Writer: J P Fear
Date:Monday January 30 2006
1) Season seems to be going 'quite' well for you, bored of winning yet?
Definitely not! After being near achievers for so many years it feels really great to be in the situation weíre in. However, a defeat does hurt just as much as it used to. Even though weíve only lost once in the Premiership all season, the pangs of despair are still there when things are not going as they should. Against Charlton, the equaliser, from Bent, brought back all those old feelings when you just knew we were not going to win. I guess winning is addictive, the more it happens the better the rush.
2) Do you fancy yourselves in the Champions League as well, or do you think domestic dominance is as much as the Russian's millions will bring you - not that I'm bitter you understand?! It may have been a while back, but us Villans do know the sweet taste of European success!
When the draw was made for the Champion League and we drew Barcelona, I couldnít help but suggest that the draw was fixed. After the epic encounters, last season, had so much drama would UEFA dare not to offer a replica situation. Similarly, at the time of the draw, I was optimistic that we could beat them again, why not? They may be in a rich vein of form strolling towards La Liga but football can be a funny old game. Chelsea are not playing at the top of their form but you just know a sensational performance lies just around the corner. Getting past Barcelona is the hard bit. Apart from the Italian sides, the competition looks wide open. Off course if I could choose ideal opponents for the final in Paris, it would be Liverpool. Our exit last season grates and revenge would be simply superb. I can recall your own success. I couldnít believe that Ron Saunders had been axed so soon after winning the title and midway through the next campaign. I must admit, Iíve always had a soft spot for Villa. Back in Primary school my best mate and I picked teams that were struggling just to follow how they did. He picked Crewe and I picked Villa. Over the next few years I watched as Villa marched all the way to the pinnacle of club competition whilst his Crewe remained in the doldrums. Iím afraid to say it tarnished what was once a great relationship.
3) Who do you - I'm sorry, with the squad you have I feel almost stupid asking this - here goes, who do you fear in the Villa side?
Strangely enough itís Juan Pablo Angel. Whenever he plays against us he always has several chances. I remember a clash at Stamford Bridge that I think ended in a draw and he had three or four good chances to put the game beyond our reach. I just feel that, one day, against us he is going to hit the net with monotonous ease and make it a day to forget. Apart from Angel, Iíve always admired Lee Hendrie although he seems to have fallen from grace recently.
4) Who should Villa fear? And who is your best player?
In all honesty Villa donít need to fear anyone. All our players and their subsequent dangers are well known but our biggest threat remains the counter attack. Push up too far and on a big pitch like Villa Park and youíll leave yourself wide open to counter attacks with Arjen Robbenís seering pace likely to have you in trouble. If you sit back and invite us to come to you, donít be surprised to see Chelsea play a patient game with the trickery of Joe Cole in and around the edge of the area trying to open you up. Some of his ball skills are outstanding and can take your breath away.
5) What is your opinion of Aston Villa as a club? A sleeping giant? A big club? Or.........?
As Iíve previously mentioned, Iíve always had a soft spot for Villa. I remember the title winning season when the pace of Tony Morley opened up defences. My best memory being the wonder goal he scored at Goodison Park. It made a refreshing change for someone else to win the top domestic prize. In a way I suppose its how a lot of teams felt when we broke up the duopoly of Manchester United and Arsenal last season. Your stadium, now itís finished, is superb and you have the support to become one of Englandís biggest teams. Whether Doug Ellis has held you back in recent years only those who support Villa can probably answer. Perhaps the ideal answer to your question would be Ė a snoozing giant of a big club.
6) Fancy giving us a chorus of Ellis Out on Wednesday night, it is a tradition around these parts? Or are you still pining for Ken Bates? ;-)
Ah! Poor old Kenneth? Harped on about buying Chelsea for a pound and saving them but then forgets to mention he built up a debt of in excess of £80m and made close to £20m when he sold his shares with the club in dire financial trouble. Ken was the reason that the majority of the writers associated with the Chelsea fanzines and web sites chose to use pseudonyms. The fear of legal litigation was so rampant that many of us chose (and still do) to hide behind pen names. Thankfully, the new regime are far more relaxed and we have an open dialogue with them, courtesy of the ĎFans Forumí of which Iím proud to say Iím a member. In fact weíd be pleased to join you in a chorus of ďEllis OutĒ because itíll be a sure fire indication that weíre about to take all three points.
7) What is your prediction for the game, never an easy game against Villa is it?
Unfortunately, being Champions weíre finding no game is easy. Teams tend to raise their game to claim our scalp. Villa is always a difficult game, I can recall last season when Drogba hit the bar and then was booked for diving when clearly he was brought down. However, Villa Park does have some good memories for us Chelsea supporters. After all it has the distinction of being the last ground we were allowed to parade our huge ĎPride of Londoní flag at. Your backroom staff were very helpful in getting us permission to bring it in and the West Midlands Fire Brigade were very obliging when it came to giving it a quick fireproof test. Unfortunately, the steward who told us it must be out of sight before the teams run out didnít take into account that it was going to disappear out of the away end and into the main stand where the rest of the Chelsea support were encamped in that magical night when we beat Fulham in the FA Cup semi final. Apart from that I can recall Tore Andre Flo netting a brace in front of the travelling support and a few years before that George Weah peppering the Holte End without actually hitting the net. Wednesday night should be interesting. There is always something about night games as opposed to Saturday afternoon kick offs.
8) What is your answer when fans say that Abramovich and his money is ruining the Premiership and does he have a brother who likes claret and blue?
Abramovich has been good for the Premiership and English football in general. Without his cash filtering down through the leagues several clubs would be in financial trouble. His cash, albeit via transfers, helped keep West Ham afloat and through his takeover provided the money for Ken Bates to take control at Leeds United who were also in dire financial trouble. Despite his massive investment its still Manchester United that lead the way with regards to spending big. Veron, Ferdinand and Van Nistelrooy are all more expensive than anyone weíve purchased. As for having a brother who likes claret and blue, letís just say Roman himself didnít much like Tottenham when he viewed them as a possible target for a takeover. Apparently, they didnít take him too seriously.
9) Which team in the league can't you stand and why?
Canít stand or abhor? I guess it would have to be Liverpool. Last season and the Champions League still grates. How can a team that finished thirty-seven points behind us be classed as European Champions? Return the Champions League to exactly that Ė a league / cup for champions or else letís cut the crap and go for a European Super League instead of pontificating that the Champions League is the way forward.
To see my comments to Vital Chelsea - Click Here
Date:Monday January 30 2006
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|4.||Pride of Lions||617|
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|Aston Villa||1||-||1||Man Utd|
|13. Crystal Palace||22||5||8||9||-8||23|
|15. Aston Villa||22||5||7||10||-14||22|
|18. Hull City||22||4||7||11||-10||19|
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