Vital Villan Interviews: The Fear!
1 - How long have you been a Villa fan and how did you first get the Claret & Blue faith?
Birth, it was either that or be killed by my dad, simple choice really!
2 - What was your first game?
1977 (I think), went with my dad and brother and sat in the upper Trinity, the old lovely stand, was 8 and I can still remember the excitement and sounds (the old trinity upper was great, when people stamped their feet the wood used to make a superb noise. Also the chap next to me was shouting so loudly that his false teeth fell out. I'd never seen anything like it! It was against Everton, can't remember the players but we went 1 up and ended up losing 2-1. Still, although in those days my dad worked 6 day weeks so could rarely take us, I was sold!
3 - What is your most memorable moment as a Villa fan?
Playing subuteo as preparation for THE final and then that shin at the end. My dad nearly had a cardiac arrest! Most memories of Villa are great ones though, even the awful protests etc did have their funny or interesting moments. I just love the vibe. Probably the most memorable was going to watch Villa play on New Years day v Blackburn (think) in 1994 just 5 days before a brain op. It was against doctors orders but I just thought sod it, it might have been my last so I might just as well have gone. It was a rubbish game if memory serves me right as well, which in fairness, it probably doesn't. I also remember a game against Southampton years ago when it was so foggy you could see virtually nothing, it then started raining and slowly but surely everyone in the Trinity lower started moving back to the shelter. Funny how some things stick in the old mind eh?! Oh and then was the time a steward told me to stop banging the hoardings in support of Villa, that went down well and I never saw him again!!!!!!!!
Oh, and taking a call from Graham Taylor and Randy Lerner were memorable as was meeting The General and getting to know Dennis Mortimer. Oh my lord, now I've just remembered THE memory of being a Villa fan. Can't believe I nearly missed this one out. The last game of the season before last v Sheffield United, the team of 82 paraded around the ground (we all had those scarves and the atmosphere was electric as anyone who was there will remember) anyway, Dennis and the team had their photo taken near the dug out and then he walked off the pitch to bring the cup over and have a chat, shake my hand. Said he wanted to do something special for me. I am a bloke, I don't cry, but feck me I was choked that he would have thought to do that. Still, he is a true gent and a top class bloke. Most of us Villans are aren't we?
4 - And the worst moment?
Won't mention the score or team but a certain throw in that went into our own net wasn't the greatest moment.
5 - Who are your favourite current Villa players?
Well, I would have said Gareth Barry as I think he's been a trooper for us, but looks like that has gone now. Ashley Young could be a great and Martin Laursen is truly world class. Also keen to see how Wayne Routledge does for us, he could be a class addition for a bargain price.
6 - Which former player/s are your ultimate heroes?
Soooo many. I loved Yorke, the team of 82 are so very special, Paul McGrath, Andy Townsend was also a favourite, sod it, 99% of those who put on the claret and blue!
7 - Which player do you think was the worst to ever put on the team colours?
Sasa Curcic was a bit of a joke wasn't he?! Not too keen on naming bad players, they've all played a part in our claret and blue history one way or the other!
8 - What is the best goal you have seen Villa score and which is your favourite game?
Savo Milosovic's Wembley goal was one of the best goals ever scored at a Wembley Final. Dalian Atkinson's v Wimbledon and Stiliyan Petrov's last season was superb also. And you can't leave out THE goal can you, is it? It is. Peter Withe.
Favourite game, not sure, all of them I guess! I didn't attend Rotterdam but obviously that was the ultimate. Good game or bad I usually have a laugh down at Villa Park.
9 - Best away ground visited?
Edgeley Park (Stockport County) started going with a mate last season and love it, real football, real people and great beer. Old Trafford is also special, can't beat going somewhere where you can have some lovely peace and quiet.
10 - Who would you like to see Villa sign this summer?
James Milner or David Bentley + we must get another striker. There again, we also need a goalkeeper or two, a right-back, another midfielder... and then some more! Thierry Henry would do I guess...! We need a wow player in my ever so humble opinion.
11 - What are your predictions for us this season in the:
a) League Depends on signings, my fear at the moment without the above signings is we'll slip a couple of places to 8th. Buy right and we could be top five.
b) Europe groups stages, maybe 1/4 finals.
c) Carling Cup 1/4 finals.
d) Fa Cup Who knows, the FA Cup has magic and anything can happen as long as that dreaded draw is kinder than it has been in recent years. Maybe this year we'll BEAT Man Utd in the 3rd round.
12 - What is your opinion of Martin O'Neill?
I am split. His transfer dealings are hesitant and disorganised and the long ball tactics we seem to resort to at times in panic are awful. The Clough era is over, it won't work in the modern game and he can't replicate what he did at Leicester City. BUT then there are 'those' games when we play it on the floor, pass it about crisply and look like we can match anyone. Will be more decisive about it at the end of this season, have said all along you can't judge the vision until at least the 3rd season and that is the point we are at! I REALLY want him to be 'it' but refuse to go with the hype surrounding him, I want to see the squad built to where it should be and if he can do that this summer, we could be real contenders. I know people hate hearing it as most of us disliked David O'Leary, but he also got us to 6th. It is getting above that which will prove a manager and with the right signings last summer, we had the chance to be 4th.
Loving the ride though and don't want a manager merry go round. MON knows he has a big job and a lot to prove, hopefully by the 5th season he'll have proved everything he needs to! I'm convinced if he thinks he can't do it he'll be off, he won't need anyone else telling him.
13 - What is your opinion of Randy Lerner and the new board?
Quality. After years of protests it is such a breath of fresh air to not have the politics involved and more importantly for me (personally) not to be involved in all that any longer. He is also a gent, the cream of the crop as foreign owners go (from the horses mouth so to speak as one of the chaps involved in our takeover along with many others like Chelsea, West Ham, Man City etc, said without doubt we had the best). Excited to see what this period of our history brings, just find it ironic that we now have a chairman looking to spend and a manager seemingly slightly unwilling to spend, it is a total turn around from what we had before!
14 - Where do you sit at Villa and are you a season ticket holder?
Trinity Lower, by the dug out on the Villa side, front row. I am there to give useful advice to the managers, referee and players. My services are free and I'm quite sure (un)appreciated.
15 - And finally 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)
A dinner party? Who asked this stupid question? Surely a party is sex and drugs and rock n roll, or was that just Ian Drury?!?! :o) Would be interesting to sit down with Dennis Mortimer, Randy Lerner, John Gregory and William McGregor. The General would also have to come (I know it says 4 but if he gatecrashed, seriously would you try to stop him? I tell you what, when he shakes your hand he nearly rips it off!) and so would Randy's right hand man Paul Faulkner who is a good guy.
Totty? Hey, how about Nicky Whelan
to play with my balls. (Sorry!)
With thanks to ME, I'm ace. Fair enough only I think that, but you have to start somewhere.
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