VIP Interview

Bastille drummer's Plymouth passion

Chris Wood of band Bastille

Just because you are part of a platinum album-selling band and are currently touring the USA does not mean you lose the need to keep an eye on what is happening back home at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon.

Chris Wood, better know as Woody and the drummer for band Bastille, knows this all too well as he does all he can to keep up with the fortunes of his hometown club of Plymouth Argyle, who can be found playing in the fourth tier of English football.

He took time out from his latest tour to chat with about the ups and downs of supporting a team from outside the Premier League and his memories of growing up with football, as well as his expectations for England at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and the FIFA Ballon d'Or. Have you always been a football fan? Chris Wood: I've been a diehard Plymouth Argyle fan since I was about five years old. My dad, granddad and uncle brainwashed me into being an Argyle fan and I've been a green ever since. I had a season ticket up until I was about 18 when I went to university and left home, but I try to catch as many away games as I can. I've been really busy with the band so actually haven't been able to see a game this season, which is really annoying, but I'll hopefully be able to see one next month.

Have you got good memories of going to Home Park?
I've seen the best and worst of Argyle, really. I've seen us almost go up [to the Premier League] under Ian Holloway, but then there has been our administration period and successive relegations. Mostly though they are happy memories, I was lucky enough to go to every game when we were promoted twice in three seasons (between 2001 and 2004) under Paul Sturrock, which was obviously incredible for us.

How do you find supporting a team lower down the ladder, compared to following a Premier League side?
I think from this side of things, when you win it actually means something, whereas if you are a Chelsea fan you expect to win and if you don't you are just disappointed. With Argyle, if we win it completely makes your weekend. There's also that local pride thing as well, coming from there, I like to think it means that little bit more. There was also the frustrating thing of when I was growing up I was probably surrounded by more Manchester United fans then you would find in Stretford (down the road from Old Trafford). Then there was our FA Cup run in 2007, when we got to the quarter-finals, which was a dream come true. It's those kinds of days I really enjoy.

Do you feel a bit closer to the team as well, seeing as there's less of a divide between the players and the fans compared to those at a bigger team?
Yeah definitely. Actually I've been chatting to a couple of the team on Twitter now as well, which is quite funny. I think we've got quite a good young squad now and I think, give it a year, we could be quite a serious team.

I hate to say it, but I think Argentina could be a good shout for it.

Did you have dreams of playing professionally when you are younger?
[Laughs] A little bit. I had country trials as a goalkeeper when I was 13, but as I was 4ft 8ins so I kept on getting lobbed all the time. I love playing, but I think music was always my more obvious calling... although if Plymouth ever need a player I'd be happy to oblige!

Which players were the players you looked up to as you were growing up?
My favourite Argyle player was Peter Halmosi, who went on to play for Hull City about three or four years ago. He was an absolute magician with the ball. There was also a player called David Friio, a tough-tackling attacking-midfielder who scored some really vital goals for us. The best player I've ever seen though was probably when Chelsea came for a pre-season friendly and Ruud Gullit was player-manager. He was able to smash a 90-yard ball from one end of the pitch and it land on the other guy's toe.

What are your first memories of the World Cup?
The first World Cup I remember was USA 1994, when I would have been about eight or nine years old. I remember staying up late and seeing Roberto Baggio miss his penalty. The first tournament I really cared about was UEFA EURO 1996, which was in England, when Alan Shearer was at the top of his game.

How are you feeling about England next year in Brazil?
I actually don't feel too bad about England next year. What I personally would like to see is if Roy Hodgson capped the team's age at 30 and then went about building the team towards the EURO in a couple of years time. On paper we've got a good squad, [Wayne] Rooney and [Daniel] Sturridge are top class strikers banging in goals in the league for fun, but they haven't quite clicked yet at international level. I think the England players do hold a bit of fear because of the pressure the media put on them but I reckon we are going to make the quarter-finals if I am being realistic. Having never seen a World Cup in South America I'm quite interested to see how the climate will impact on the players, but I think it should be a good tournament.

Who do you think has the best chance of going all the way?
I hate to say it, but I think Argentina could be a good shout for it. I think Brazil could choke under the pressure of being the home nation and there are some outrageous players for Argentina. You have [Lionel] Messi, [Sergio] Aguero and everyone else, who are devastating players, so I'm tipping them.

Anyone other team you feel could be in for a good performance there?
I'm looking forward to seeing what Belgium can do. Their squad reads a little like a Premier League all-star team at the minute. I think they could give a few teams a massive shock. I do like the way they play, but also it would be nice to see a changing of the guard so it's not always the same teams at tournaments dominating.

And finally, who do you feel should take home the FIFA Ballon d'Or when it is handed out in January?
I can't see any further than [Cristiano] Ronaldo. Obviously Messi is a great player but he has not had the most incredible season. I felt Gareth Bale could have been in with a shout, but he still has a lot to prove. Ronaldo has just been so consistent and that hat-trick against Sweden was unbelievable, carrying your team to the World Cup is pretty special.

Bastille's new album 'All this Bad Blood' is out now

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