Bass guitarist Russell Leetch waxes lyrical about Yaya Toure, insists Paul Lambert isn't the saviour and tells Goal about his top 10 favourite footballers of all timeGoal managed to secure a chat with Russell Leetch, bass guitarist for Birmingham-based indie band Editors, who are currently touring the UK with their fourth studio album entitled 'The Weight of Your Love', to discuss Aston Villa, Paul Lambert, Christian Benteke and much more.
Did you choose Aston Villa or did Aston Villa choose you?
"They got chosen for me by one of my mum’s closest friends. My family aren’t avid football fans, but my dad eventually took us to a game when I was nine. We beat Spurs 3-2 – David Platt scored right on the whistle – but I missed a lot of the goals because me and my brother needed the toilet all the time!"
|RUSSELL LEETCH'S DREAM XI
"I went into the wilderness for a bit and didn’t follow Villa for a few years, but me and my brother went to the Manchester United match a few years ago. We eventually lost 3-2, but we were 2-0 up and I remember the atmosphere at Villa Park being electric. We hadn’t beaten United at home in about 20 years, and when Villa Park is rocking there are few better places."
Do you have a favourite Villa player?
"In Christian Benteke we’ve got someone who’s a class above the rest of the team, but last season I thought Matt Lowton did really well. He’s not playing so much this season though, and I'm not sure why."
How did you feel about Benteke submitting a transfer request in the summer?
"It’s always going to happen when a player’s knocking in goals and demolishing a lot of good teams. If he’s given the chance to go to a more successful club then he’s going to go. I’m sure there’ll be more rumours in January and next summer.
"I was surprised there were no official offers, particularly from the likes of Spurs. It was his first season as well, so maybe they want to see what he does this year."
Are you confident Villa will stay up?
"Yeah I am, because I think there are a few weaker teams than us. As long as we can get something going and start to win at home we’ll be fine.
"I really hope we don’t have a Christmas like last year. That was depressing."
Paul Lambert: Yes or No?
"Yeah I'm a fan, though I don’t think he’s the saviour as some do. At the end of last season I thought he’d got the team clicking. We were starting to play good football on the ground, and we started that way again this season, but over the last few games we’ve run out of ideas."
He has given youth a chance though...
"I do like that, but you also see managers like Roberto Martinez go for players like Gareth Barry, who I think would be really welcomed if he came back to Villa Park. He’s shown he can still do a really good job.
"But when it comes to proven guys, I think Lambert’s been told by Randy Lerner to buy five players for £3m each rather than one player for £10m."
If you could sign any player in the world for Villa, who would it be?
"We need a midfield general, so Yaya Toure. We need someone with a bit of strength in the midfield who can run with the ball, defend it and put it in the goal as well.
"Our midfield don’t really contribute very many goals, and that’s a bit of a worry."
Strong choice. Does it hurt to see West Brom sporting the 'Best Team in the Midlands' title these days?
"They’re playing good football and deserve to be above us. I don’t mind the Baggies.
"When you’re changing managers all the time like we were and every new guy wants his own players, you don’t really end up with a coherent squad.
"We’ve got to give Lambert the time to get a team together which will play as well as them."
On the plus side, Birmingham are struggling...
"Yeah, they’re in in the relegation zone and that’s always pleasing to see."
In other news, are you touring at the moment?
"We are! This is the second date of our UK tour, rolling on from five weeks touring around Europe. It’s been absolutely great so far, with lots of memorable shows. We’re back to miserable UK weather now unfortunately, but I’m off to see the Villa this Saturday so it’s not all bad!"
'The Weight of Your Love', the new album from Editors, is out now.