Writer: Mike Field
Date:Thursday October 23 2008
Gareth Barry was pleased with our win tonight. Well who can blame him?
Speaking after the match our match winner former Captain Gareth Barry was pleased that we had managed to take all 3 points and put in a good battling performance against, let us be fair, a technically superior Ajax team.
After titty weather, strip news and generally being a worthless channel C5 have regained respect in this household, mainly because they will be airing the Villa more than other English clubs in the UEFA Cup this season.
That may be because we are more exciting to watch than Spurs, or Pompey or any of the other teams who lost tonight - snigger - or it may be because they realise we can go furthest in this competition?
Who knows, who cares.
Even when you attend the match, their coverage allows you to replay it.
Barry said to somebody who ended the interview with the word 'magic':
'It was very close. In the first half they had the possession but in the second we changed our game plan.
'Overall we deserved the win. We knew they were going to have a lot of possession but it's the scoreline that counts.
'It was very important we started with a win especially at home. It sets us up nicely.'
Collaring the wee mad man, Channel 5 also spoke with Martin O'Neill who clearly understood what tonight meant to us, the fans.
'Of course it was going to be tight - Ajax are a very good side.
'I thought we were brilliant, I thought we deserved to win the game. We've got good players as well; I thought we were magnificent.
'For the first match of the group stage it was magnificent.'
And it was, it may not have been pretty but by God will the players feel their commitment tomorrow.
I'm not the greatest fan of Gabby, Petrov, NRC, the whole squad because I'm a fan who is very quick to moan.
Tonight, every player in the starting 11 and the 2 subs made mistakes.
But mistakes can be forgiven....and they are forgiven quicker when you see the commitment each of those 13 players tonight made to our cause.
We've played better, and we will play better. We weren't brilliant as O'Neill states.
Brilliance should be replaced by the word, committed, caring....our performance was heartfelt.
Not a single player on that pitch gave up. Not a single player on that pitch shirked a challenge. Not a single player on that pitch tonight cared about looking pretty, or taking the headlines, or cared about how they will feel when the adrenaline goes.
I'm proud of my team tonight because they did what every fan in the stand would do. Ran, cared, battled, kept battling, kept running, and tonight seriously.
Whether we'd have won or lost.
Every player did us proud.
And why, because they cared.
Our heads will hurt tomorrow from celebration.....their legs will hurt tomorrow from commitment.
That will do me.
Date:Thursday October 23 2008
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