Vital Villan Interview: Murph
Well back in the olden days, I was actually quite patriotic to the land of my birth. Fortunately I saw sense and now align myself to where my family history lies. My favourite footballer was Dean Saunders, and he was Villa. Once upon a time he featured in an article in Match! Magazine alongside Dalian Atkinson and the rest is history.
Thank goodness really, have you seen where Newport County are these days?
2) Best moment/moments as a Villa fan?
Well I`m young enough not to have been alive when Villa triumphed in 82, so for me it`s the 94 and 96 league cup wins, especially the former. I don`t think I`ve ever been as active following 7 seasons of hockey and the occasionally game of football, as I was when Dalian passed one with the outside of his boot past the (now sadly departed) Les Sealey.
3) Worst moment/moments as a Villa fan?
Best moment whilst I`ve been at the ground, Hitz`s equaliser against West Brom, followed by Juan Pablo Angel`s goal against Bolton where he simply strolled up to it, and side-footed it into the top corner.
Worst, going to a Villa/Blues derby and seeing us lose AND having to sit near Mike Field.
4) Best and worst away ground visited?
I`ve only been to two, so in order. Best: City of Manchester Stadium (apart from the Singha beer is far too expensive.) Worst, but yet best day out, the JJB. It`s an awful away stand, yet the people and the experience made the trip, both times.
5) What did you think of last season? Good, bad or indifferent and do you think we progressed?
My views are pretty well documented in the forums (you`ll need to look hard since I disappeared) however if I was to look at things overall now, with less beer inside of me and a bit of a clearly outlook on life, I would say not bad. MON`s reluctance to really strengthen, and in all honesty, pig-headedness in not playing players (I.e. a left back at left back, who turned out to be ok when MON gave in) perhaps cost us. It was too much of a David O`Leary "well it might still work out ok."
We simply ran out of ideas, as teams turned up at Villa Park and daren`t try to attack. We were so good at the counter, the opposition didn`t bother, and waited for us to find that creative spark that we rarely found since the start of 2009.
6) Which player/s should Villa sign this summer? And do you think Villa will spend enough this summer to progress?
Downing would be a good signing ;o). Oh and re-signing Salifou.
On a serious note now, I think a Distin or an Upson to shore up the defence, and I do still think we need something a little more creative upfront. At the moment we are relying on Carew with his iffy back, Heskey with his iffy ability, and Gabby who within 3-5 years in my opinion, will be looking as poo-scared as Darius did, when he arrives in Turkey to really signal the end of his career as a viable English footballer.
If he could stay injury-free for more than 5 minutes, I have to go with Dean Ashton. He has skill, at least had pace, he`s a strong bugger, and I think he has the ability to still be an England regular.
Him and er, whoever Man City can`t get, will there be anyone left
7) What do you expect next season?
Premier League: Europa Cup at best, we`re vastly outspent by City, once Everton sell Lescott to City they`ll be punching in our weight transfer wise, and I do expect once Harry has finally woken up, he`ll be doing some cute business.
FA Cup: I`ll happily give up hating MON to see him lift this trophy.
Europa League: It`d be nice, but I fully expect us to bin it mid-season again.
Carling Cup: First team, all the way, lets see some silverware!
8) Your opinion on Martin O'Neill now he is approaching his 4th season in charge?
If he continues down the route he`s gone, I`m going to end up quite confused by it all. Downing could be an absolute steal at £12 million, assuming he`s fit before 2010. Some of the other transfer signings, say Delph (who I`m still not sure on), Tuncay, Distin and a n other or two, would perhaps suggest he`s finally worked out the transfer window.
His tactics still confuse, I think he dithers far too much, and quite frankly I think we could do far far better.
HOWEVER I will happily support him all the way this season (even if I do have a go) and would love to see him, as mentioned before, lifting a trophy this season.
9) Your opinion on Randy Lerner and his board?
Nice pub, nice steps, nice refurbs, great. I still think they push the PR randomly in the wrong directions and expect none of us to question, but hey if we get a free flag out of it?
Financially he`s now even smaller fry than he was when he entered, but I expect, or at least hope we`ll build sensibly. Once the top 4+1 bugger off to form their sooper franchise league, we`ll be the top dogs in England.
10) Favourite current player?
Sali…no I can`t bring myself to say it to be honest. Favourite player was Young until he suddenly started wearing roller-skates to play in. I`ve gotta say Stan.
11) Favourite former player/s?
Erik Bakke, Oyvind Leoh…Lee..Leon…er.
Anyway, Saunders, Atkinson, Taylor, McGrath, and much maligned, Juan Pablo Angel.
12) What did you make of the Gareth Barry exit?
He`s got nothing more than a money-bags tag now Rafa had his whinge. The very fact that Gareth is having to constantly deny it will soon wear him down. I don`t expect him to feature as much as he thinks.
Bigger players than him however have joined the "project" (favoured word of the media, when it was Chelsea it was suggested it was just wrong, but this is a project so that`s ok.)
He probably has largely gone for the fact he can now afford 2 Bentley`s a week, rather than one, fair play. We seemingly can`t get the funds together for David Bentley. Part of me does wonder if, had we shown more ambition, he`d have shunned so much extra dosh.
13) Right, lets lower the tone... which celebrity would you most like to bang?!
I have a choice? Didn`t realise that was part of my Vital Villa co-ed contract, must re-read that!
Based on a few recent pictures I`d maybe say Fearne Cotton, on one condition, she didn`t speak because she`s bloody irritating.
Well, thanks me, that was great! Standby preview fans, I`ll be back well and truly tomorrow as the Villa pre-season kicks off!