Talking Music, Football & Life With Ugo Ehiogu

Ugo Ehiogu, footballer turned record label big cheese, tells us why he's going about things back to front, and why John Gregory was 'silent but deadly'...

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Ugo Ehiogu, footballer turned record label big cheese, tells us why he's going about things back to front, and why John Gregory was 'silent but deadly'...


You're involved with 'Dirty Hit' records - why did you choose that over going into coaching?
I didn't really. I'm still doing my coaching badges at the same time, so it's just something else I'm doing with my time. I might still get into coaching one day, I'm just doing it in a sort of back-to-front way. I'm lucky enough to be able to do something else that is one of my passions as well as football.


Do you miss playing?
I miss the matches - the buzz on the morning of a game, but I don't miss training. You have to be so dedicated when you're a player that it's difficult to live a normal life. Now, I'm able to pretty much do what I like - I can go away at the drop of a hat.


You and John Gregory crossed paths at Aston Villa - to the outside observer, he always seemed a little...well...mental. Is that true?
I'm not sure about mental, but he was definitely...unusual. He never used to really rant and shout at us, but if you'd done something wrong you knew about it. He was one for fines and stuff like that, but he wasn't really a ranter and a raver - he was more the 'silent but deadly' type.


You were also coached by Steve McLaren for a while...
Yeah, it was only for about a year and a half but he was an excellent coach. The thing about McLaren was that he changed very much when there was more pressure on him, but he deserved the success he had in Holland.


Did you think he would be out of his depth with England?
No, I didn't think it would go that wrong. He was working with better players after all. I think where he went wrong was he didn't change much from the previous regime, from Eriksson. There was certainly a feeling that there was a bit of an 'old boys' network - some of them were guaranteed a place.


Was that frustrating for someone on the fringes of the England squad?
Not quite so much for me because I was a little bit out of the picture by then, but for people like Jamie Carragher it would've been frustrating. The first team pretty much picked itself.


How did you get involved with Dirty Hit?
My advisor looked after a few musicians, and when I retired we were looking at a few options, and this opportunity presented itself. Initially at least I'm an investor, but I do want to get more involved - I'm interested in the mechanics of the music business, as well as music being a passion of mine.


What sort of music do you listen to?
I have quite varied tastes - I love R'n'b, but I've got into going to festivals in the past few years - I was at the Leeds festival and saw the Artic Monkeys, which was great.


The Little Comets album is out now - do you have high hopes for them?
Yeah, I've been to a couple of their shows, and the album is really good. I don't have much to do with them day to day, but I've spoken to them a couple of times, given them some encouragement. We just hope they, and the label, can do a little bit better year by year.

The album 'In Search Of Elusive Little Comets' is available from all good music emporiums and via your computer now, available through Ugo's new label "Dirty Hit".

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