Writer: J P Fear
Date:Monday October 30 2006
Mr Vital Stoke Chris Baldwin emailed me the other day and said we can't have Lee Hendrie back from his loan at Stoke, so I thought I'd investigate further and asked him the following few questions:
1) So how is your season going so far?
Very poor start, but maybe not surprising with a new owner and manager and it's taken awhile for the team to gel. A vocal minority have always been against a Pulis return to the Brit and used the first two months' poor performances to to try and prove their point. But since the introduction of some loan signings - Hendrie, Diao (from Liverpool) and Griffin (from Portsmouth), he has had the opportunity to drop some underperformed midfield players and in October we've seen a complete about turn - three wins out of four, 11 goals scored and only 2 conceded.
2) How is Lee Hendrie settling into the Championship and more importantly your side?
Most fans would claim that Hendrie has been a single most important thing that has happened. Besides scoring three goals in five games, he has had a helping hand in most of the others and is everywhere on the pitch. He's given the team and fans a lift and really seems to enjoy himself. You can see how he milks the applause when he scores.
3) Is he starting every game and have the fans taken to him?
Who could leave him out? He is easily the most popular player at the club at the moment. He spends time signing autographs before the game and has already been spotted throwing his shirts into the crowd after the game!
4) What did you think about the comments by Martin O'Neill that Lee Hendrie is going nowhere permanently at the moment and that he will return and have his testimonial match at Villa Park? Click Here
and do you think Lee would be happy to stay at Stoke having taken a drop down in divisions or do you think he is there to gain match fitness to fight to get his place back at Villa?
I think most people accept that we're not going to be able to keep him. It's obvious he'd just love to do well at Stoke and then go back to Villa and a regular first team place. He says that O'Neil has told him that he is still in his plans and that the loan is to get him back to full fitness. He was interviewed on BBC Radio Stoke last week and obviously was asked if he would sign, but he batted it away with a vague 'football is a funny game and anything can happen' type of reply.
Being realistic, I think it would be great if he could stay on loan until the end of the season.
With thanks to Chris Baldwin
Date:Monday October 30 2006
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