Vital Villan Interviews: H
1) When did you become a Villa fan and why?
I became interested in football in 1986, at a time when English football was mostly dominated by Everton and Liverpool. I very nearly became an Evertonian but thankfully my dad and brother, who were (and still are) Villa season ticket holders took me to my first Villa game and saved me. So I guess the “why” is purely a family reason.
2) Best moment/moments as a Villa fan?
Best moments were the League Cup finals against Manchester United and Leeds, although I have to say I have very little memory of the Leeds trip for some reason!! Also, a great day that will remain in my memory is when we went to Norwich on the last day of the season and Crystal Palace lost, meaning we stayed up. Relief wasn’t the word.
And witnessing 'the Dalian Atkinson goal' was pretty good too.
3) Worst moment/moments as a Villa fan?
Worst moment would probably be our performance (or lack of) in the FA Cup Final against Chelsea.
4) Best and worst away ground visited?
Best – used to be Highbury but now the Emirates.
Worst – Notts County simply because it was so bloody windy!
5) What did you think of last season? Good, bad or indifferent and do you think we progressed?
The first half of the season was very entertaining, very enjoyable and yes, I think the progress was there for all to see. Unfortunately, our season more or less ended when we lost Laursen, the defence fell apart, Friedel just hasn’t been the goalkeeper he was at Blackburn and then with John Carew being out for so long as well, we really struggled.
I think there has been progress and I think there will continue to be progress. Unfortunately, slow and steady progress sometimes results in impatience and disgruntled supporters. My own opinion is that slow and steady progress and improvements and additions to the squad is much more preferable to trying to buy the league title in one season.
6) Which player/s should Villa sign this summer? And do you think Villa will spend enough this summer to progress?
Lescott and Hangeland would be very decent signings. I think we need a proven goal scorer to give Gabby some competition as well as someone for him to learn from, I’d even be happy with Michael Owen for a season or two. Tevez would be equally as welcome!! I’m still not convinced about our goalkeeping situation either.
I hope we’ll spend enough – I do wonder if perhaps people are a little unrealistic about exactly who we will sign though. It’s a bit of a vicious circle I’m afraid. We need world class players to break into the top four; we need to break into the top four to attract world class players. Being there or thereabouts and qualifying for Europe will certainly help our situation but I still don’t think we can expect real big name foreign players to sign for us just yet.
7) What do you expect next season?
Premier League: 5th
FA Cup: Quarter-final
Europa League: Very hard to predict until we know who our signings will be. As it currently stands, I think we’ll struggle through a couple of rounds, beat a high profile side convincingly and then get knocked out by someone crap.
Carling Cup: Semi-final
8) Your opinion on Martin O'Neill now he is approaching his 4th season in charge?
I think Martin O’Neill and David Moyes would be classed as the most sought after managers in the Premier League. Compared with the state of the club when he took over, I think he’s made massive improvements and will continue to do so. I think it’s a great pity that people aren’t prepared to give him the chance and instead spend their time pointing out the mistakes he’s made, which I’m sure he’s well aware of himself. If we’d finished fourth, I’m sure some people would still be saying we should have finished third!
9) Your opinion on Randy Lerner and his board?
Couldn’t be better. We’re very, very lucky to have them and I hope they’re here to stay for a very long time. I particularly love the way they go about everything so quietly and discreetly without publicity and attention.
10) Favourite current player?
Whilst he’s still a Villa player, I’d have to say Gareth Barry. But if/when he leaves, it would be a choice between Ashley Young and John Carew, and as there is a slight risk that John Carew might also be on his way, I’ll go with Ashley Young.
11) Favourite former player/s?
The obvious is Paul McGrath. There’s also Gareth Barry, Dwight Yorke, Paul Birch, Alan McInally, Andy Townsend, Shaun Teale, too many to mention really!
12) Gareth Barry, will he stay or go and do you care?
I really, really hope he stays but I don’t think he will. I was convinced he’d go to Liverpool, now I more think he’ll go to Arsenal, and yes, I do care, very much. I think he’s irreplaceable and we’ll miss him more than we would any other player.
13) Right, lets lower the tone... which celebrity would you most like to bang?!
Sean Bean please.
With thanks H
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