Vital Villa Interviews 2012: Mike Field
1) When did you become a Villa fan and why?
Having a quick look back to the last one of these I did, I could barely remember outside of it being the days of Platty, God, Daley and GT. Sadly my memory is no better now.
First game (I remember) was Trabzonspor - nothing like VP at night - although recently digging through my memorabilia and the like I do have programmes from before then, so I'm blaming my senility. There's no way I was drinking at VP back then, so I can't blame it on that :-)
2) Paul Lambert? Your opinion please?
Absolutely delighted. Not only the right type of appointment that we needed, but I certainly think the right man for the job. I've been banging on about getting somebody in who could build a legacy and change the whole ethos of the club on the pitch and Lambert more than fits that bill.
I still have a hankering for Ian Holloway simply because of the joy of his press conference, but if Lambert's Messi crack is anything to go off all will be right in the world.
As long as he's backed sensibly now, and we get rid of the deadwood and those who care more about themselves than actually putting in performances, we should see a good improvement in both entertainment on the pitch but also in moving up the table. I'm not expecting him to tear up trees next season as he has a lot of work to do, but take the cups seriously and maybe in 12 months time have the foundations laid for a genuine stab at Europe again and I'll be more than happy.
3) Best and worst moments of last season?
There was a last season? Sorry chaps I'm pleading the fifth there, I have no recollection of inhaling memories from the alleged 'last season' that you refer to.
Worst moment, hearing about Stan's illness to be honest. Perspective in football doesn't happen often, and that was very sobering. I suppose in the same way for best moment, the reactions from not only Villans, but the football and wider world, in coming together to support and drive on key charities was also very humbling to see. The football community at it's best in many ways.
4) Your opinion of Randy Lerner and the board, can a decent season next season make up for last season?
I said last time around still happy because I didn't believe they had made any real mistakes. Despite not being convinced McLeish was the man for us or the man to push us on, I never expected it to be as bad as it was, and Houllier and McLeish for various reasons have to go down as Eck ups on the pitch.
Removing Eck from the post so quickly, and appointing a man the majority of fans clearly wanted has gone a long way to repairing bridges if you look at the posts on the forum and the frontpage.
McLeish was a massive mistake in hindsight, and still a pretty bad mistake PR wise for many.
I'd have to say I'm pretty happy but unlike a lot of fans I take a lot of notice of what goes on off the pitch and in those regards they haven't made any mistakes. Two years of Houllier and Eck though has strained that, even for somebody like me.
It had to be right at the third time of trying. No good being fantastic off the pitch, if the price is the last two seasons. Next season they have to keep getting it right off the pitch, but they have to give Lambert everything he thinks he needs to get it right on the pitch, even if it means cancelling some players' contracts and taking that hit.
What we do off the pitch pales in comparison to on the pitch, so as we all know, get that right and fans will be happy. On a variety of issues last season, Randy and the board have no excuses again for playing a part in alienating the fanbase like they did. Maybe it was an unexpected and harsh lesson, but they have to learn from it and I trust they have.
I think a lot can be taken by Faulkner's initial managerial search press release. Fans had been asking all season for a strong message from the top and we really didn't get one. Paul's comments about the boxes the new manager had to tick, was spot on, and epitomised the message fans' wanted to hear following McLeish.
If they follow in that vain, and Lambert gives us hope during 90 minutes, few will be arguing.
5) Which player/s should Villa sign this summer?
Lambert is spot on, Messi, Xavi and Iniesta. Can't fault the logic there!
As I keep saying, probably to most members' annoyance, we need to start scalping the best potential talent from the lower leagues instead of looking towards journeymen, players with no sell on value, players looking for their final hurrah on a pay day or players simply designed to give us a boost for 1-2 seasons. It's not so bad picking up that type if they are 500K signings or freebies, but spending the money we have in the past on players of that ilk has to be over.
There are plenty of players who could improve us once bedded in that, yes, would be hefty investments now if we bandy around the names like Zaha, Rhodes, Clyne, Rodriguez and the other flavours of the month, but we really need to get our scouting spot on so we notice them and can do deals (even including loaning back for 12-24 months) before the press pick up on them.
Not all will work out, but surely that's a better way of going than paying over the odds for what are effectively squad players.
6) Which player/s should Villa get rid of this summer?
Our back four. I'd much rather line up Stevens, Clark, Baker, Lichaj than see those serial offenders turn out in our shirt again - the performances would probably be better aswell!
I'd give everyone else another chance to get back to form, or show further development when it comes to the youngsters - well the under 22's. Any of the next generation who in training don't instantly force themselves into Lambert's preferred first XI need to be loaned out ASAP to get them game time.
Going to be a big season for all of our players, as they will have to impress and show previous form issues have been playing style related and not dedication related.
7) Favourite current player?
Clark, Herd, Lichaj, Ireland, Given, Bannan based purely on effort shown last season.
8) Favourite all time player/s?
God. Then we're into Cowans, Teale, Taylor, Bozzie etc. Nobody recently has really shown enough to be elavated into my greatest Villan's list, but I do believe we have a few at the club who could go on to claim that status if they keep grounded, and work hard.
9) What do you expect us to do/finish this season assuming a decent transfer window with £25m or so spent?
I said somewhere there has to be a difference between our ambitions, which absolutely should always be a European finish or higher, and two good Cup runs, and then expectations for the season.
Next season I'd take a midtable finish in the league with us slowly developing a more fluid and entertaining style of play. I'd also be happy with one reasonable Cup run, but I'd like to see Lambert admit upfront which Cup is less high on his priority list and where he throws the youngsters with a smattering from the reserves into the deep end to see how they do.
10) You can ask yourself any question you want to about Villa and what is your answer?
I've moved on from Doris this year, so my question would be, after all these years of writing about Villa does anybody still listen to me?
Not Ecking likely would be my answer, and more importantly I couldn't blame them!
11) Just to change the theme slightly, a snap shot of you outside of football, answer or ignore at your leisure:
(based on our WHO ARE YOU thread!!!)
a) Which celebrity/s would you most like to meet and why? Nobody really, those who have achieved something in terms of music or acting are probably dullards when the camera isn't on, or wouldn't live up to expectations, leaving only the curious beasts that are celebrities because they get their tits out, or want to act like idiots on so called reality shows. I think I'd rather slam my todger in a steel door than breath the same air as many of them.
b) Age Yes I have one. Either 32 or 33, I might even be 34, I haven't been able to remember since I was about 27 and there's no way I'd pass for 27 anymore unfortunately. I like my birthday's to be a surprise.
c) Location: Frontroom, outside Tamworth, outside Birmingham but inside England.
d) Favourite alcoholic drink: Carling, and when more flush any real ale.
e) Favourite non-alcoholic drink: Coffee, it's the only thing that wakes me up.
f) Favourite Film/s: Way too many to list. Schindlers (slightly p) List, Shawshank, Caddyshack, Stripes, Monty Python, Dogma etc
g) Favourite TV Show/s: Frasier, Star Trek, Cheers, Soprano's, Bones - depends what I'm enjoying most when it's on really.
h) Music?: I've got everything from Classical, through to Deep Purple, Clapton, Beatles, Motown, Jazz, Cranberries, Sex Pistols, Bone Thugs & Harmony, Counting Crows, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead. Something for every occasion and mood
i) Best ever moment in your life: Can't believe nobody has said losing your virginity? Yeah got to be a soppy here, birth of two daughters, nothing else comes close.
j) Ambitions: I'm concentrating on the ones I won't achieve because then it won't be a disappointment.
k) Wise words: All out at the moment, I'll get back to you when I think of something.
now your turn, how to submit an interview: click here
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