Vidic and Ferdinand are our main two centre-backs and we’ve also got Rafael who I think will probably play ahead of Smalling, and they’re all out so I wasn’t too worried about it. They’re just young lads who are still learning the game. De Gea probably could have been better – I don’t think there was anything he could have done about van Persie’s goal but I thought he was badly at fault for the other one, which should have been quite a standard save for a goalkeeper to make.
Are you happy to stick it out with De Gea in the meantime or would you like to see someone else come in?
I’m happy to stick with him. At the end of the day, you’ve got to show faith in your players, haven’t you? Like they’ve said in the press, Schmeichel looked dodgy at first and look how good he turned out. I think Ferguson’s done the right thing – De Gea’s got the raw talent, his shot-stopping and distribution are brilliant, but I think we need to show him some faith and get our goalkeeping coaches to work with him on his weaker points. He’s gonna have a few dodgy days but it’s a tough game to adjust to, the English game. I think his biggest test will come at Bolton – they’re a big, rough team who’ll throw men at him all the time, so if he comes through that unscathed then he’ll be alright.
Do you welcome the challenge presented by Manchester City now or does it make you sick to your stomach to see them up there alongside United?
I’ve got mixed feelings towards it, to be honest. It’s fantastic for Manchester to have two teams up there but I don’t like the manner in which it’s happening – they’ve thrown over £500m at their squad. There’s no doubt that they have a stronger squad than United on paper but we don’t need to spend £500m on our squad because we’ve got that sort of togetherness and winning mentality that maybe City don’t have yet. I welcome the challenge and there’s good banter about it at work now because there’s a City fan on my team, and he’s always passionately arguing City’s case so we have some heated debates!
What is it you do outside of the band?
I’m a sales manager for an internet marketing company, so it’s SEO and that sort of stuff.
Have you managed to get to Old Trafford much over the years?
I probably get to about six or seven games a season, I reckon.
Would you be able to name the first, best and worst games you ever went to?
I can’t remember the first game that I went to, to be honest. The best game I went to was when we played Fulham and Ruud van Nistelrooy took the ball from the halfway line and scored. I think the worst game was against some sh*t Romanian or Bosnian team in Europe.
Finally, who would you name as your top five favourite Red Devils from your time as a fan?
I’d say: Cantona number one, Ronaldo number two, Giggs number three, Scholes number four and Rooney number five.
Simon, thank you.
“Off Our Heads”, the new single from Daystar, will be released on September 26th. Click here to buy the band’s eponymous debut album. For more information, please visit www.daystarband.com