Vital Villan Interviews: Rawlie
1) When did you become a Villa fan and why?
My family on my Mum's side are all from Aston and I grew up in Erdington and Tamworth. All my mates were Villa fans so there was only going to be one team for me.
2) Best moment/moments as a Villa fan?
I was at Wembley for the 3-1 win over Manure in the League Cup and that was fantastic. The two matches with Inter at Villa Park in the UEFA Cup were amazing nights and Athletic Bilbao stands out because I made some good friends over the two matches.
3) Worst moment/moments as a Villa fan?
Losing to Man City 5-1 at home, damn that David White! Oh, and getting relegated in 1987 wasn't the best either!
4) Best and worst away ground visited?
Best - Hillsborough, Boundary Park and Goodison all have happy memories for me, while Highbury was probably the nicest ground of all.
Worst - Elland Road, Anfield and Selhurst Park. I hate Leeds and Liverpool for different reasons and I always used to get drenched watching us in South London against Wimbledon or Palace.
5) What did you think of last season? Good, bad or indifferent and do you think we progressed?
We had a great season up until February, but we came up short and finished where we did last season. I don't think there is any disgrace in that considering how bad we were before MON and Randy came. I think they've built a team of 14 good players but we don't have a squad that can take the strain when they are needed. Hopefully this summer we can get that!
6) Which player/s should Villa sign this summer? And do you think Villa will spend enough this summer to progress?
Owen. He won't play every week but he always scores and Gabby will benefit from training with him. Naughton looks likely as well as the lad from Leeds. I honestly hope we get a world class player that will make the rest of Europe sit up and take notice. Wagner Love looked class and would be in the 2nd bracket down (first being the David Villas, Torreses, Messis etc.) and should be on our radar at least.
7) What do you expect next season?
Premier League: 5th or 6th
FA Cup: Quarters
Europa League: Depends on the signings but hopefully the last 4
Carling Cup: I'd like a win!
8) Your opinion on Martin O'Neill now he is approaching his 4th season in charge?
No one better for the job. I think supporters underestimate how important a relationship of trust, respect and, probably, friendship is between Chairman and Manager. I think MON has bought into Randy's vision for the Villa and has invested in it emotionally. Tactically, he makes some odd decisions but you can't deny his record over his career and with us.
9) Your opinion on Randy Lerner and his board?
Fantastic! Their plans for the club are ambitious yet realistic and I honestly wouldn't want anyone else to run our great club. I trust Randy and the General 100% to do the right thing and I don't think we've been let down yet! More of the same please, guys!
10) Favourite current player?
Two actually. Petrov and Carew. Stan has come back from fans getting on his back, a dip in form and problems with the Bulgarian national team. When we signed him I was so excited and he was so explosive in that first game at West Ham. The next 18 months weren't the best by any stretch of the imagination but he came through it and his natural ability shines through in every match. He's definitely the most consistent performer we've got and has shown this season what he is made of.
JC is a paradox in many respects but I've wanted the guy at Villa since I saw him play for Valencia. Two good feet, quickish, wins an awful lot of ball and can score for fun. I read today that he puts Heskey down as the motivation for him performing at the end of the season, but I think that is a bit harsh. He was scoring for fun before he got injured and picked up where he left off when he came back. A hugely important player for us and one who loves the club and the fans. You can't ask for more than that!
11) Favourite former player/s?
Paul McGrath my lord goes without saying! Tony Daley was a boyhood hero, as was Gary Shaw, who I really wanted to be when I was a nipper but my Dad said I would be more like Peter Withe because I was pretty tall for my age! I did have the blonde hair though! Andy Townsend was a gentleman and a fine midfielder and I loved Paul Birch's commitment, honesty and work rate. Rest in peace, Paul!
Also, I hate to say this but, now, our Greatest of Danes, Martin Laursen. 3.5 million pounds bought some priceless performances, magnificent goals and immense leadership. Irreplaceable and in our thoughts. The best bit of business O'Leary's ever done.
12) Gareth Barry, will he stay or go and do you care?
I want him to stay as he could be an outright Villa legend. He blotted his copy book last summer and I no matter what happens I can't see it going down like it did a year ago. For me, he's redeemed himself enough that if he does go, I'll wish him all the best. It would be a shame though because he is a phenomenally gifted player, who has just got better over his career.
13) Right, lets lower the tone... which celebrity would you most like to bang?!
Maggie Q (google her!)
With thanks to Rawlie.
How to join in on the interviews: http://www.astonvilla.vitalfootball.co.uk/article