We chat to Reverend And The Makers front man Jon McClure about his new album 'Thirty Two', Sheffield Wednesday, and England's chances in the heat of the Amazon...
He's a lot less embarrassed this season and prepared to naively think that Joey Barton has learned his lesson. He's chuffed with the new album though...
So what's going on with the Maccabees right now?
We're rehearsing for the tour but first stop is the NME awards. Noel Gallagher will be there so maybe we can talk football - I like talking football with anyone. I went up to Manchester for the 3-0 at City so we can talk about that.
Fulham were unlucky to lose that one 3-0...
It sums us up really. We play quite well-intentioned football but we're not so good defensively these days. You can't really judge this Fulham team until next year when Martin Jol has had time to get settled. When you look at those three of Moussa Dembele, Bryan Ruiz and Clint Dempsey you realise that clubs around us don't have attacking players like that. I love Dembele and think he is a top-four club player in waiting. The time he has on the ball is simply unbelievable - I can't remember the last time Fulham had a player of his sheer class.
He's a bit better than Steve Sidwell...
I have no problem with Sid - you know what you're going to get with him. Actually, any Fulham player is alright by me. I've never said that a player is not fit to wear the shirt. You might get frustrated with the traits of players and that can become repetitious, but I watched Fulham in Division Three, so anything is fine by me.
We used to have a left-sided American player called Eddie Lewis and he got a lot of abuse from Fulham fans. I was about 14 and got hold of his e-mail address from a girl. I mailed him to say 'look mate, don't worry about it, I think you're doing okay'. He e-mailed me back saying 'thanks' and he didn't understand why he got so much stick.
Let me guess that this ended with you sending another e-mail and him not replying...
So now you love Dembele, but who was your all-time favourite Fulham player?
All-time was Simon Morgan. Captain Morgan was a legend. He was there right in the Micky Adams era from the Fourth Division right through to the Premier League and never looked out of his depth at any of those levels. I loved him and I had a shirt with 'Morgan 4' on the back. There will be people at Craven cottage now who won't have heard of him and that is kind of sad. But I don't see that as a negative thing because those kids are choosing us over Chelsea and Spurs.
So why did you choose Fulham?
When I was 11/12, I really wanted to see some football. My dad really didn't like football but he took me one day to Craven Cottage, showed me how to get on the train, where the bus stop was and just said 'there you go. feel free'. That was that really - me and a few friends started going every week.
Were you there when Michael Jackson was there? I (Winty) was...
Oh yes. It was kind of lost on me at the time but looking back, it was very, very f***ing weird. I was just a few metres away from Michael Jackson at Craven Cottage. There's a famous photo of the likes of Rufus Brevett posing with him. I was invited to the chairman's box a few weeks go and it was f***ing freezing so I don't know how he coped with it.
Are you now officially a celebrity fan?
They knew I was a Fulham fan and when we were No. 1 in the midweek album charts, they invited me to the ground and showed me around. It just made me think 'what a beautiful club'. It mirrored when I was doing GCSEs at school and I wanted to do some work exprience. I sent a letter saying I was a big Fulham fan and they told me to come down and work at the stadium. You wouldn't get that at most Premier League clubs. You probably wouldn't even get a letter.
So you and Example are the celebrity fans...
I'd love to chat to Example - knowing he's a Fulham fan makes me feel warmly about him. I hear his stuff on the radio and I think of Fulham. There's a calmness about that. Hugh Grant's a Fulham fan - I've never seen him though I hear he's there all the time. I heard one-quarter of JLS are a Fulham fan so I have 25% admiration and 75% common sense when it comes to JLS.
Are you generally very optimistic about Fulham?
Very optimistic. Roy Hodgson's couple of years raised expectation. Before Roy came then staying in the Premier League was the sum total of our ambitions. But there's a feeling that we're under-achieving and that's a positive thing because there's somewhere to go. The Europa League thing makes you realise that there's more to life than just avoiding relegation.
We have some genuinely good players - I was surprised that Roy didn't take Dempsey and Brede Hangeland to Liverpool. Instead he took Paul Konchesky and they both became scapegoats. Roy was treated so badly there. I really don't think he would have been doing much worse than Kenny Dalglish there, he wouldn't have been achieving anything less.
Do the rest of the band like football?
They really don't care. They humour me sometimes but it bores them - the animated discussion I can have with anybody we meet about football. 'Here he bloody goes again' is the usual reaction. They just don't get it but being a Fulham fan is part of my psyche. I just wander around saying 'Come on Fulham' to myself sometimes. Sam the drummer hates football but when he sees me looking a bit sad he says 'come on Fulham' to me. We love each other, you know.
So to the music. Given to the Wild is the third album...
Yes and it's a vastly different record to anything we've done before. It's definitely split opinion but it's been our most successful albunm. The Maccabees fans have always been very good to us and I hope they feel a bit vindicated. It has received more attention so there's more negativity but that comes along to test your mettle. The word 'mature' has been bandied around - it does worry me sometimes because it does sound a bit like we're turning into Coldplay. I think it's by far our best record and some people agree.
The Maccabees will release their new single 'Feel To Follow' on March 12 on Fiction Records. Check in with them here: www.themaccabees.co.uk