Vital Villa Interviews 2012: Villa_Grizzly
1) When did you become a Villa fan and why?
I was born in 1974. The youngest child of six by some years. I grew up to the sound of competing stereos, in love with music. I remember my older sisters shared a record player. As a young child I would sit and go through their singles collection. My first recollection of the name Aston Villa was my awareness of it, scribbled onto onto plain white single sleeves of records by such luminaries as Gary Newman and Leo Sayer.
In the room next door my elder brother had a round mirror. It had what I believed to be a red dragon on it encircled by the words Aston Villa. He was often away with the army on tour. My other brother Jim ‒whilst bouncing on the bed one day‒ performed a Bruce Lee strike for the benefit of said mirror and, of course, put his hand through the bedroom window, the impact of which sent the mirror crashing from the wall. The breaking of the mirror caused as much hoohaah as the smashing of the bedroom window. I started to think that whoever Aston Villa were they had to be important for the breaking of the dragon mirror to get up everyone's nose. Being an incredibly loyal person I decided somewhere in my childish brain that whoever Aston Villa were, they needed my support.
My first ever trip to Villa Park was a friends 12th birthday during my first year at senior school. It was a league cup came against Spurs back when we were in the old Division 2. I remember walking up the steps to the Holte End and thinking WOW when I saw the pitch and the inner sanctum. We won the game and I took that incredible feeling home with me, never wanting it to slip away. I was utterly hooked after that and went to a lot of games in what was my first season. Since then‒ Aston Villa for life.
2) Paul Lambert? Your opinion please?
He did an incredible job at Norwich. He is also a highly informed and intelligent man with continental experience from his time playing with Dortmund. There's a lot there to excite us though after last season, a bag of flour and some onion rings would probably have me out of my seat. All in all, like most Villa fans I'm happily optimistic. I will say one thing for him: He seems to do good with yellow though will he do well with lime? We'll have to wait and see.
3) Best and worst moments of last season?
In footballing terms it has to be the Wigan away game. This was the moment for me when I really thought to myself‒ We are in big trouble here. The seal on something broke and the crowd really turned on McLeish. It was a collective bombardment, aimed down at the hapless Scott who took it on the chin. Benty then did his ankle on their rugby pitch and put himself out for the season. Both our full backs looked pitiful, with Moses killing us down the left. Sadly, Gabby by this stage didn't know if he was a winger, a striker or a milkman. Also, our centre backs had clearly adopted a hoof and lob policy which pained me to watch. Oh, and by then I'd just about had it with Granty innocuously pointing at things and talking in a loud voice as though he knew what was going on. It was a pretty ugly time after that with the club slugging it out down the bottom of the league, hanging on to their life saving goal difference with narrow defeats and scrappy draws. The football was as ugly as your Grandpa's gums.
The best moments? I think there are three. Firstly, the streaker at the Man City home game. Had me and the wife in stitches; his camel bag swinging out there in the cold as he evaded tackle after tackle. The best bit of movement we'd seen all afternoon. Well done lad for brightening up a miserable, freezing cold day. Secondly, Lichaj's tackle on Ryo Miyaichi during the Bolton home game. Eric put in a great performance. Sometime during the second half, 20 or so yards from our goal, the American international introduced the little fella to the advertising boarding via mid air. It was never a foul. Eric sprang back to his feet and was back in position for the throw in before the ref had even blown for the free kick. Miyaichi knew he'd taken a hit. I thought, welcome to Villa Park Son and can we have some more of that fight please boys. I felt we had a found a quality fullback.
Finally, Weimann's goal against Stoke. What a finish. The boy looks good.
4) Your opinion of Randy Lerner and the board, can a decent season next season make up for last season?
The divinity of Christ could not make up for last season.
A season lost; one which cost us all a lot in terms of heart and money. We went from 'going through a transitional period' to the newfangled 'transitional season.' Ridiculous. Are we letting whole seasons go by now then? One cynical hypotheses would be that this was a Machiavellian move to appoint an unpopular 'prince' whilst painful and impacting changes were made in financial terms. Now McLeish has been booted out, everyone looks heroic. The monster has gone‒ long live the king. However, the club sailed very close to the bone with the McLeish appointment, failing to understand the deep history of the club, our rivalry with the Sty, displaying a palpable level of disrespect for their 'customer base' in doing so.
However, I can't blame McLeish for business and financial issues. The wage structure contributed to this as did the financial running of the club. I will put my hat on the table and say that Lerner needs to be more vocal and direct in his communications with the supporters. Supporters though, that question the Chairman's commitment to our beloved club, need to take a long hard look at how much cash this fine yank has pumped into Aston Villa Football Club.
In short: if we march into Europe with Lambert, the 2011-12 will always be lost‒ its memory poison to anyone with Claret and Blue blood.
5) Which player/s should Villa sign this summer?
We need some new fullbacks so Chris Gunter and Kyle Naughton please. Balde would be a great signing upfront. If you watch or follow La Liga you'll know why. I hope this one comes off. I would absolutely love us to sign Alejandro Faurlin from QPR or Stuart Holden with Steven N'Zonzi as the holding midfielder. We obviously need an experienced new centre back as well. I think Clarke and Baker are the future though we need someone with class to nurture them in the next few season and that isn't Dunne or Collins for me.
