Date: 25th July 2011 at 9:08am
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Vital Villa Summer 2011 Interviews: Ross Mackiewicz

Vital Villa Summer 2011 Interviews: Ross Mackiewicz

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?

With my father being a lifelong supporter of the club, living through the finer moments of the club`s history such as the invasion of the Highbury pitch when we won the league in 1981, along with the pinnacle of capturing the European Cup the following year, it was inevitable my blood was going to be claret and blue.

Funnily enough Euro 96 played a significant part in me falling in love with the club as a child. As Gareth Southgate missed his penalty in the semi-final versus Germany I sobbed uncontrollably. Even though I was a child, I felt a deep regret for Gareth, being a Villa player and all and listening to me dad sing his praises to high heaven. As the 1996/1997 approached I was given the distinctive brand spanking new white away shirt with my name on the back and the number 4 – Southgate`s number.

I attended the opening home game against Blackburn Rovers, my first ever match, sitting in the upper Holte, and who could have made it up? – Southgate netted the winner in a 1-0 win.

I have loved the club ever since and been a season ticket holder for the best part of a decade.

2) Alex McLeish? Your opinion please?

I would be lying if I said I wasn`t sceptical as the saga of his appointment unfolded. Hearing the negative press along with witnessing the scenes at Villa Park with the protest drowned me with doubt. However, I have to say the new man has impressed me immensely. You can already see he has brought a sense of harmony to the dressing room and his insistence on utilising, what I feel is a very capable and talented squad. The last thing I want to see is my club in a heap of debt and gaining no benefit whatsoever. If Eck can bring in the youth with the likes of Bannan, Delph, Clarke, Albrighton etc, who were tutored superbly by Gerard Houllier last season I might add, then I see no reason why we can`t have a good season.

3) Best and worst moments of last season?

Undisputedly the best moment was the signing of Darren Bent. We have been crying out for a 20+ goal man since the days of Dwight Yorke and Darren fits into that fold distinctively. His record speaks for itself.

Also the first 80 minutes of our home game against Manchester United as we played them off the park and sailed into a 2-0 lead. Only to surrender it in the final ten minutes as we have done to Fergie`s men so many times down the years.

Worst moments, there are a couple. Being engulfed in the Holte-End with the anti Houllier chants after the defeat to Sunderland was as hostile an atmosphere as I`ve heard for many a year. I`m one who insists on backing the team and manager no matter what, so I was disappointed to see Villa Park in that state.

4) Your opinion of Randy Lerner?

Fantastic, I think he has done wonders for the club. Nobody can dispute his investment. He has put his money where his mouth is. Mistakes have been made with a number of questionable signings but that is down to the manager. Randy is there to supply the funds and trust the man in charge to bring in the right calibre of player.

I know people are concerned by our lack of investment this summer but I for one would much prefer to see my beloved club in a stable manner than be heavily indebted in the red. Aston Villa is what it`s all about at the end of the day, players come and go, it`s the club that`s here forever.

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

Well I`ve always rated Charles N`Zogbia so with his arrival looking imminent I will be over the moon. In my opinion a far more complete player than Stewart Downing with the capability of bamboozling the opposition. Also I see no reason why we shouldn`t put in a cheeky bid for Craig Bellamy. If reports are true that he is available for £3.5m, then that is an absolute steal in my book. He would be a fantastic addition.

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?

Absolutely, it was fantastic business. Stewart Downing is a top player, but he is not worth £20m. What really disappointed me was his lack of gratitude towards the club. His career had been floundering prior to his arrival. Relegated, injured, paid big money for him, rehabilitated him, got him back into the England reckoning, only for him to hand in a transfer request after one decent season. I don`t hold it against him, Liverpool is of course a bigger club, but for him not to thank the fans nor the club for our support just reeks of arrogance.

7) Favourite current player?

Darren Bent. I`ve not only been impressed with his potency in front of goal but also his attitude. He shows a burning desire to give 100% and although he may be largely anonymous in a game, there is a guarantee that he will at least make his presence felt in the penalty area. He will be a pivotal figure for us in the forthcoming season.

8) Favourite all time player/s?

There are a few. Paul McGrath is the obvious one. Although I never seen him perform the miracles first hand, I`m under no illusions what a significant figure he has been for the club. Having read his autobiography and seen highlights of his performances, you can see why he is simply the ‘God` at Villa Park.

Dwight Yorke is another favourite. I know his acrimonious departure to Manchester United disgruntled the fans at the time – still to this day – but there is no denying he was a loyal servant to the club who wore his heart on his sleeve.

Paul Merson is an absolute hero of mine. What Paul could do with a ball his feet was startling at times. Such an accomplished playmaker that had the capability to do things out of the ordinary. His wonder goal at Goodison Park against Everton sticks in the memory. A wonderful player and I was deeply saddened when he left in 2002.

Martin Laursen, Olof Mellberg, Mark Bosnich, Juan Pablo Angel, and Ian Taylor – the list could go on.

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

I honestly believe we can a right good go this season. I have no doubt we`ll finish in the top ten, but just high up? I`m not entirely sure. With exception to Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal, it`s anyone`s ball game to challenge for the remaining spots in Europe. I feel it will be much more open this season and we can benefit from it with a young, talented and vibrant squad.

FA Cup:

With exception to our semi-final appearance last year, we haven`t fared too well in the FA Cup. Nevertheless if the draw is kind to us then we can get to the latter stages and dare to dream of a repeat of 1957.

Carling:

Likewise, I fancy us to pretty well in this. See no reason why we cannot win the whole thing if the players apply themselves. Sod it, I put my neck out, I think we`ll win it!!!

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

‘If you could bring back one past player in their prime back to the club, who would it be?`

Tony Morley. Could you imagine him on one wing and Marc Albrighton on the other? We`d have the Premier League quaking in their boots!

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!?!

Mollie King from The Saturdays. My dream woman!

Piers Morgan. His arrogance is written all over his face!

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