Remember, remember the 5th of November! That’s when The Tricks will be releasing their debut EP 49 Mercury, to be preceded by a digital release of the title track on October 7th, so Football Burp caught up with the band’s front man/bassist Joel Hodge for a quick natter about his beloved Manchester United…
So, I gather you support the Red Devils…
Yeah, we had a good day on Sunday!
It still wasn’t the most convincing of performances, though. Are you confident of United’s title chances?
I think United will improve as the season goes on, really – I think the basis of our squad, when Phil Jones and Chris Smalling come back, is much stronger than it was last season. The fact that we can leave Javi Hernandez and Danny Welbeck on the bench and still have Robin van Persie on the pitch, and of course Wayne Rooney when he returns from injury, suggests we have strength in depth. Ashley Young’s another still to come back, so I think we’ll improve over the course of the season.
With three missed penalties in the last three, you must have been nervous when van Persie stepped up to take his against Liverpool – especially after the four-minute delay!
To be honest, when Nani took his penalty in the Champions League last week, I thought that was a bit ridiculous – when you’ve got van Persie on the pitch, he’s surely got to take the penalties over anybody else. I’m glad he took this one and scored, so that next time there won’t be any doubt that he’s going to be the penalty taker.
What do you think of Shinji Kagawa, Nick Powell and Alexander Büttner so far?
I think Kagawa’s looking great – he’s come into the team and looked completely comfortable, which I was quite surprised about. I was afraid that because he’s quite small he wouldn’t fit into the Premier League as you’d have hoped, but he’s been brilliant and he’ll only get better. I’m excited about Kagawa, and it was great to see Powell and Büttner scoring great goals against Wigan Athletic the other week.
Are you worried about replacing Paul Scholes long term? Or do you think Powell could be his successor?
I’m not sure – I’ve only seen Powell play once so far, in the Champions League. It’s interesting, even though our squad’s getting better, I think any team in the Premier League would still be playing Scholes as he is now – he can dictate the game – so I do worry about replacing him, but then Sir Alex Ferguson has been able to replace pretty much every player that we’ve lost and worried about replacing in the past. Cristiano Ronaldo’s the exception, but then he’s irreplaceable. I’d love it if Powell ends up being Scholes’s replacement, but then he might end up going the way of someone like Darron Gibson, who you hoped would eventually step up into that Scholes role but didn’t, then moved on.
Gibson’s done very well at Everton so far.
He’s a fantastic player, I just think he didn’t quite fit into United. I think we’ve had a lot of central midfielders like that – Anderson, for example. When we bought Anderson he was supposed to be a great up-and-coming central midfielder, but he hasn’t stepped up to that level yet. I’m looking forward to seeing Powell a bit more, though, especially if he’s being earmarked to replace Scholes.
Were you disappointed at only getting £5m or thereabouts for Dimitar Berbatov?
Yeah. The whole Berbatov thing’s an interesting one – I think he’s going to end up scoring loads for Fulham, but then he never really seemed to fit into the way that United play. I don’t think he’ll be a huge loss for United, but I do think he’ll be a massive benefit to Fulham.
Finally, if you had to select a five-a-side team comprised of United players you’ve seen in your time as a fan, who would you pick?
Great question! In goal you have to go for Peter Schmeichel – I don’t think there’s any doubt about that, I think he’s one of the greatest goalkeepers that’s ever existed, let alone for Man United. In defense I suppose I’d play Rio Ferdinand – I think he’s been a good servant to United, and in his prime he was world class. In midfield I’d have to go for Ryan Giggs and Scholes because they’re the two greatest United players of my generation.
Up front’s a hard one because there are so many – you’d be expecting it to be between Eric Cantona and Wayne Rooney, and I think I’d probably go for Cantona, just because he’s more of a legendary player, although I think Rooney will get to that stage where he’s looked back on like that.
Joel Hodge, thank you.
Thurs 11th, London – Bop! Club night @ Hysteria, Dalston
Thurs 8th, London – Bop! Club night @ Hysteria, Dalston
Wed 14th, Hull – Fruit
Thurs 15th, Manchester – Night & Day
Fri 16th, Leicester – Lock 42
Wed 21st, London – Sebright Arms
Thurs 22nd, Doncaster – The Leopard
Fri 23rd, Leeds – Cockpit 3
Sat 24th, Southampton – Unit
Thurs 13th, London – Bop! Club night @ Hysteria, Dalston