Vital Villan Interviews: AVFC4ME
1) When did you become a Villa fan and why?
I first got into football when I was in primary school around about 1986. I didn’t really know anything about footie but everyone else used to say they were either a Liverpool or Man Utd fan – so I used to say Liverpool as I knew no better! So for my 7th birthday my Dad took me to see Aston Villa Vs Liverpool at Villa Park. We sat in the upper Holte with the villa fans - not sure why Dad got Villa tickets not Liverpool ones but I absolutely loved it and I’ve been a villa fan ever since. I think the final score was 2-2 and I think Liverpool scored an own goal? Someone might remember better than me!!
2) Best moment/moments as a Villa fan?
My brother is a dirty Man Utd supporter (for his birthday my Dad took him to Man Utd Vs Leicester City – poor guy didn’t stand a chance…!) We both went to the coca-cola cup final at Wembley in 94 when Andrei Kancheskis tried to play goalie and we eventually won 3-1. I have lived off that victory for the last 15yrs, it’s been my comeback every time we’ve been beaten by Man Utd (which is a lot!!)
Also, my girlfriend and her entire family are avid Newcastle supporters so the last day of this season was BRILLIANT!!!
3) Worst moment/moments as a Villa fan?
Losing to Man Utd in the FA Cup 3rd round (every time!)
4) Best and worst away ground visited?
Best – I’ve only been to 6 or 7, but from the ones I’ve been to I would have to say Pride Park. A great view of the pitch from pretty much anywhere and a good atmosphere.
Worst – Bradford City Stadium! I lived in York at the time and my girlfriend had never been to a football match, so I got tickets to Bradford vs Villa and took her down. In hindsight that was a mistake! It was February and bitterly cold, poured with rain the whole time and there was no covering on the away stand. We got drenched to the skin, were freezing cold and I don’t think she enjoyed it that much!!!!!! Luckily we won 3-0 so I was happy!
5) What did you think of last season? Good, bad or indifferent and do you think we progressed?
At the beginning of the season there was a lot of hype about Villa and a lot of people were tipping us for a top 4 finish. At that point in time I said that as long as we qualify for a Uefa spot (or Europa now) then I’d be happy. As the season went on it seemed easily within our grasp to clinch a top 4 spot which would have been absolutely brilliant. As it happened our season took a turn of form and we finished just outside. I’m thoroughly disappointed that we didn’t manage it, but at the same time I have to look back to the beginning of the season and be more than happy with where we are. I’m disappointed with the decision to ‘deprioritise’ the match in Moscow but I can understand the reasons for it. If we’d have won the next few matches and secured 4th spot it would have been the greatest management decision ever, but as it happens I think it led to our ultimate demise. So in summary as a whole I am really pleased with the season, but disappointed because I started to believe the hype!!!
6) Which player/s should Villa sign this summer? And do you think Villa will spend enough this summer to progress?
I think the aim HAS to be a champions league spot next season and in order to achieve that we obviously need to do something about the depth and quality of the squad. First and foremost we need a classy central defender and a consistent striker. I’m nervous every time our current defenders are on the ball (particularly Knight and Cuellar) so we need some solidity in there before I have a heart attack! Up front we need a proven goal scorer. Whilst John and Gabby both have a lot to offer, I don’t think they can consistently perform for us and need to be fighting for their positions to keep on top of their games. Let’s get Tevez!
7) What do you expect next season?
Premier League: I’m optimistic – 4th
FA Cup: 3rd round exit to Man Utd
Europa League: I have to admit I haven’t actually read up on how it’s going to work so I can’t really answer this properly, but it really depends how we do in the transfer market as to whether we have the depth of squad to compete here and in the league.
Carling Cup: semi final
8) Your opinion on Martin O'Neill now he is approaching his 4th season in charge?
I think MON has gone about his job very well so far and support him 100%. He has clearly made some decisions which have backfired, but hopefully he has learnt from them and will be all the stronger for that this season. I really do think this season will make or break him, as the expectation from all of us is pretty high (and rightfully so).
9) Your opinion on Randy Lerner and his board?
Simply brilliant – a breath of fresh air. The best possible replacement for Doug Ellis. He’s given the manager the freedom to manage, and focussed in the right areas with regards to investing in youth/training facilities etc. Also with the charitable affiliation with Acorns it makes me proud to be a Villa fan.
10) Favourite current player?
I’d have to say Gareth Barry I think. He’s given us years of loyal service and gone from strength the strength.
11) Favourite former player/s?
So many! Always loved Dalian Atkinson ever since that wonder goal against Wimbledon in 1993. Nigel Spink was a brilliant goalie too.
12) Gareth Barry, will he stay or go and do you care?
I hope he will stay. Not least because if he does go it’s an additional gap we need to fill within the transfer window and we’ve got enough gaps to fill already!
13) Right, lets lower the tone... which celebrity would you most like to bang?! (Nicked from Vital Forest!)
With thanks to AVFC4ME
How to join in on the interviews: http://www.astonvilla.vitalfootball.co.uk/article