Date: 18th September 2009 at 10:23am
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It’s interview time and we’ve got the Rugmeister from Vital Pompey to share his wisdom (he made me say that):

Bottom of the table after five defeat, so it might sound a daft question but are you happy with how your season is going so far?

Hmmm, of course I am, I could not be happier lol! In all seriousness, to be honest I think we have been unlucky in some games, but have been our own worse enemies in others – with Paul Hart, and some players very much to blame for some of the points dropped, and dropped points is what we have done in at least 2 games that we have almost thrown away in the last minute…

You appear to have to have made a few massive sales, can the manager really be expected to do anything about replacing them?

Yep ‘a few’… At the end of the day we had wildly, and I mean wildly overspent over the past few years – I think most, if not all of us, got caught up in this but once you sat and reflected on it you think how the hell did more of us not see this coming sooner? Although I guess you are meant to have faith in those that run your club to ‘run it within the means they have’, clearly we did not! The incomings clearly were not covering the outgoings, so the longer this went on the worse the debt became, and if this had been growing for several years when you are finally ‘found out’ you end up being up a certain creek, which ‘hopefully’ we are escaping before it got beyond repair.

So, after all that lot to answer the question, there is absolutely no way we could replace the vast majority of the players we have sold, well quality wise, not on our budget – but to be fair to those that have come in, even if most, if not all are below the quality of those before them the majority of those ‘stars’ stopped giving 100%, even 75%, maybe as little as 50% long before they were sold whereas those that have come in are, well it seems, always giving 100%. So, in many ways is that worth any less than a ‘superstar’, picking up a fortune, giving only half what he can?

Are the club fair to you price wise?

In all honesty, although season ticket holders like myself get money off the price we would pay – I forgot my saving, over £100 I think, we still had to commit in March or April I think it was? I love Pompey, but surely the club must have known what was going on player wise and who was going to go and who would come in? Do not get me wrong I have never been one of those that goes for the ‘star player’ appeal, but our reasoning for being the most expensive club outside of London was the fact that we had to help offset the ‘massive wages’ we were paying out…

Tickets have now been slashed for some games, which is a good thing as it gets more in that would not have been otherwise – so good for the club, and that is what we want but at the same time I think maybe I should have not renewed and just seen what happened? We certainly need a rethink on season ticket, and general match day ticket prices though next season or I might have to rethink myself, although I know I was always renewing for this season, as I almost certainly will next season, the one after that and so on whatever league we are in!

What I do know is we need to get our house in order as if the club are not careful they will completely alienate those that they cannot afford to – the genuine and loyal fans, some of which have already been alienated over the years…

Who has been your best summer signing and why?

We have not exactly made a lot of signings, ‘try before you buy’ seems to be our approach these days. Maybe not a bad thing. Although, and as mentioned, to be fair those that have come in do seem as though they will give it everything and some have a fair amount of quality about them. The best? Hmmm, he has only played the one game so far but Jamie O’Hara’s loan signing – which ‘should’ be extended in January until the end of the season – excited me and I still believe that we will sign him permanently.

What is going on with the takeover, I’ve totally lost the plot as an outsider, has it happened or not, if so is that a good thing, if not… well, is that a good thing?!

Who knows mate, who knows – a meeting that a couple of my co-eds attended last week ‘seems’ to suggest it has been done, with Al Fahim (or SAF, sometimes Dr SAF as we call him) appearing to have arranged some finance as well now? I just hope this is his own money being put in, or at least money that is not going to risk putting us in further trouble!

We are meant to be meeting with him next weekend, so here is hoping! But as far as I am concerned we have heard from Peter Storrie, now it is SAF’s turn, and I will listen to what he has to say but then I want actions to follow these words. For me it is not all about player investment – clearly we cannot do this now anyway – investing in our future and getting the infrastructure sorted should happen if he really does have some money now, oh and redevelop the poxy ground like we keep promising, or build the ‘new one,’ again that has been some 40-years in the promising…

What are your expectations, or hopes for this season?

Expectations? I do not really have any purely hopes… I had hoped for a ‘scandal, hassle free season,’ which is already too late so now I just hope that we can avoid the drop! Christ only knows what we happen to us if we go down, but I seriously fear for us if we do as it is not as easy as ‘we go down, regroup and then come back’.

What about Villa, what do you think we should expect or hope for?

You seem to be building nicely, so you should expect a top 6 finish – depending on how it is looking in January, which could mean more investment, maybe pushing the top 4 close again would not be out of reach? A club of your size and stature should be among the top 6 year-in-year-out. I would also a good cup run or cup runs would be important too – I think you do need some silverware though, not that I am saying trigger fingers will get itchy if Martin O’Neill does not deliver this.

Who is the danger man that Villa need to watch?

Younes Kaboul! It is a worry when you have a central defender down as your main danger but the guy has been fantastic this season, both as a defender and an attacking presence – his ability to leap is extraordinary, so if O’Hara gets the set-pieces right you had better watch him. My cousin and I were talking the other day and we both said that, and in all seriousness, we would be seriously tempted to play him as a striker at the moment as he looks our most threatening player coming forward!

If you could take any Villa player and put him in your squad who would it be and why?

I know you have loads and loads of quality players but we could do with a ‘proper’ left back so Nicky Shorey would not have gone amiss but I really like Stephen Warnock, but as much as this might come as a strange one I would go for young Nathan Delfouneso. We need someone who knows where the back of the net is and from what I have seen of him for Villa and England at U19 level this kid can score.

Anyone you would like to send to Villa?

We cannot afford to lose anymore, although anyone that is not 100% committed to the club, willing to give everything and help us battle like hell this season is not really of any use to us – so anyone that fits that bill I would happily be sent your way, or anyone else’s way for that matter…

Prediction time, who will win?

To be honest I do not expect a great deal, but I am also not one of these people that writes off a game, or accepts defeat before we even play – in fact I almost always predict a Pompey win home or away and whilst I might not believe it I will go for a 2-1 Pompey win! Give me a point now though and I will bite your arm off, in fact I am quite hungry as I type this on the train so I think I will anyway!

Sorry to have rambled on and on, best of luck for the rest of the season but please let it be, what 3 seasons in a row that we have not lost at Villa Park. If that is the case come 5pm on Saturday I will be more than happy as I travel home…

I got steff_the_villan to answer Pompey’s questions this week and he’s sure not let us down…! Click Here For His Genius