Writer: J P Fear
Date:Sunday November 5 2006
Mr Blackburn and my self had an interview exchange, here are the answers I gave to Hughes da man.
Vital Blackburn - Banter Here
1) Same question right back at you. how is your League season shaping up so far?
The season is shaping up well considering how we could easily have gone down last season under O'Leary. We are very tough to beat and although we are
drawing most games, it is still VERY early days for O'Neill who didn't get much of a chance before the transfer window shut. We are certainly more motivated and solid this year.
2) If I'm honest I was surprised when Martin O'Neill took over at Villa, couldn't see it happening with Deadly Doug in charge, but we all know what has happened since. So again same question back is O'Neill the man to take Villa forward and what, realistically, do Villa fans expect achievement wise?
We won the league, we won the cup,
we won the league, we won the cup,
we won the league, we won the cup,
then Dougy Ellis fooked it up!
In other words, we were at the pinnacle once and there is no reason we can't aspire to that again, trouble is the big three and the money bags at Chelsea have stolen a very large march on us now. Sir Al said in his autobiography that he thought Villa would be their main competitors in the 90's, that shows the size and potential. Whether we get there I have no idea, but I'm sure this new chapter for Aston Villa will be far more enjoyable than the last, 2 league cups in the last two decades or more isn't a great deal of success for a club with the history we have! Bet you are sorry you asked now!
3) Without wanting to sound negative but how long do you think you will be able to keep O'Neill before a Manchester United or such team come calling?
If they did do you think he would go?
Martin O'Neill is a committed and loyal man. He knows he has the backing of a great new board and is backed by the fans, he has the potential to be a legend at Villa, I honestly see little reason why he would need to leave to achieve what he wants to in the game. To step into Sir Al's shoes won't be easy for anyone, so why not build at the club you are at? He worked under Brian Clough who did exactly that at Nottingham Forest, so why not O'Neill long term at Villa?
4) What do you make of the new owner, is he good for the club and can he take you where you want to be?
I make a nice little paper hat, a pair of curtains and still have material left over for a hankie. Sorry, that was a moment of madness! Randy Lerner is a top man, he'll do nothing but good for Villa and I firmly believe he will bring the good times back to the club. I've been lucky enough to speak to the new owner and some of his merry men and they are committed to restoring the heritage BUT more importantly move Villa forward. There are already some great signs with the training ground at last being re-developed, 90 coaches being laid on by Randy for fans to get to Chelsea (at his expense) and 'our' old historic Holte Hotel pub being refurbished. All this and we've still got the January sales to look forward to. I've been asking for a cushioned seat, drinks dispenser and pop up umbrella for
myself as well. Sadly that hasn't been done as yet. :o(
5) Which Rovers player do you think Villa need to be aware of on Sunday?
Morten Gamst Pedersen is a quality player and I'm interested to see how Benni McCarthy plays because John Gregory nearly bought him for Villa some years back.
6) And what about Villa, which player will cause Rovers most difficulty?
Gareth Barry. Total quality. That said, the whole team is playing as a unit now, so I reckon we'll give you a good seeing to (again!) at Villa Park.
7) Rovers have somewhat of a 'brutal, rugby league, beat 'em up' tag, unfairly so I'd say as we play some great football, what is your honest view on Rovers?
I think the tag is totally fair, Hughes has you playing a physical and fairly ugly style, sorry!
8) And what about our leader Mark 'Sparky' Hughes, what's your take on him and what he has, and might yet achieve at Ewood Park?
Great player, plenty to prove as a manager but hope he is given the time to see what he can bring to Ewood Park. Danger for you guys is if he brings plenty, then Man Utd might come knocking.
9) Which Rovers player would you happily take any day of the week and which one would you not touch with a bargepole?
I'd like to touch Robbie Savage with a bargepole, repeatedly in fact, and all on the head..........!!!! I'd not say no to Pedersen, I'd not jump at any of the others really and I'd not want to see Lilly in a Villa shirt, I'm sure he feels the same!
10) Is their a Villa player you would happily give to Rovers?
No, sod off and buy your own players! Hey, tell you what, I'll give you two, you can have the Djemba twins. Ok?
11) Last, but by no means least what is your match prediction for Sunday?
A hattrick of home wins for Villa, 1-0 will do.
Date:Sunday November 5 2006
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