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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

An Interview With A Toffee

1) So has the season panned out as you'd expected?

Well, ask me this 6 weeks ago and I tell you it's been great, we would of been sat above 'that lot' in 4th and in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup. Then, the lads lost in the UEFA Cup, and well gave up entirely! I can't remember exactly but I think we were at least 10 points away from Pompey and yourselves at one point, we now have to fight for the spot again. I suppose it has been as I expect really, one hell of a roller coaster! I think 5/6th is what I would of realistically expected, along with good runs in the Carling and UEFA Cup.

2) Who has been your best player / s this year?

Again, if you'd asked me this 6 weeks ago. Without hesitation I would of said Yakubu, Pienaar or Lescott. They were great until the UEFA exit, since all 3 have been, frankly, abysmal! The only player to of kept going is little Leon Osman, so I guess I'd have to say him now!

3) Who has disappointed you the most for the Toffees?

'There's nobody better, than Mikel Arteta...' It feels so wrong singing that now, because again frankly there has been many better. Last season he was sensational, this season he's been poor. So although he probably hasn't been our worst player, he's the one I'm most disappointed with, as I simply, expect better!

4) Do you see Everton challenging the top four any time soon or will the up one season, struggling the next cycle continue?

I think we may be bringing the yo yo years to an end, we will more than likely finish top 6 again this season. So that would be twice in a row, and about where I'd expect us to be next. To finish 4th we'd realistically need to spend 40/50 million, and we simply can't do that when our owner has a large mortgage on his house. Liverpool spent more on 2 players last year, than it cost to assemble our entire squad with 8 million to spare! I'd say top 5/6 for another few years and solid progress in the cups, and then maybe we can try and push onto that next level. realistically there's not much to choose between Everton, Villa, City, Pompey, Blackburn, Spurs, etc the list goes on. I'd expect every team there to spend more than us, so it will be tough no question!

5) What is your opinion of Martin O'Neill and Villa.

I have a very high opinion of Villa, a good traditional English side. Great fans, and a proper football stadium. I like a lot of the playing staff too, and can only see Villa moving forwards in the next 5 years. I think the future of both clubs will see, in time, both catching the big 3 and Liverpool.

I think out of all the foreign investors you probably got the best. And if you believe reports we could of had him if Bumbling Bill was prepared to share his train set! He seems to be running your club properly, which is great to see as Villa would definitely be my 'second team'.

MON I do not rate quite so highly however, he is a decent manager no doubt. But he makes some questionable signings. Reo Coker for 10 million? With the greatest respect intended, he is not a 10 million player, pay half of that and I'd be thinking it's a bit steep. And if he pays that figure again for Carson, well I think most Villa fans will accept Scot Carson is not a 10 million goal keeper!

6) Do you think you'll finish 5th, if not who will?

Villa, I think we'll finish 6th.

Injuries have come at the wrong time with moral so low for us.

7) Do you fancy your chances this weekend and which of our players do you fear the most?

Nope, I expect to get leathered in all honesty. Spirits couldn't be any lower in camp Goodison, or any higher at Villa Park! There's not better time for you to play us, and no worse time for us to play you!

Who do I fear the most? A certain Ashley Young. Tremendous player and one I'd love for us to of got. Pace, skill, a great shot. And he'll be up against one of Hibbert or Neville....

8) Come on then, head on the block time, Lawro says 0-2, what is your prediction?

1-4 A right old royal humping. If Neville and Carsley line up in central midfield, you can double that 4.

With thanks to Everton Mike. My answers at Vital Everton:

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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday April 26 2008

Time: 9:56AM

Your Comments

Thanks Mike, enjoyed that exchange!
The Fear
12 hours on from when you are prompted and it's all sorted, who needs forward planning lol! These kind of articles between opposition fans is what I find set vital out and above the rest.
"big 3 and Liverpool" lol, nice one mate
10 mill for reo coker mike! are u sure we paid that?!
Couldn't remember exactly, but i believe it was in the region 8/9/10 million.
I think you need to take some positive pills Mike, football can change so quickly so always be on the look out for a win and a decent performance. Having said that were gunna thrash you tomorrow!!
I believe we paid 8M for Okey Cokey. Nevertheless, I think he's proving his worth. Just wish he'd work on his finishing?! I agree this game will have come at a very bad time for Everton and although I have a massive amount of respect for them it's difficult to see anything other than an away win. 1-3 Carew (2) Young (1) and Carson (OG)
Perhaps I am a pessimistic tit villa bikes, but after watching Everton in the 90's, and then the walter smith era.... Is it a surprise i expect the worst?
I think you are Beckenbauering us bud,Everton are surely favourites.
Thanks Mr Fear ;) Always good to hear from opposition fans. Good luck to everyone today, whoever wins will deserve the final 5th place.
Naturally mate of course we're favourites, our 1 win in 6 against Derby 1-0 at home must be petrifying you.
im not sure about 4-1 mike pshh, i'd be very surprised if there was 5 goals in this game, i think we'll be lucky if we get 2 or 3. 2-1 to the toffees i reckon, Carew, Yakubu and Fernandes.
Hmm. I'd have to disagree with your verdict on MON, Mike. You doubt his signings and mention NRC as being 'questionable', but then go on to sing the praises of AY. Many people had serious doubts about the 10million we paid for Ashley, but he has proved himself, and MON's ability to spot talent. Every manager in the business makes good and bad signings. It is almost impossible to foresee how somebody will fit into your team (and your dressing room) before you hand over the cash. Only time will tell ... Good luck for tomorrow! :o)
Here's to you, EvertonMike, hoping for an enjoyable match for both supporters as well as a neutral audience. I think Villa just might have the little edge this time, but I could very well see Everton win this as well.
Is Everton Mike trying to lull us into a false sense of security!?!?
Adam Deuce
I can say hand on heart I expect us to lose, whether you believe me matters little. I highly doubt my opinion is going to effect your sense of security mate! Ashley Young is a fantastic player yes mate, but let's not pretend that wasn't obvious to anyone with an ounce of football knowledge before he went to you. I wouldn't really class that as a great spot of talent by MON as you payed a sizeable fee.
Yes, of course we did - that's exactly the point. MON was prepared to pay it when others - including many pundits and so-called 'experts' - were wondering if it was too much (along with a section of Villa fans). If it was that obvious a spot, how come nobody else did it instead of us?
Stop buttering us up Everton Mike! I know your kind. You're the favorites and there is no doubt about that. Good form or not the game is at goodison and you sit in 5th.
Again I'll say it, whether you believe I think we'll lose or not does not really matter does it. Now run along and do your homework.
I wish you both could win, and nick the 4th from the Scousers.
Blue is the colour
Love these exchanges Thanks Mike & Jon
I think is the biggest game Aston Villa have been in in a very long time. This is a pivotal point in the next stage to see if we can keep momentum going and excel in the big games. This could see how we fare in Europe.
We should both be qualifying in 5th or 6th respectively,seems every time we are close less teams allowed !!!!
Kill the ball from Arteta, then you game
BITC said... """I wish you BOTH could win, and nick the 4th from the Scousers. Blue is the colour""" <---how is that possible?
great article, nice one! 1-4? not so sure myself, id take a 0-1 now..draw wud be a good result too providing pompy dont win anyway
We can still technically finish 4th cretivo, we just need to win our 3, them to lose their 2, and manage a GD swing of +15.
Good responses Mike. Honours even then, we were both wrong. Guess neither of us have (had) enough faith in our team. Shame on us.
Great atmosphere up there again Mike. Both sets of fans in good voice. Still remains up there amongst my favourite away grounds.

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