Epically inclined, Ian Brown-endorsed psych-rockers The Chakras release new single “Build Me A Swan” on 19th March, so Football Burp caught up with the band’s guitarist Gordo Whittaker for a ruddy good natter about his beloved Tottenham Hotspur…
Coming from Ireland, how did you come to be a Spurs fan?
I saw them on TV when I was about eight years old and I decided I loved them. It’s mostly been a bit of a curse for the last twenty years, but over the last few years it’s started to come good so I’m finally starting to reap the rewards!
What did you make of the signings of Louis Saha and Ryan Nelsen?
It’s a bit of a weird one. People are going absolutely mental about it on the forums and websites – “these are the signings of someone in a relegation battle rather than title contenders”, that sort of thing – but I’m not a big fan of Pavlyuchenko, so I’d take Louis Saha over him any day! I was happy enough with that, but I probably would have held on to Bassong instead of bringing Ryan Nelsen in, to be honest. However, we’re finally at a stage now where we’ve got a really strong squad – if we’d signed them four years ago, I’d have thought “Christ!”, but thankfully I don’t think they’ll be as pivotal or important now.
Are you concerned about Harry Redknapp’s trial affecting on-pitch matters?
Not really, no. Maybe a little bit for Monday, because there’s a lot of talk that he might miss the game at Anfield, but overall – and I know this isn’t a nice thing to say – I’d kind of like to see him get a good slap on the wrist just so he can’t take the England job and walk out on us! That’s just because I love him. (Laughs)
That’s pretty sound logic.
If he does get a slap on the wrist, will the FA be able to appoint someone who’s just come out of a tax evasion kind of thing? I’d say it would be kind of tough for them, so we might hang on to him!
It’s quite funny how he seems very keen to impress upon the court that he’s a bit of a buffoon who couldn’t possibly be capable of committing fraud, despite being clearly no mug.
I know what you mean, but we don’t get to see that side of people’s lives so it’s hard to know if he’s playing up to it or not. He might be a bit of a footballing genius but when it comes to the other side of things…you know, he could easily say that when you’ve been doing something for fifteen years that takes up pretty much every minute of your waking life, including four-hour round drives every day, maybe he’s telling the truth about himself!
Good point. Let’s say however that he is given the England job in the near future – who would you like to see replace him? Do you think anyone could?
I don’t know. He has a way with people that seems to bring out the best in them. You know, it’s not a massively different squad to what we had a couple of years ago, but the transformation has been absolutely huge. I know Jose Mourinho has talked about wanting to come back to England one day, but whether we’d be able to get someone of his calibre, I don’t know. Guus Hiddink would be option two for me. As long as it’s not Rafael Benitez – I saw his name mentioned about four or five months ago, and if he takes over then I’m quitting! I cannot stand that man. It’s a tricky one, because for where we are right now, there’s not a huge amount of people you’d be happy to see take over. It would be tough to follow what Harry’s done in the last couple of years.
There have been many fine Spurs performances so far this season, but are there two or three in particular that have stood out for you?
It might sound weird because we lost it, but the Manchester City game. I was on my knees when Defoe missed the goal at the end, and pretty much close to tears when Balotelli got the penalty, but I really, really admired the way they fought back from 2-0 down. We may not have got the result that we wanted, but the way they came back and so nearly won the game, I have so much respect for that. It took true resilience to do that against – as much as I hate to say it – an outstanding football team, so for the belief and the drive, the City game is definitely up there. Obviously beating Arsenal is always a nice little string to the bow, and Liverpool as well, but the City game is probably my favourite.
If you had to pick a five-a-side team out of all the Tottenham players that you’ve seen in your time as a fan, who would you select?
Jesus! Good question. A lot of them would have to be from today’s team, to be honest. You’d have to have Ledley King, you’d have to have Modric, you’d have to have Bale, I suppose you’d have to have Klinsmann in there, and probably my favourite, even though it might make the formation a bit too attacking, Teddy Sheringham. Growing up, I used to worship the ground that he walked on.
I see you’re taking the bold step of going without a goalkeeper (as did Ian Broudie from The Lightning Seeds recently on these very pages).
Yeah. Sorry, that might not be the cleverest of ideas!
Au contraire – as Ian Broudie said of his Liverpool five-a-side selection, it’s such a good team that it doesn’t even need a goalkeeper!
(Laughs) Exactly. They wouldn’t even have to defend! Actually, I’m so confident in Brad Friedel at the moment – he’s playing incredibly. It might seem a little bit biased that they’re all from today’s team, but I suppose it is the best team we’ve had in fifty or sixty years, so…
Finally, if the music of The Chakras was a player, manager or team, who would it be and why?
You’ve caught me off guard there! (Pauses for thought) Well, a lot of good music is based on solid foundations – drums, bass, guitar – so I’d go with Ledley King again. Actually no, that makes us sound a bit injury prone…
You could only play one gig in every three.
Yeah, that’s a terrible one to pick! I’ll go with Teddy Sheringham – absolutely reliable.
And of course the quality of longevity.
Gordo, thank you.
The Chakras release the title track from their debut album Build Me A Swan as a single on 19th March 2012. For more information, please visit www.thechakrasblog.com
The band also continue their touring schedule with gigs at:
This Feeling, London – February 24th
Heroes, Camden London – March 17th
Half Moon, Putney, London – April 26th
…with regional dates to be announced soon.