Vital Villan Interviews: V1llianous
1 - How long have you been a Villa fan and how did you first get the Claret & Blue faith?
I started being interested in football when ironically I moved from Birmingham to Dublin, Ireland in 1981 when I was 6. At that stage I had no knowledge of Birmingham football teams but when I did start looking at teams over the next year I decided to keep a link to my birthplace and with the right team fortunately.
2 - What was your first game?
I made a trip over to Worcester to see relatives on my own for the first time in August 1994 and decided to try and catch a game then. I remember getting the train to New Street from the airport and then getting a bus to Villa Park on the Friday afternoon to get tickets before treking out to Worcester. It was a Blose bus driver and he said what was I bothering to go there for. I correctly informed him I wanted to see a decent Birmingham football team and there wasn't any option. The next day 27th of August I arrived about 3 hours early for the Villa - Crystal Palace 1-1 draw. I was seated about 10 yards from the corner flag 3 rows back in the Trinity Road stand from where Steve Staunton scored direct from the corner over Mark Crossley's head to equalise. I try to get over every season for one match, I didn't manage it this season due to family illness and birth but must try harder for next season. Have been over to a boring draw against Middlesbrough, the 2-1 win over! Chelsea as we just avoided relegation, the draw against Spurs with Barry's great goal, introduced my wife to be to the Villa against Spurs in 2000 and the Liverpool match where Staunton got sent off on his return to Villa Park.
3 - What is your most memorable moment as a Villa fan?
My best moment was probably the League Cup win over the Mancs. Even as an ardant fan was expecting a bit of a beating but what a day. Felt sorry for Kanchelskis at the end but as a keeper really impressed by Bossie's point blank full stretch save from Hughes' volley on the six-yard line.
4 - And the worst moment?
Probably the derbies against the Blues with Enks clanger, Stern John's last minute equaliser. And also the cup final against Chelsea after that start knew we wouldn't do it.
5 - Who are your favourite current Villa players?
Until recently I would have said Gareth Barry but if he has been looking for a move away after so much faith has been shown in him he goes down in my estimation. Love the trickery of Webcam Ashley but probably favourite would now by Laursen - he just shows so much commitment and determination especially after coming back from the injuries he has had in the last few years.
6 - Which former player/s are your ultimate heroes?
Paul McGrath - what a way to read the game (especially with his off field problems)
Mark Bosnich - great keeper a pity he didn't stay longer.
Ian Taylor - a fan and player of the Villa which was always a great example. Doing what we would love to do week in week out. Especially hearing of him watching the game in the Holte when he was injured and getting in trouble with the gaffer for it.
Paul Merson - we really need another entertaining creative midfielder like him again soon.
Dion Dublin - coming back from the broken neck, advising calm against the blose and then getting sent of for the Glasgow Kiss !
7 - Which player do you think was the worst to ever put on the team colours?
Did Bosko Balaban pull on the colours at any stage - I actually blame the manager more than him.
8 - What is the best goal you have seen Villa score and which is your favourite game?
Cahill v Blues probably followed by the 2nd against Chelsea last season at home, we just showed what we can do with confidence.
9 - Best away ground visited?
Not visited any with the Villa apart from a couple of League of Ireland grounds and they are very basic.
10 - Who would you like to see Villa sign this summer?
Boruc would be worth every penny
Bentley if MON can sort his attitude out
Henry or Gudjohnsen
A good young keeper like Joe Hart or Ben Foster or Brad Guzan
Van Der Vaart
and another 4 or 5 squad players :D
Me - but at 32 and out of practice I don't think this will solve the keeping crisis
11 - What are your predictions for us this season in the:
a) League 6th or 7th in the league unless we really spend big and unveil a few shock big names.
b) Europe Intertoto win and probably scrape past the group stage in the UEFA cup into the knockouts.
c) Carling Cup Carling Cup semi-final
d) Fa Cup Fa Cup - 6th round unless we get Utd again.
12 - What is your opinion of Martin O'Neill?
A great emotional manager who seems to great at man-managing. I get exhausted just watching him on the touchline. In transfer situations I believe he thinks any money he spends in the transfer window is out of his own pocket - maybe Randy should remind him that he signs the cheques. I hope he proves us all wrong in this during this transfer window.
13 - What is your opinion of Randy Lerner and the new board?
As i held a solitary share prior to the take over I was very impressed by the way the takeover was handled. Great work off the field with Bodymoor Heath, Villa Park refurbishment and The Holte especially as it won't ever recoup the cost spent on it. Would like the next project to be big spending on the pitch, not sure whether the delay is from lack of funds or MON's hesitance to spend but hopefully this hurdle will be overcome quickly. Have to have a special mention of praise for the General - what a guy nice to hear some things from behind the scenes at the Villa instead of the self propaganda fairy tales from Unkie Herb.
14 - Where do you sit at Villa and are you a season ticket holder?
No I'm not a season ticket. If I win the Lotto I would alright as I would need it for the airfares each week - and finding some expensive hobby to keep the missus occupied while I commuted to games :S
15 - And finally (stolen without shame from Vital Arsenal!) if you could invite 4 people connected to Villa, living or dead, to a dinner party, who would they be? And you can add one bit of top totty as well to make the party go with a 'bang' ;o)
Martin O'Neill , Randy or The General, Ian Taylor & Paul Merson. I would happily settle for Kiera Knightly, Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johnanson and Natalie Imbruglia serving each course :D
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With thanks to V1llianous