6) Which player/s should Villa get rid of this summer?
Warnock Hutton, Dunne and Collins should be in the exit taxi along with Delfounso and Delph. We do have, as has been said, some outstanding young players and we have ‒again on paper‒ some exceptionally creative players (in Zog and Ireland) as well as great impact player in Agbonlahor. Lambert will hopefully push them all on and help Zog, Ireland and Gabby find a consistent level of form. We just need some gravity players in the spine of the team. Given is on the wane, we need an experienced quality centre back who doesn't like a beer, a midfield enforcer as well as a gifted target man up front.
Assembling a new spine will be no easy feat, particularly as we have just significantly cut the wage bill. We didn't do this to go and spend silly money all over again. Thankfully, the market should be more in the club's favour as outside of a handful of elite clubs everyone is tightening the belt. Nonetheless, quite a challenge lies ahead.
7) Favourite current player?
8) Favourite all time player/s?
McGrath, Platt and Angel. I did quite like little Alan Wright for a while
9) What do you expect us to do/finish this season assuming a decent transfer window with £25m or so spent?
Top half of the table with an explosive start to the season. I think we'll have a very good cup run in both or either cups.
10) You can ask yourself any question you want to about Villa and what is your answer?
Q: Why do you charge so much money for food and drink at the ground?
A: Because its a captive Market and besides, do you have any idea how much money we paid Heskey? Anyway, what are you going to do Grizz‒ bring a flask and some sandwiches?
A: Ur...yes actually, I am. Maybe a half-time chocolate bar as well. You can stick your Tetleys and your three quid chips thanks very much. And in future don't spend 60K a week on a striker your going to slap on the right wing and then maybe we can all get cheaper chips and a plastic bottle of fosters for under £2. Captive Market indeed. I'm made of carbon and water you know, not gold.
Q: Sauce with your chips, Grizzz
A: Please mate.
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? Al Pacino- I'd love to talk Shakespeare with Al. He's a big fan of the bard. Also, Christopher Nolan who is an outstanding director. I love comic books so I'd like to pick his brains about his Batman adaptations.
b) Age 37
c) Location: Bourneville
d) Favourite alcoholic drink: Jim Beam, splash of coke and two bits of ice.
e) Favourite non-alcoholic drink: Tea‒ I drink buckets of the stuff. Quite partial to Earl Grey and Peppermint for my dodgy bowels.
f) Favourite Film/s: So many..... Insomnia, Dogtooth, Saw, Goodfellas, Solaris, The Duellist, The Pianist, House of Flying Daggers, The Ninth Gate, Unbreakable, Starwars, Wings of Desire, Robocop, Jaws, District 9, Up In The Air...just to name a few. I also saw Prometheus the other day which was bloody brilliant.
I should add that I love theatre, particularly Shakespeare. Recently saw Julius Caesar at the RSC which was just brilliant. Johnson, from Peep Show (Shakespearean actor Paterson Joseph) played Brutus. Et Tu, Brute? Indeed mate.
g) Favourite TV Show/s: Hit and Miss, Game of Thrones, Mock The Week, The Sopranos, Prison Break, the X-Files, Peep Show, Deadliest Catch. (God Bless Captain Phil.) I watch a lot of documentaries.
h) Music?: Shall I be a nonce and say that I'm eclectic? Lol Well I'm a bit of a metal head. Recently back from (having survived) Download 2012 at Castle Donnington. I also listen to classical, blues, Jazz, dabble in rap and electronic also. I can listen to Iron Maiden or Machine Head one moment, switch to Bach's Cello Concertos or Chopin's Nocturnes then get drawn toward BB King (Indianola Mississippi seeds is a gem) or Nina Simone with some prodigy thrown in. When I'm 'out out' I like funk, soul, Detroit Motown and seventies disco for the dance floor though as I said, it would be fair to say I listen to tons of metal.
i) Best ever moment in your life: Professionally: becoming a qualified therapist. Feeling I'd arrived after years of study and frustration. That feeling that life makes sense. Personally: meeting that special someone, after feeling it might not happen.
j) Ambitions: To get published. I am currently working on my third novel. The first one taught me how not to write, the second one helped me to improve my writing and commit to the process.( It is part of a trilogy I am working on. I had some interest in that though it wasn't quite polished enough.) The third one is a paranormal crime affair, full of blood, balls and sarcasm that I'm about 150 pages into. I feel this has got more potential and I'm enjoying writing it as well as reading and studying about the mechanics of novel writing. The publishing industry is changing quite dramatically with the move to digital publishing so its brand new territory we are all trying to break into. Because of my writing and work I sit down a lot, so maybe I should aim to stand up and move around more.
k) Wise words: 'Before pointing out the spec in your Brothers eye take the log out of your own.'
An invitation for us to focus on our own issues and not on the faults of others. If we all did that I'm sure the world would be a better place.
now your turn, how to submit an interview: click here
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