Writer: J P Fear
Date:Thursday October 18 2007
1) So the summer was pretty active in the spending stakes, Ferguson seemed to leave everyone else in his wake on the spending stakes. Which are the best buys and are there any not impressing?
There was spending, yeah but people tend to forget we sold a number of players as well though it's fair to say they are not sorely missed. As for the best buy, it has to be Nani so far: I did not expect him to settle so quickly and delivered vital assists. Tevez is now looking to hit top form but his early contributions were not very encouraging and Anderson played very well against Wigan but we'll see whether he can maintain that form. Hargreaves... he impressed when he was playing but all those injuries are really frustrating. Hopefully he'll soon put them behind himself and become the key player we expect him to be.
2) Just how long will Sir Alex continue and how long should he continue?
Even Fergie himself cannot answer this question so who am I to make predictions?! But I will anyway: if we somehow manage to win the Champions League, he will retire at once.
3) What are your expectations this season?
With the problems and uncertainty that Chelsea have to face I think I can say we are the favourites for the league title, despite the awful performances we delivered. So I expect the team to retain the Premiership trophy! Never expected Arsenal to do so well, that complicates matters but this squad should be capable of beating them to the title, especially if we buy a striker in January!
4) How do you rate Aston Villa and our boss Martin O'Neill?
I expected more spectacular changes when Lerner took over and appointed O'Neill. This summer must have been frustrating for Villa fans as I believe your squad has become unbelievably thin. O'Neill's sides are solid, hard-working teams and Villa are no different. At the moment I think he's got a mid-table side with a few quality players and there's the potential to launch an attack on the teams in the upper echelons of the Premiership table. The 4-4 draw at Spurs wasn't very characteristic, it was the win over Chelsea that epitomised O'Neill's Villa.
5) How worried are Man Utd fans at the massive debts your owners have saddled you with. Jealous of our American owner who hasn't put a single penny of debt on Villa's back?
Jealous? No. Had Lerner opted to buy United, he should have borrowed a lot of money. Similarly, the Glazers could have bought Villa without putting a penny of debt on the club's back. Overall, they are better than most people thought, so far they provided money for signings. Ticket prices have increased but they are still well below the charge of admission for an Arsenal game, for example. What stinks is the automatic cup ticket scheme. Quite simply it's an insult for a lot of season ticket holders, as they are deprived from the freedom of choice. Old Trafford usually sells out for cup games, too, so I don't think the scheme generates enough income to be worth alienating and excluding those supporters who are willing to pay £800 for a season ticket but dishing out a grand is beyond their financial range. Of course the ticket exchange service is meant to help giving away tickets for games that season ticket holders do not wish to attend but relatively few people know about it, the club should spread the word more effectively.
6) If you could have one of our players, who would it be and why? (I could answer this for you, as I suspect I know the answer already!)
And I think you guessed it: Gareth Barry, no contest. Especially now that Carrick and Hargreaves are out.
7) Prediction for Saturday?
'You'll never win anything with kids!' You remember that, from 1995? That was the last time we lost at Villa Park and due to my dangerous overconfidence and trademark arrogance I predict that we will take the three points again with a hard-fought 2-1 win.
With thanks to Zae at Vital Manchester United.
Date:Thursday October 18 2007
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