Date: 11th August 2011 at 10:35am
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Vital Villa Summer 2011 Interviews: Football is Life

Vital Villa Summer 2011 Interviews: Football is Life

How do you do one I hear you cry? Click here and find out! YOUR TURN: The Vital Villa Interviews..

1) When did you become a Villa fan and why?

I don’t really remember – I lived in Birmingham as a kid, went to a local school, played in the school football team. At that time, most of my friends were Liverpool fans but I didn’t really understand why – not exactly local. I think one or two friends were Villa fans, which made more sense to me!

2) Alex McLeish? Your opinion please?

Would have liked to have seen a young Spanish/Portuguese manager tried – that’s where the best football is coming from at the moment. McLeish isn’t an exciting appointment, but I’m willing to give him time before making my mind up. Pleased with Given and N’Zogbia signings so far, so doing alright in my opinion. I would like to add that I was very sorry to see Gerard Houllier leave, especially the way he did.

3) Best and worst moments of last season?

On a very personal note, I was lucky enough to visit Bodymoor Heath for a tour. We got to watch the players train, see the amazing facilities they have there and meet all the players and staff. We came away with pictures and autographs from all the players, we had lunch with Houllier in the players’ dining room (I was queueing behind Carew and Collins and felt very small!). It was an amazing day and we were treated so well and my love for Villa went to another level.

I think my worst moments were Houllier’s illness and generally the impatience of Villa fans. I hope Villa fans will now give McLeish a chance to prove whether he’s up to the job.

4) Your opinion of Randy Lerner?

It’s pretty hard to judge a man who doesn’t put himself in the spotlight. Purely based on his actions – donating money to local cultural institutions, having Acorns as the ‘sponsor’, backing Martin O’Neill with quite a bit of transfer funds and so far both Houllier and McLeish have been given money, rebranding the club whilst highlighting it’s ‘proud history’. I think the club is in good hands, and whilst it can be frustrating to see Man City, Tottenham and even Sunderland, splashing the cash, we have to accept that caution is needed. I think he understands what sport is really about – he won’t be going all out for Villa to win everything in the near future, he’s building a club that looks after it’s staff, it’s players and it’s fans. Hopefully this will serve the club well and Villa will be challenging for league honours again in the future.

I also want to say that Randy Lerner is the club – he owns it, it is more his club than any of the fans. I think hiring McLeish in the face of the embarrassing protests by some fans, was extremely brave. Fans need to be looked after, but I’m afraid we seem to think we have a right to influence the running of the club. When I am asked my opinion on flags, a new crest or any other survey Villa want to carry out, I’ll give them my opinion. Otherwise I’ll stick to moaning about refs, revelling in genius substitutions and despairing at missing sitters.

5) Which player/s should Villa sign this summer?

With Downing gone, N’Zogbia is an excellent replacement. Given is already demonstrating that he is an outstanding keeper, although i would like to see a younger understudy (someone like Gilks perhaps?). I’m quite happy with the first team, but am concerned by a lack of depth – a problem for the last few seasons. If Bent gets injured, Villa will struggle. We’re also a bit light at the back. I’m looking forward to seeing some young players again this season, and maybe they can step up. Given a bit of money I would get Kyle Walker back or Corluka off Spurs, I would quite like Milner or Johnson from Man City, but that’s not going to happen. If Sturridge is available, either permanently or loan, I think he would be excellent up front. Someone like Samba at the back would fit in too. I would hope we have scouts in Europe and can find some good quality players at a more reasonable price as well. I’m currently watching West Ham v Cardiff and I think Villa should sign Parker to replace Petrov both in the team and as captain.

6) (changed question!) Stewart Downing, now he has gone, were Villa right to get shot of him or should they have kept him against his wishes?

Fairly loaded question there…at grassroots level, I would always let a player go if they would rather play for another team. Villa got excellent money for Downing and I think it was the right decision to sell him. Hopefully the money will continue to be put to good use.

7) Favourite current player?

I really enjoyed meeting Ciaran Clark – it was just after he scored twice in the 3-2 defeat to Arsenal and he was absolutely buzzing. It’s great to see a player enjoying playing football and enjoying playing for Aston Villa, as much as he clearly did. I think Mark Albrighton is also exciting and has the potential to be a legend for Villa.

8) Favourite all time player/s?

I grew up with the ’94 and ’96 League Cup wins, with players like Dean Saunders and Ian Taylor starring. More recently, I was/am a big fan of James Milner and would like to see him back. Juan Pablo Angel was another player who seemed to love playing for Villa, and still has a place in his heart for the club.

9) What do you expect us to do/finish this season?

No idea…with a proper pre-season and a little bit of investment (so far), hopefully the players will be more settled and we an get off to a good start. I can’t see Villa finishing higher than Man U, Chelsea, Man City, Tottenham or Liverpool, so that’s 6th place at best. Everton and Fulham will be about the same level and possibly Sunderland. Therefore anywhere between 6th and 10th would be my guess.

In terms of the cups, it’d be nice to get to Wembley. I’ve been there twice now, neither time to see Villa! As usual it depends on the draw, but we have the potential to do well. I’d love for Villa to get Oxford United and come to the Kassam Stadium (where I live now), but that requires OUFC to actually get through a couple of rounds!

10) You can ask yourself any question you want to about Villa and what is your answer?

Hmmm…if…no…why….when….where…what…What was your first Villa game? My first Villa match was at Villa Park against Wimbledon in 1995. It’s fair to say that I haven’t seen quite as good a match as that one, which finished 7-1 to Villa!

11) Right, lets lower the tone… which celebrity would you most like to bang and which (male I would think) celeb would you most like to thump!?!

Don’t really go in for ‘banging’ or ‘thumping’. I recently heard Robbie Savage talking about winning at all costs at a Grassroots event and I wanted to punch him. In terms of attractive women, I quite like Kristin Kreuk and Bridget Regan.

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