Talking Arsenal With Tim Wheeler

Ash's lead singer on Arsenal, following football from New York and why Pepe Reina is a w**ker...

Last Updated: 21/11/10 at 18:39 Post Comment

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How did you come to be an Arsenal fan, growing up in Ireland?
It all started when I moved to London. I used to live just round the corner from Highbury, so I started going to games. This would've been around 2004 - it was the season after the 'Invincibles' season. I live in New York now, so following Arsenal is one way to keep in touch with stuff going on back home. It's surprisingly easy to follow the Premier League over here. Unfortunately that means I don't get to many games - our touring schedules never really match up.


How's the game catching on over there?
Well obviously it's never going to be as big as the traditional sports. New York is such a melting pot that it's difficult to judge how it's going down in the rest of the country. The World Cup was massive though - all the bars in New York were packed for the USA games, but it's still down the pecking order over here.


What do you make of your chances this season?
Yeah, it's looking really interesting. We've got some great depth in the squad now - plenty of competition for places, it's great. That might be the big difference - Chelsea don't have much in reserve, so it could be it for us. It's so open this season, you never know.


You've not won anything for a few years now...
Yeah, even winning the Carling Cup would be great this season. I know we haven't taken it very seriously in the last few years, but we just need to win a trophy. Having said that, I think we've got a pretty good chance of winning the league - the team is maturing.


Do you reckon Fabregas will stay?


And you've got the Barca players in his ear all the time...
Yeah, obviously that w**ker Reina, after he put the Barca shirt over him after the World Cup. To be fair to Cesc, he looked pretty embarrassed about the whole thing.


What about your favourite players?
Well, obviously there's Henry. Most Irish people hate him, but he was such a hero for Arsenal. I've been meaning to go an see him with the New York Red Bulls, but I haven't had a chance yet. Van Persie is right up there too. If he could stay fit he'd be amazing. I love Arshavin to, because he's such a character. He's mental. I like Eboue too - there's just a hilarious side to him, he's a bit of a joker. He's done really well too - his attitude really won the fans over after he was booed a couple of years ago.


Last year you released a download single every two weeks for a year - what was the thinking behind that?
We wanted to do something a bit different - to see what the potential of the internet could bring us. It was sort of inspired by following football actually - with football you have a game to look forward to every fortnight, so this was giving our fans something to look forward to and follow. It also let us experiment a bit more - we didn't have to put together a full album, there didn't have to be a definite thread running through the songs. We could surprise people.


You've got Russell from Bloc Party playing with you at the moment - didn't he get bitten by a lion earlier this year?
Yeah he did. Although it was quite small - it was technically a lion, but it was only a cub. It was at a safari park in South Africa, where they let you pet the cubs, but one went for him. It left him bleeding, but it was exactly like he got a mauling. I just laughed at him.


Having marked the halfway point in their A - Z singles series with the 13 track compilation A-Z Vol 1, Ash wrap up the series with A-Z Vol 2 featuring the final13 singles - letters N -Z. Available from the band's official website.

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till reckon Chelsea will go for Khedira as back up for Matic. I think it will turn out to be quite a Mourihno-y window: We'll see the squad players and youth in action pre-season, say things like well, we need not buy anybody and then the club will bid £60m for Pogba and send everybody on loan.

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would love to be a fly on the wall at the meeting between Milner and Rodgers. I don't know if flies can count, but if they can then I would be counting the number of times Rodgers used the word outstanding in his attempts to get Milner to sign.

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ell, it wouldn't be a summer without Arsenal fans fretting over losing a key player, and United throwing their weight around and muscling in on transfer deals which are (apparently) near to completion. If we can't be entertained by the football on the pitch, let's enjoy the silly off-pitch soap opera of the transfer season. Hurrah!

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