McGrath4Pope takes his turn in our world famous (!?) Aston Villa fan interviews.
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1) When did you become a Villa fan and why?
My grandfathers (deciding to support the local team after emigrating to Birmingham from Ireland) , uncles (except the one blue sheep in the family) and dad all supported Villa so it was always in the blood. Was confirmed after my first game – November 5th 1989, the day before my 7th birthday; Aston Villa vs Everton. We won 6-2. Even as a naïve child I remember thinking “This is the kind of club bound for unrivalled success to get on board with – though maybe move on that Paul McGrath who scored an own goal”. Top foresight. Top foresight indeed.
2) What is your favourite Villa moment of all time/most treasured memory?
The aforementioned 6-2 Everton game, The Collymore inspired victories against Athletico Madrid (2-1) and Arsenal (3-2), the 3-2 that sent Coventry down. 5-1 against the great unwashed from the sty. Biggest one would be 1994 League Cup final against Man Utd though – just me and dad on my first trip to Wembley*, it was amazing!
*Years later dad informed me he`d been offered £200 for the tickets on the steps of Wembley and had very nearly sold them, “surely you would`ve felt bad driving your son the whole way there, walking him along Wembley Way right to the turnstile only to sell his ticket” I asked. He replied, in all sincerity, “I`d have bought some tat for £20 from Toys`R`Us on the way home and you`d have got over it all by the time we got back” – ah the special father / son bond associated with football eh? Still, he didn`t sell them and I`m very glad.
3) If you could bring back a former Villa player into this team (at his peak) who would it be and why?
David Platt – my first football hero. Goals from midfield
4) Steve Bruce? Your opinion please?
I like him and think he is just what the club needs right now. No one has a better track record of getting teams out of this division (it was only a year ago he got Hull up!). However he is under real pressure this season, he will have a full pre-season and be allowed to bring in more players – he has to have us up in the promotion spots.
5) Best and worst moments of last season?
Best: Fatty Agbonlahor coming on, me announcing it to be the ‘worst substitution in the history of football` (that foresight again!) only for him to net against the unwashed – I laughed for about a week! Worst: Not a particular moment, but watching Di Matteo throw away point after point so early on killed any hope for us and it all became a rather boring mid-table season.
6) Your opinion of Doctor Tony Xia and our CEO Keith Wyness?
No complaints, have backed the managers and seem to want to connect with the fans. Wish Xia would stop some of the Sullivanesque Twitter antics at times but maybe I`ll just have to live with the odd cringe. If he sorts the club out I`ll be willing to pay that price.
7) What do you think we need most in the transfer window?
1st choice keeper
Left winger / Attacker
Right Winger / Attacker
2nd choice keeper
8) Which player/s should Villa get rid of this summer?
There are many I wouldn`t be sorry to see leave, but the ones I`d actively look to shift are:
S. Johnstone (I know he’s gone but I wouldn’t have him back)
G. Agbonlahor (PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE!)
9) Favourite and least favourite current player? (Explanation if you wish)
Favourite: Jedinak by a mile – the bloke is a man-mountain and so important to our team.
Least Favourite: Gabby – it should never have come to this, but the fraud is still robbing a living from us (despite his one moment this season). Though a (dis)honourable mention should go to T Elphick who has been HUGELY disappointing).
10) Who was your first footballing hero and who are your favourite all time player/s?
As above, David Platt was my first hero for his exploits with Villa and England. After him: McGrath, Townsend, Staunton, Yorke, Saunders, Southgate, Taylor, Merson, Barry, Mellberg, Laursen would be my standouts from my time supporting the club.
11) What do you expect us to do/finish this season coming?
I expect us to go up – by hook or by crook, automatic or playoffs, I don`t know or care if that`s realistic – I HATE THIS DIVISION. We cannot afford to become another Leeds / Forest / Wednesday.
12) You can ask yourself any question you want to about Villa and what is your answer?
Are you going to renew your Season Ticket before Friday`s deadline?
No. No way. Why should I? It`s just so boring. All I do is throw money in and get nothing back. I`ll just pick the games I like. Not a chance will I pick up that phone. Players don`t even care anymore! How dare they? And at that cost!
Oh go on then, it might be our year – see you next season you Claret & Blue heroes!!!
Just to change the theme slightly, a snap shot of you outside of football, answer or ignore at your leisure:
a) Which celebrity/s would you most like to meet and why?Stewart Lee, Dave Kitson, Mark E. Smith, Iggy Pop, Irvine Welsh – a number of less famous musicians and comedians basically – just to talk about creativity I suppose.
b) Age 34
c) Location: Solihull
d) Favourite alcoholic drink:In the pub: Lager, Around a table: Red Wine, End of the night: Whisky
e) Favourite non-alcoholic drink: Good quality Espresso or, if hung over, Irn Bru.
f) Favourite Film/s: Mullholland Drive, One Flew Over The Cuckoo`s Nest, Blue Velvet, Get Carter, Fargo, Gremlins, Airplane!
g) Favourite TV Show/s: Comedy mainly – Alan Partridge, The Office, Brass Eye, Jam – used to enjoy the Walking Dead (until the last two series), Game of Thrones, enjoying ‘Banshee` at the moment.
h) Music?: Love it – too many acts to name but Super Furry Animals, Blur, Bowie, Lou Reed, Joy Division, Half Man Half Biscuit, The Clash, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Wedding Present, The Fall, Suede, Pulp and Wire immediately jump out as being hugely important to me.
i) Best ever moment in your life:The birth of my daughters.
j) Ambitions: To make a living through entertaining (music but am going to give stand-up a go once I get the bravery up!)
k) Wise words: It`s nice to be important but it`s important to be nice.
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