Date: 2nd July 2013 at 9:09am
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McGrath4Pope is next for the Vital Villa interview.

McGrath4Pope is next for the Vital Villa interview.

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

My dad, grandfathers and all my uncles (except one – blue sheep of the family) were Villa fans so it made sense that I would follow suit – despite a brief flirtation with (whisper it) Spurs in primary school due to Gary Lineker being there. Being taken to my first game against Everton the day before my 7th birthday sealed the deal – I loved it! However it could be said that the fact that we beat Everton 6-2 may have given me a false impression of how much fun it would be to support a club that would clearly win all before them.

2) What is your favourite Villa moment of all time/most treasured memory?

1994 Coca Cola Cup final versus Man Utd. I was 11 years old and dad drove the two of us down to Wembley. It was just a great day – from laughing at fans jumping of the coaches stuck in traffic to take a slash at the road side to seeing the old Wembley full to the rafters and helping pass the giant flag over our heads AND we won 3-1!!! As a side note to this story, I learnt years later that the chap who had approached us on the steps going up to Wembley had offered dad £150-£200 for our tickets and he had come very close to taking it! Upon questioning of how he`d have explained to an excited 11 year old that seeing the turnstile was as close as we`d be getting to any action he simply replied “we`d have stopped at Toys R Us, spent £20 on some crap, everyone`s happy”. I somehow doubt that toy would be as treasured today as the programme from that game which still sits in my wardrobe.

3) If you could bring back a former Villa player into this team (at his peak) who would it be and why?

Paul McGrath – When your ‘Goals Against` column looks as bad as ours did last season what could help more than the greatest defender of all time.

4) Paul Lambert? Your opinion please?

Like him. I`d wanted us to try and pinch him after Houllier left. I like his attitude and what he has to say (when you can understand it). He seems to know exactly what he wants to do and has a steel like determination to do it. He also seems to be a bit of a scholar of coaching i.e. will visit different set ups chat to other coaches about new ideas. We`re in good hands.

5) Best and worst moments of last season?

Best – beating Sunderland 6-1.

Worst – that second leg at home to Bradford actually made me ashamed to be a Villa fan.

6) Some say last season was a success, others not so much. What is your opinion?

Under no circumstances could I ever consider a relegation battle and finishing 15th a success. It was however progress – we won more games, scored more goals, finished higher in the table and played some good football. At worst I`d say the season was a necessary evil from which the green shoots recovery can come. The manure on your rose-bush if you like!

7) Your opinion of Randy Lerner and the board?

I`ve always been fairly pro Lerner and still am. He`s continued to prop up the club with loans and he`s continued to back the manager. I think a real challenge will come for him once he has the non-contributing high earners of the book in terms of how ambitious he will allow Lambert to be both in terms of recruitment and in retaining the clubs best performers – no one wants to gamble with the clubs future but a club the size of ours should have the potential to be, at the least, consistently in the top six when properly managed (at all levels).

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

I still think we need central midfielder who is leader and can put his foot on the ball and control play. I honestly think Gareth Barry would be a great addition, not based on nostalgia but purely down to the fact that I think our players could learn so much from him PLUS he would fit in with our style of play. It all depends on wages though. Scott Parker would be another good option in that mould. Other than that I don`t know – haven`t seen enough of the new additions to really comment on the strength of the squad.

9) Which player/s should Villa get rid of this summer?

Through no fault of their own: Bent & Given.

I`d gladly give away: Ireland, Hutton, N`Zogbia, Bennet

Wouldn`t cry over if we can bring in better (which wouldn`t be hard): Bannan, Albrighton, El Ahmadi

10) Favourite current player?

Andreas Weimann – outstanding attitude plus genuine ability. Just brilliant.

11) Who was your first footballing hero and who are your favourite all time player/s?

David Platt was my first hero – pity he seems to have a real problem with us these days.

Favourite players Platt, McGrath, Yorke, Townsend, Taylor, Merson, Mellberg, Laursen.

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

Premier: What I said last year – 12th or above will be fine. Top 10 would be great. No relegation battle please!
FA Cup: No reason we can`t go for it and win it – reality of modern football is that we may as well concentrate on domestic cups.
Capital One: Same as F.A. Cup. They owe us a final in this one.

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

Best Villa 11 of your era?

Hmmm, good question…

GK. Bosnich
RB. Delaney
CB. McGrath
CB. Laursen
LB. Staunton
RM. Merson
CM. Townsend
CM. Platt
LM. Barry
ST. Yorke
ST. Saunders

Before people point it out – yes I somewhat shoehorned Staunton, Merse and Barry into positions that weren`t actually their best, it more of a representative team!

14) Just to change the theme slightly, a snap shot of you outside of football, answer or ignore at your leisure:
(based on our WHO ARE YOU thread!!!)

a) Which celebrity/s would you most like to meet and why? David Bowie – think he would be fascinating to talk to about music, fashion, art, film – just about everything. Then we get the guitars out!
b) Age 30 – which is the new 21.
c) Location: Solihull
d) Favourite alcoholic drink: Hennessey Brandy. Or Johnnie Walker black label.
e) Favourite non-alcoholic drink: Coca Cola
f) Favourite Film/s: One Flew Over The Cuckoo`s Nest, Trainspotting, Blue Velvet, Gremlins, Watership Down (all together now “Bright eyes…”)
g) Favourite TV Show/s: The Sopranos, Alan Partridge, The Office, Family Guy, Southpark, Twin Peaks.
h) Music?: Bowie, The Smiths, Half Man Half Biscuit, Low, Joy Division, The Specials, Blur, The Clash, Dylan, Oasis, Primal Scream, Super Furry Animals, Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd, Nick Drake…I could go on forever – I love music whether listening to or performing it.
i) Best ever moment in your life: The birth of my daughter (baby number two due 22nd July!).
j) Ambitions: To play music professionally.
k) Wise words: It`s nice to be important but it`s important to be nice.

Now your turn, how to submit an interview: click here

Other interviews:

Villan in Exile
The Facehead
Draig Cymraeg
Thomas Wood
Aaron Austin-Lacy
Mike Field


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