Vital Villa Interviews 2012: McGrath's Dodgy Knees
1) When did you become a Villa fan and why?
I was brought up in a non-football household (my dad is the only Geordie I know with no interest in footie) in Tamworth. I had flitted between teams before I went to watch Villa beat Oldham 2-0 in 1975, my first game with a friend and his dad. Ray Graydon, Brian Little and John Gidman just captured the glamour of football for me - and then a trophy and a couple of years later Andy Gray joined! It was the perfect time to become a fan; the football was fantastic and Villa looked like they would keep getting better. Even after losing Gidman and Gray we just got better. Then Ellis came back...
2) Paul Lambert? Your opinion please?
I'm very positive. To be honest after McLeish I'd have taken David Brent but this feels good. He gives the impression of someone interested in football - not just winning but how it's played and in the modern game I think that the style of football is going to become increasingly important. Villa won't win much so we should be entertained.
3) Best and worst moments of last season?
McLeish being sacked.
McLeish being appointed.
About six weeks to the end of the season I tried to cancel Sky Sports. I told them that watching Villa was actually making my life worse. They bribed me to stay with a year's free films. I'm still not sure it was worth it.
4) Your opinion of Randy Lerner and the board, can a decent season next season make up for last season?
I think Lerner is a pragmatic, rational owner and I would take him over Ellis anytime. However as he is intelligent I think he's seen that football has changed. When he bought the club the top four was realistic. Liverpool were fading and Arsenal were still paying off the new stadium. Bump one out and keep them out for two seasons while Villa got Champions League cash and they may never get a chance to reclaim a top four place. MON seemed the man to do that too. Lerner gambled, failed then Man City popped up just as Arsenal's finances started to pick up and the chance of a top for place seemed to disappear.
So now I'm deferring my judgment. I think a pragmatic owner should see that the Premiership is quite ordinary at the moment. Spurs and Newcastle almost both got in, so why not us? This season will show where Lerner is thinking of taking Villa. I just hope he still has ambition.
5) Which player/s should Villa sign this summer?
A new right back and defensive midfielder are essential. A new left back would be good. Get those in place and the spine of the team is strong. I've my own ideas of who I want, but more than these I want Lambert to surprise me. I want the next Shaun Teale or David Platt please.
6) Which player/s should Villa get rid of this summer?
Hutton and Collins on principle and Given if we can find better.
7) Favourite current player?
Gabby. He cares. He has talent and he makes things happen.
8) Favourite all time player/s?
Brian Little, John Gidman and Paul McGrath. Slot those three into the current team and we'd go places.
9) What do you expect us to do/finish this season assuming a decent transfer window with £25m or so spent?
Premier: With Lambert being more used to bargains and having a good eye for a player and with a good, underperforning squad waiting to be inspired I'm going for top 6. Remember there are a lot of erratic, mediocre clubs at the top of the Premiership all competing to throw away the chance of European football. With wise buys and hard work we could achieve that same level of erratic mediocrity.
FA Cup: Out second round away to Man U 2-0
Carling: Out second round away to Man U 3-0
10) You can ask yourself any question you want to about Villa and what is your answer?
What was it like watching Withe belt that goal in live in Rotterdam?(Answer: I don't think my knees have fully recovered I jumped so high)
And why didn't you swap shirts with that Bayern supporter? (Answer: I'd borrowed my brother's strip)
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? Julia Christie, Dara O'Brien and Gerard Houllier (I'd really love his views on Villa and where he wanted to take us)
b) Age 47
c) Location: London
d) Favourite alcoholic drink: A good red
e) Favourite non-alcoholic drink: Espresso. Preferably poured over ice cream
f) Favourite Film/s: It's a Wonderful Life, the good Bonds but to be honest I'm more of telly man.
g) Favourite TV Show/s: Game of Thrones, The classic Britcoms (Porridge, Fawlty, Blackadder etc), The Killing (Danish version)
h) Music?: I'm a Sandyback from the Seventies so I'm never going to get heavy metal out of my veins no matter how I try, but I'm partial to Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone. Of people who are actually alive: Eels, Manu Chao and Chuck Prophet
i) Best ever moment in your life: I've two wonderful sons and a beautiful wife. No way I can pick out one single moment (it was when that goal went in).
j) Ambitions: To learn the piano and retire into a camper van to tour Europe until I die.
k) Wise words: Do unto others as you would have others do to you.
now your turn, how to submit an interview: click here
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