Vital Villan Mid Season Interview: Young Jonah
1) When did you become a Villa fan and why?
My dad would say at birth, but I think I really cared about Villa from 1993/94 season, I can remember the League Cup final and having the Premier League Sticker album. That was when I really started to get into Villa. 1994 was also my first year of being interested in football in general, watching Ireland in the World Cup, with all those Villa stars lining up for them.
2) What do you think of this season, do we have the chance to push on or will we slip up like last season?
Now this is a tough one for me, I have had my doubts about O’Neill for over a year now and my main criticism of him is not transfers but in fact his reluctance to rotate. My theory behind us capsizing last time round was the fact that he was unwilling to drop any of first eleven through what would prove to be one of the worst runs of form in the club’s history. I remember he dropped Agbonlahor to the bench for a game, but other than that we didn’t seem to rotate all that often, looking at it from another view it could be argued we didn’t have the squad. Well this season we do, to O’Neill’s credit he has improved the squad in the summer. When you look at the bench and we have Collins, Delph, Delfouneso and Carew sat on it, plus Reo-Coker, Beye and Sidwell (who on their day can do a job), it shows we have strength in depth.
So what is my point? My point is this season O’Neill has no excuse for playing the same 11-12 players week in week out IF we do have a dip in form, he now has a very strong group of players who can step up.
Do I think we can push on? Well I think we have a better chance than last season, but seeing Fabregas and Torres scoring the goals that dropped us from the top4 made me realise that we don’t have any individuals who can turn it on and win games for us in an instant. Agbonlahor and Young have their moments across a 38 game campaign but the likes of Fabregas and Torres do that almost every week, and for that reason I don’t think we are strong enough for the top4.
3) Best moment/s of this season so far?
Agbonlahor’s goal against Man Utd, and as a result the win at Old Trafford!! Being stood in a bar surrounded by plastic Mancs in Birmingham City Centre when the final whistle went off - priceless. One of the happiest moments in my Villa supporting life, Manure fans with brummie accents really grates me.
Special mention to Brad Guzan for saving just about every penalty he faces, never thought I would see a better keeper for saving penalties than Mark Bosnich, I was wrong. I love Guzan, he is going to be a great player for this club.
4) Worst moment/moments of this season so far?
Torres’ goal in the game over Christmas, I realised at that point that we are still are not quite good enough to break the top4, we were all over them and he changed that game in an instant, write Liverpool off at your peril, they are closing the gap.
5) Do you expect any arrivals this January (bearing in mind MON has indicated not) and IF you could bring in a player or two, who (realistically) would you go for?
I think we will see a couple leave, Harewood and possibly another fringe player. The transfer window is never active in January, we can dream of another Ashley Young and John Carew though. I was not expecting anything this window, and didn’t need MON to tell me that there won’t be any signings.
My only worry is up front, so if I could bring in a player (who is available and realistic), Benni McCarthy would be quite nice, but I think O’Neill is wanting Delfouneso to play more of a role this season and I am in full support of that. So in fact I am not too concerned if we don’t buy anyone.
6) Which player/s should Villa sign this summer? And do you think Villa will spend enough this summer to progress?
I think we will see Nigel Reo-Coker and John Carew leave in the summer, and I would like to see 2 maybe 3 brought in. I can see Robbie Keane replacing Carew, but we have been linked to him for 12 seasons so maybe I am just starting to believe the lazy journalism!?!
Who we would bring in to replace Nigel Reo-Coker, well that’s anyone’s guess. If I had to pick someone, I would quite like to see Jermaine Jenas or Scott Parker at Villa. Both of whom are realistic and would be capable of competing for a spot in midfield.
I think the pot is running dry, rumours of Randy Lerner getting divorced plus the recession lead me to believe that we won’t see any major transfers this summer, just a handful and I suspect they will be funded by transfers out of the club.
7) If we made the Carling Cup final, who would you most like to face Manchester United or Manchester City?
Manchester City, simply because it would be great to see Gareth Barry’s face if we won it!! I liked him and still hope he has a good career, I don’t consider him Judas. However, there can’t be a Villa fan in the world who wouldn’t like us to be successful and have him wondering why he left us.
8) What do you expect us to do/finish this season?
Premier League: 5th or 6th (Don’t believe we are quite as good as some of rivals for 4th)
FA Cup: Semi-finals
Carling Cup: Winners!!
9) Your opinion on Martin O'Neill now he is mid way through his 4th season in charge?
Tough one. As I type this I am trying really hard to articulate my opinion with coming across as too harsh or negative.
O’Neill is the best man for the job, I like Roy Hodgson and think he would do a cracking job here (and there are other realistic options should O’Neill leave anytime soon) but I have recently re-assessed what would make me happy as a fan, and that is to be a top6 club every year and to have good cup runs, both of which O’Neill is capable of and has done since taking charge. So I just think, if ain’t broken why fix it?
Now for my comment that might seem negative to some, I don’t think O’Neill is capable of taking us further than 5th or 6th. To break the top4 you need a top top player who can turn a game in an instant, all our rivals have them and so do the top clubs (Chelsea and Man Utd), I don’t believe O’Neill would want that sort of player at a club he managed and for that reason I don’t think we can ever break into the Champions League. However that is not necessarily a bad thing, I just want to see us doing well and 6th isn’t all that bad, especially if coupled with the odd cup or two.
O’Neill is a good manager, not a great one. But there are so few great managers (probably only 2 in the league) out there, so why trade O’Neill, a good manager for another good manager? So in conclusion, I am happy at the moment, I am not expecting great things but I think we will always be a good side with O’Neill and that is enough for me.
10) Your opinion on Randy Lerner and his board?
What makes me laugh is how so many fans believe we have an almost bottomless pit of money, I don’t think that is the case I think Randy is like most businessmen in the world, having to deal with a recession and is having to watch his spending carefully, and as such I don’t expect to see too much spending from him in the near future.
I really like Lerner’s approach, he lets the manager get on with it, he doesn’t meddle and he doesn’t seem to want to have his name in the papers and face on the TV. Too many chairmen want to give their opinions on everything and want to dictate to the manager which players they expect to see joining the club. I like the way Lerner runs that aspect of business, by letting O’Neill deal with footballing matters.
I think Lerner is a breath of fresh air when compared to Doug Ellis, he seems to be genuinely interested in what is best for the fans - coaches, flags, mosaics, fan-days etc.
Would I want some Arab spunking money left, right and centre? I am not sure I would, I am perfectly happy with Randy and his board, sure abit more investment would be nice but in the current climate I am not overly concerned.
11) Favourite current player?
James Milner, would run through walls, if only a few of the other regulars would put in as much effort as this lad then we would rarely lose.
Milner is a future Villa captain, and I hope he stays for many years to come.
12) Favourite former player/s?
A 23 year old Dwight Yorke in this side would score goals for fun. Best player I have ever seen in a Villa shirt, unlike many we could mention he said he wanted to and actually did leave us for a bigger club. Sure the manner he left wasn’t the nicest for the fans, and seemed like he flipping a finger to the club but I can’t erase my memories and they are of a fantastic striker.
13) Right, lets lower the tone... which celebrity would you most like to bang and which (male I would think) celeb would you most like to thump!?!
Rihanna is looking really hot these days so I wouldn’t mind a go on her, as for who I would want to thump………………….erm……………Michael McIntyre, just don’t get why the public love him. Pompous unfunny idiot if you ask me.
With thanks to Young Jonah
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