Date: 12th March 2010 at 5:04pm
Written by:

Sir Dennis Of Mortimer Interview

Our archives are back and I’m taking full advantage! Our interview with Dennis Mortimer from May 2007.

Who has been your favourite player at Villa since you left and why? Not including Sid of course as you played with him. TuBBz

Not to sure I had a favourite player, but I did like watching Dean Saunders and Dwight Yorke. I remember playing with Dean when at Brighton and realised then that he could become a big player in the first division. I did recommend Dean to Graham Turner (Poor manager, one of Doug’s big mistakes) before he moved to Oxford for £60.000, for some reason he ignored my advice. Eventually Villa would pay a lot of money for Dean. Dean wasn’t just a good player, he was also a good guy to have around the club as well. Dwight reminded me of Brian Little, slight of frame, sharp around the box and clever off the ball.

Similar question to TuBBz but which Villa player since you left would you most liked to have played alongside? DudleyPhill

Two players come to mind, Paul Birch and Andy Townsend. Paul Birch was one of those unsung heroes producing consistent performances week after week. I liked Paul’s passing ability and his vision to pick out players with inch perfect accuracy. Andy gave balance to the midfield being a lefty. Knowledgeable about the game and once again a good passer of the ball.

What was your reaction when you first heard that the Ellis ‘reign’ was finally over. jonah

To be honest we all new his resignation was going to happen, and in my opinion twenty five years too late. I just felt pleased for the Villa fans at the time, now the club could move forward with new people at the helm. Because of Ellis’ reluctance to share the monetary load at Villa Park by bringing in more backers by selling his shares earlier, I feel he wasted a great opportunity to keep Villa up there with the big boys. One mans greed held the club back.

Dennis…… where do you yourself see Villa in 5 years time ? Also, would you take a little moment of your time on the day of the Sheffield United game for some photos with me and the Swindon and Wiltshire Villans Supporters Club ? We are trying to publicise our SC and would like some pictures to go on our website with you and some of the 82 side ? Any chance of helping us out mate ? Cheers crosswesleyanchapel

Over the next five years Villa will I believe qualify for European football on a regular basis through finishing in 5th,6th or 7th position, I’m not to sure whether any other clubs will overcome the top four positions though. I believe they are capable of winning a trophy or two with Martin O’Neill. I’ve no idea what the plans are for Saturday, so I can’t promise anything.

Dennis, is it not time now for you to be more involved at the Villa. Experience is undervalued and I am sure you have some ideas that you could pass on. Now Ellis is gone it must be time for villa to utilise our past masters. Also what do you think of our latest signings. morky13villa

I believe the new regime at the club will embrace the past more than what Ellis did, but personally I believe I could get involved more on the corporate hospitality side of things, mixing with the supporters, spreading the word about Villa, helping to expand on the commercial side of the club.

Carew and Young have brought to the club experience (Carew) and a talent for the future (Young). They have both showed enough to suggest that next season should MON get his summer signings right, there is the making of good side.

Question for Dennis, have you got your boots handy….. j/k col8

Love that question, and yes I have always got my boots in the car, but you need a pair of legs to go in the boots to make them work!

Dennis, could you give us a players view of what was going on when Gidman and Gray had meetings with Ellis which led to the EGM which thankfully he lost. I guess you might not want to answer that on here but perhaps you should write a book on your great career. Erod

I remember that period and all I will say about the situation is the best man won which is backed up by winning the league and Euro cup, and when he returned (Ellis) look what happened! Writing a book is a good idea but unlike the likes of players who are still playing and have written books, I prefer to wait for when I believe my time in football is over.

Which of our current crop of youngsters do you think will be the most influential in years to come and do you think any of them will play at international level? Bearvill

I like Agbonlahor and Gardner. Agbonlahor has had a good season and don’t be surprised if he wins the player of the year trophy. Gardner is a tireless midfield operator who I believe with the correct coaching and mentoring could become an important player for MON. A player for the future, should he sign for Villa is a 16 year old named Nathan Delfouneso. Already an England Schoolboy international.

Have you seen the new training ground yet, if so what do you think of it? Great to know the team of 82 are also officially opening it, how times have changed eh? JP Fear

I haven’t seen the new building as yet, so being part of the official opening on Sunday is something I am looking forward to. I don’t think this would of happened under Ellis, so yes times have changed, but something else for you think about is this; ‘would the new training facility have been finished if Ellis was still Chairman?’ Top marks to the new regime for bringing everything alive again.

Are you happy with the 25th anniversary celebrations and what are you most looking forward to? JP Fear

Yes, I am happy with the programme to celebrate the 25 anniversary, What I am most looking forward to is having all the players back together again along with Roy Maclaren. We are also hoping that Ron will make an appearance at some stage.

I have two questions for Dennis Mortimer, linked in a way:

1. The Final in Rotterdam, how much were you and the players still playing for Ron Saunders? No disrespect to the Memory of Tony Barton intended.

2. Had Ron Saunders stayed at Aston Villa, Do you personally think the foundations of a football dynasty had been partly laid? If yes, what are the reasons behind thinking Ron Saunders would have carried on with the success? col8

That team had been put together by Ron Saunders, Tony Barton played a part in that too, he was the man who did Ron’s scouting, so in some way it was Tony’s recommendations on players that also brought us all together. We didn’t make any kind of pact to go and win it for Ron after he left, but I always call it Ron’s team. Ron was good at putting good teams together, and the this one had the legs to go on another couple of seasons and with Ron’s experience good players would of been bought in to continue the success. Villa fans would not be still waiting for league success had Ron stayed at the club, I believe he could of done what Alex Ferguson has done at Utd.

With thanks as ever to Dennis Mortimer for taking the time to do this

(Interview first published May 2007, copyright Vital Villa)

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