Writer: J P Fear
Date:Monday September 21 2009
Villa and Pompey reaction to the weekend
pompeyrug, from Vital Pompey and myself, JF, answers some questions we came up with in reflection on the Villa win over Pompey. We reflect on what was and what might be still.
Support - what did you make of the Villa and Pompey backing?
The Fear: I was surprised and disappointed at the numbers you guys brought, as you'll know because I sent you a text asking 'did you all come in the same taxi' BUT thought you folks who did turn up really supported your team and despite a pretty poor display from your team you didn't let up or let them down one bit. For only around 300 (?) you made a good noise.
Our lot? Not the noisiest we've ever been, to be honest the football was pretty 'boring' (not complaining, a win is a win) and sometimes the fans need a spark from players just like players need support from the fans. There were moments when they got going but I know you were a bit surprised that there wasn't more noise. We can be very loud at Villa Park but mostly it is the away troops that make the most noise, I don't think there are many any better than the travelling claret and blue.
Rug: You do not get many better than the travelling Pompey fans, although the numbers might often be lower now... I do not know numbers but I am saddened to hear it was probably as little as 300? We certainly made more noise than 300! I thought we were fantastic, especially that 30-minute 'Great Escape' burst from around the 60th minute on. Your fans and stewards were captured by it too, I could see it!
You lot really surprised me, I was very disappointed at how quiet you were and only seemed to pipe up when you scored... Memory from a couple of years back when I visited, as your guest in with the Villa lot, was that you were a lot more vocal and we beat you 3-1.
Where do our respective seasons go from here?
The Fear: Well, with Villa, I'm intrigued. I started the season with lowish expectations (we'd not bought a few players when I was doing the usual pre-season stuff for 442 etc) and was saying 7-8th. After the Wigan game (woeful, seriously, seriously woeful) I was thinking we'd be lucky to trouble the top ten (it was that shocking!) but to have rallied the way we have and to have gone on a winning run of four including beating Liverpool has been a great answer to the early shock. The thing that intrigues and excites me is we aren't on form yet, some of our players really haven't started the season yet, Ashley Young for instance has been very quiet so far and is yet to really get into his stride - which I'm sure he will - and others aren't looking that sharp. So to be where we are taking that into account, what might we get when all 'clicks'? We are certainly solid at the back. I'm still not sure we are set up right to trouble the top four but hey, who knows, after all, it is a funny old game!
As for you guys, you look short on goals. Not sure what replacing the manager will do either, it isn't his fault he has been forced to sell his top players including two great strikers is it? Could be a long hard season, I hope you all rally and pull through, the fans don't deserve any heartbreaks... good luck!
Rug: We have a lot of hard work and endeavour in our side, and to be fair a bit of quality too – so not quite the complete lack of quality that is portrayed – but we do not look like scoring any goals, and without goals you do not win games! We need to hope that Aruna Dindane, and/or Danny Webber, can be the answer or we could be done for... We also need to hope that we will be in with a shout come January, so if we are and SAF really does have money he can bring in some genuine goalscoring threat, and some wide players to supply this.
I have to admit that you guys did not overly impress me, but everyone has an off day! I might have been overly critical of our performance, which I did not think was very good, but for most of the game we at least matched, if not bettered you – is that a sign that we are not really a bad team or you really had an off day? As I say I do not think we are as bad as people think, but we are not setting up quite right. You have too many good players not to get it together though and be in and around the top 6 or 7. If you did not finish in the top 6 I would be very surprised.
League cup next up for us both, does the run carry on or end?
The Fear: Well, now we are out of Europe, I HOPE that MON takes the domestic cup games seriously. It is our main chance of success and I'd think the Carling Cup - despite the FA Cup being the one we'd all love obviously - might well be the one to focus on. I think we'll beat Cardiff who didn't do well this weekend BUT I've said that the last few years when we have faced lower league teams and always come out disappointed. Time will tell, over to you Martin!
Rug: Away to Carlisle, firstly a beat of a journey – more so from my Devon base, and being the 'fool' I am I will be going! Even with the cup-tied players and even with the bad form we are on, at least results wise, if we lost this game I would be more than a little put out and would expect Paul Hart to be gone by the time I get home around Wednesday lunchtime, which is probably the time I will get back to my home! No one expects much from us, but again being the 'double fool' I am I have this 'sneaky feeling' about the league cup this season...
Penalty or not?
The Fear: I think so, couldn't tell during the game, it all happened so quickly but sent a text to a mate listening to it on the radio and they were dead sure it was and having watched it on Match of the day, I don't think you can have any complaints really?
Not a great ref though was he?!?!
Rug: This happened pretty much right in front of us and although I was not completely convinced it was a foul – not seen any replays either – my first reaction and I could see why it was given. In fact even before Nadir Belhadj attempted the 'tackle' we knew it was going to be a penalty, and sure enough he gave another away! We almost accept that Belhadj will aid the conceding of a goal or give a penalty away, so much so now I doubt the bookies would pay out much on him doing this – something we had considered putting a bet on.
Nope, the referee was not great at all – another complete donkey, something that we seem to get a lot this season but not as bad as Chris Hoy, who we had last weekend against Bolton...
How much do you think it hurt Petrov when the ball hit him square in the face?
The Fear: OUCH... that is all I've got to say! At least he doesn't have to worry about damaging his looks... did I just say that out loud?!
Rug: That'll leave a mark is what I said to my cousin, as well as having a laugh. It was full on and must have really hurt, he – quite rightly – went down like he had been shot. To be fair he good up pretty quickly and did not even need the 'magic sponge', although he deserved that for not joining us back along, that said even if he had we would have sold him by now...
So, Paul Hart... will he be sacked and is it really down to him when he was made to sell so many?
The Fear: Lets face it, we are all obsessed with our clubs and don't always think rationally. It is all well and good for me as an outsider to defend your boss but you are the guys that see how he conducts his business each week both on and off the field. I fail to see what a manager can be expected to do when he is made to sell two England international strikers and a top defender not to mention the other exits. But as said, I don't know the full ins and outs so it is easy for me to say that. If you bring in a top manager but that manager doesn't have the backing to bring in new players, do you really think the results would be any different? If you really do, then there is your answer I guess!
Rug: These are words, or words to this effect that I have said a few times recently but I do feel for him and at the end of the day we have to be thankful that he stepped into the breach when we were a complete and utter shambles, even more so! Who else would have done that? That said we really cannot afford to keep preserving with him indefinitely and you have to put a 'limit' on how much you take.
Although no matter what his faults are and what we blame him for you cannot account for the individual mistakes that people make – that cannot be his fault as he is not the one out on the pitch playing. That said I still think that we are good enough to stay up, but I am struggling to believe that Hart can be the man to work these players to do this. I hope I am wrong, and want to be wrong as I do not want to see another manager sacked but Everton has to be the game that decides his fate though – lose that and he would surely have to go...
Questions answered by pompeyrug from Vital Pompey.
(With thanks to pompeyrug for assembling this interview exchange!)
Date:Monday September 21 2009
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