Vital Newcastle Interview
1) So how has your season been so far?
Mixed is probably the best word for it. After a dreadful start things really picked up and we find ourselves fairly firmly lodged in mid-table. Whilst this is far from ideal it's certainly an improvement on the way things were going. Then there's that FA cup game. Fortunately we seem to have picked ourselves up after that, after all if I'm being honest I don't think we were really going to win the cup anyway.
2) Is Glenn Roeder the man to take you forward?
Hopefully, but he needs finical backing. His one big signing, Martins, seems to be a bargain at £10million and he apparently had a load of cracking signings lined up when he was at West Ham (including a then unknown Didier Drogba for £500k) so clearly he's no slouch in the transfer market. He seems to be good at eveloping youth players too, so that's another bonus. Team sprit is high too and that seems to be down to Roeder.
3) Realistically what can Newcastle achieve this season now and what do you expect in the next few years?
Scraping a UEFA cup spot shouldn't be out of the question, though the lack of signings in the transfer window makes it a slightly more distant prospect. Finishing above Middlesbrough would be nice though. And on the subject of the Smoggies, if they can get as far as the UEFA cup final I don't see why we can't. Having said that Spurs getting a bye to the next round makes even more of a mockery of a competition that already has a strong hint of Mickey Mouse about it.
As for the next few years, god only knows. I very much doubt we'll be challenging for the Champions League any time soon though, not without a massive cash injection. But, if the ownership situation ever gets sorted, that might happen... Realistically though we should be aiming for Europe every year. We won't see a return to the glory days in the near future, but on the other hand when I look at Leeds, who had a similar level of success to us in the late 90's, I realise just how bad things could have been for.
4) How far away is Michael Owen from a return?
He'll be back in April, apparently. Though having said that one of the papers ran a story saying in addition to the knee problem he'd been seeing a specialist about his troublesome hamstring too so maybe that'll push things back a bit. Overall though I'd rather wait until the start of next season and have a fully fit Owen turn out than have him rush back for this season and have him end up getting crocked again.
5) What is your opinion of Aston Villa?
It's strange but I don't think Newcastle fans have any strong opinion on Villa. There's certainly no great history of rivalry. I think Moe from The Simpsons sums it up best when he says 'I'm a well wisher. In that I don't wish you any specific harm.'
6) What do you think of Martin O'Neill and were you hoping he'd join the Toon?
Clearly O'Neill is a quality manager and he'll do well at any club he goes to. But I must admit I'm happy with Roeder.
7) If you could swap a player or two of yours for one or two of our players, who would they be?
Now you're asking. Babayaro for Barry would be a definite, we really need a quality left back. And Ameobi for, well, anyone really. A striker if possible but I'm not really that bothered. In fact, I'd be more than happy to just let you have him.
8) Who do you fear in the Villa side?
Anyone who can head the ball basically, we're worryingly lacking in height. I think Petrov could cause us problems too.
9) Who should Villa fear in your side?
Martins, without a doubt. He'll either terrorise your defence for most of the game and score a cracker or doing nothing for most of the game and then score a cracker anyway.
10) What is your prediction for the game?
It all depends on which Newcastle turn up, the gutless bottlers or the never say die heroes. I have a feeling it'll be a score draw though.
My answers on Vital Newcastle