Former Supergrass front man Gaz Coombes has released one of Football Burp’s favourite albums of the year with his solo debut Gaz Coombes Presents… Here Come the Bombs, and this month sees the release of its latest single – the utterly wonderful “White Noise” – as well as a UK tour, so we caught up with the great man for a natter about his beloved Manchester United…
How did you come to support the Red Devils?
Basically my family’s from Birmingham and we’ve got some family up north in Manchester, and we moved to Oxford when I was a kid so I had the choice of supporting Birmingham City, Oxford United or Manchester United. I was about 6 or 7 and my older brother had lots of Manchester United posters up on his wall, so I went along with him.
Did you see the Cluj game the other night?
Yes, I did.
Any thoughts on it?
It was okay. There were some good moments – I thought Rooney played really well, although I’d have liked to see Büttner instead of Evra as I think Evra’s having a bit of a dodgy patch at the moment. Van Persie getting a few more goals was a good thing to take out of it, but it wasn’t convincing, giving away an early goal again.
As well as Patrice Evra, there have been a lot of calls for Sir Alex Ferguson to start phasing Ryan Giggs out of the side. Would you go along with this?
It’s tricky – maybe he’s not being used properly. He has been quite effective in the past coming off the bench on 60 minutes or whatever, adding a bit of skill and touch to the midfield, so maybe he shouldn’t be starting games. So I’m not convinced about phasing out Giggsy, but Evra’s just not doing it at the moment, and I thought Büttner looked good on his debut.
Do you like the look of Nick Powell?
Yeah. You never know how a player might fare after jumping up a couple of divisions, but he’s undoubtedly got quality – even from that one performance it’s evident that he’s got something, so let’s hope Fergie can do with him what he’s done with so many great young players over the years and transform them into a world class player.
Did you agree with the decision to sell Dimitar Berbatov for £5m?
Yeah, you know, he just wasn’t working out. He just didn’t have that United sort of feel about him. Eric Cantona was quite casual in his body language but he’d be legging it around like a madman as well, working for the team, so he goes to show that if you’re going to have that lazy sort of body language then you’ve still got to run around and work hard. Berbatov didn’t do it, so he doesn’t suit United.
You must like the look of Shinji Kagawa so far…
Yeah, he looks great. He’s a really tidy player, really good.
Do you think Roy Hodgson should draft Rio Ferdinand back into the England fold now that John Terry has fallen on his sword?
I don’t know. I thought he had a really good game a couple of games ago, but he’s been patchy so I’m not sure. There are some great defenders coming up who could probably do a really good job. I’ve got massive hopes for Jones and Smalling. From the footage I’ve seen of Duncan Edwards, Phil Jones reminds me of him, a powerful all-rounder.
Who would you like to see as Ferguson’s eventual successor?
I don’t know. A few years ago I would have said Mark Hughes, but he’s had a bit of a rough time of it lately. I actually thought he did quite well at City. Top of my list now would probably be Jose Mourinho – he’d be able to deal with the big names, and I think he does have massive respect for Fergie. As much as he can be very arrogant and a bit of a trickster in interviews and stuff, he’s probably got a lot of respect for what United are, and I think he’d be great.
Have you managed to get to Old Trafford much over the years?
Not this season, but a couple of seasons ago I got to go quite a bit, and a few away games as well. The European away games are great – I meet up with a guy I know at Manchester United who can get tickets and stuff, so we meet up with all the away fans and it’s always such a great vibe. I love being in the middle of it all, so I try to go as much as I can.
Would you be able to name the first game you ever went to, the best game, and the worst?
I think the first game I ever went to was a City-United derby at Old Trafford, but I was only around 6 or 7 so I can’t remember too much about it. Best game was probably at the Nou Camp in ’99 – that was a bit of a one-off – and the worst game…I dunno. There’s been a couple of dull 1-1 draws at Old Trafford. There was one against Middlesbrough about four seasons ago that was such a dull game – I remember going in at half-time thinking, “This is so s**t.” But there’s a few of those every year, and I haven’t been to any drubbings or anything like that.
Finally, if you had to select a five-a-side team out of all the United players you’ve seen in your time as a supporter, who would you pick?
Schmeichel, Vidic, Ronaldo, Bryan Robson and Cantona.
Gaz Coombes, thank you.
17th NEWCASTLE, Academy 2
18th GLASGOW, King Tuts
19th MANCHESTER, Club Academy
20th LEEDS, Brudenell Social Club
21st BIRMINGHAM, Academy 2
24th LONDON, XOYO
25th NOTTINGHAM, Rescue Rooms
26th BRIGHTON, The Haunt
27th OXFORD, Academy 2
28th BRISTOL, Fleece
For more information, please visit www.gazcoombes.com