Date: 19th May 2008 at 11:51am
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Nigel Hokey-Cokey, who some people seem insistent on referring to as Reo-Coker for some strange reason, says Villa have proved the Villa doubters wrong.

He told the official site: ‘Martin’s ambitions are Champion League and I’m sure that’s what the fans want as well.’

Adding, ‘I saw people tipping us to finish in the bottom half of the table, or from 12th downwards. But look at what we’ve done. Tottenham and Newcastle have spent massive money and even West Ham have spent a lot of money to get the right players in and really push for that European spot. So you really need to look at what we’ve done and people need to give us a lot more credit than we have been getting.’

He is hoping Villa will get through the Inter Two Bob to get the experience of Uefa football but adds that the Uefa isn’t where, ultimately, Villa want to be heading and that MON has his eyes firmly set on the Champions League.

He has also spoken about the need to keep hold of Villa captain Gareth Barry: ‘It’s very important for us to keep Gareth but only Gareth can speak about that and make his own decision. That’s between Gareth and the manager. I haven’t really spoken to Gareth or Martin about it. I have always been a big fan of Gareth even before I came here. He’s always been a top class player for me and he’s been fantastic for us this season.’

Adding, ‘If we want to get to that fourth place, you wouldn’t want to lose our best players. Whoever makes the decision – Gareth, Martin or whoever – it’s going to be an important decision.’