Villan in Exile is next for the Vital Villa interview…
Villan in Exile is next for the Vital Villa interview.
1) When did you become a Villa fan and why?
Unfortunately was born in a part of Birmingham that was predominantly Blue.
Fortunately, my dad wasn’t.
Owe that man a lot I guess.
2) What is your favourite Villa moment of all time/most treasured memory?
Am of the age to have remembered a certain night in Rotterdam.
My abiding memory though was the M&B commercial immediately following full time: zooming in on a dog who stands up in the flickering light of the TV as his master’s voice rises in surprise, disbelief and finally joy “We won, we won!” before cutting to a picture of him running to a vibrant pub before the immortal words spring up on the screen ‘Well done Villa’ (that gave me goose bumps writing that).
3) If you could bring back a former Villa player into this team (at his peak) who would it be and why?
Judging by our past season it would have to be Paul McGrath.
Then again, as the finest player I ever saw at Villa Park (because my dad didn’t take me to see the game against Barcelona where Cryuff got 2) it would be God any season.
4) Paul Lambert? Your opinion please?
I’m a fan.
The most important thing to me is that he has a clear philosophy and is sticking to it.
We tried to throw money at it and it didn’t work and now we must try something else – call it the Ajax model, or the Dortmund example if you like, but hopefully it will be called the Villa model in time.
5) Best and worst moments of last season?
I don’t get to Villa Park much nowadays as I live abroad (hence the name Villan in Exile) but managed to score some great seats together with my dad (I seem to be mentioning him a lot) who hadn’t been down there for years as he takes it all a bit too seriously when watching it (which is why he usually follows the scores on teletext).
That was probably the best moment. And also the worst, as it was the Spurs game at home.
From a less personal point of view the best moment was that second goal against Liverpool – quite brilliant end to end move and what a finish. Doesn’t get the credit it deserves.
6) Some say last season was a success, others not so much. What is your opinion?
I understand why some think that, especially after the horror show of the season before when, despite being quite high up the table in the early part of the season the football was just dire and the nose dive into the relegation zones was not a surprise.
Lambert has introduced an exciting style that if we can get it right consistently can take us as far as we want to go (I mean that) and has done it whilst bring through a bunch of kids and previous nobodies, which is encouraging and to some extent a success.
However, calling the staving off of relegation in the penultimate week of the season a success is to generous. I think Lambert took a risk and got away with it and I’m not that sure I’m overly happy with the first part of that statement.
7) Your opinion of Randy Lerner and the board?
Again old enough to remember Doug Ellis (as anyone over the age of 5 should be) – in fact, old enough to remember shouting stick at him through the window of his Rolls Royce as he was leaving Villa Park as a 14 year-old when we last got relegated – so I’m behind this one.
He came in and gave it a ‘right good go’ as Villa fans had been crying out for years for – it didn’t work out, but he deserves credit for that.
But he also deserves some censor for too. He is the steward of this great club and, as a businessman, should have kept MON on a tighter leash spending wise – to have been paying Champions League wages for Europa League football was unsustainable. Did no-one at the club have an excel sheet looking at this?
Then to have taken the opinion of the master manipulator Ferguson and appointed ‘he who should not be named’ was naïve at best.
So, benefit of the doubt time: he invested in the team, built a great training ground, shown care and thought with the history of the club and has produced some nice touches that have made Villa a well-liked team (which doesn’t hurt) and seems to have a plan again after the wilderness following the dumping by/from MON.
I think though after 6 years he should make a public appearance and open up to us about the first failed plan, what went wrong with MON, what the future seems to hold. It’s simply overdue.
8) Which player/s should Villa sign this summer?
After the rabbit out of the hat Benteke along with shrewd purchases like Westwood, Lowton and getting Guzan back I think we can let Lambert do the picking from now on.
But if I had to answer, (and accepting the fact I don’t have a scouting network helping me – though neither did MON – nor do I play Champions Manager or whatever it’s called) I would go for the new Schmeichel (whoever he is) as back up goalie; Lescott and Rose in defence (surprised Lichaj left, but maybe someone better will come in); Didi Hamman type midfielder (and push Delph into the head of the midfield triangle where his tenaciousness/reckless tacking is less bookable but his ability to go past the first man and pick a pass would make him a threat) another playmaker (who? Don’t know) and another wide man.
There! Bet you’re glad Lambert is picking our players eh?
9) Which player/s should Villa get rid of this summer?
Lots of ’em: Given (cost/age/size), Stevens, Dunne (where were you when we needed you eh?), Hutton, Ireland (see, this is what experienced players can be like), Holman (doesn’t cut it), Bannan (not the new Paul Scholes), Herd (maybe), N’Zogbia (lazy off the ball, greedy on it), Bent (shame, thought we could build a team around him – but when you got Benteke…), Delfoneso (Luke Moore re-incarnated).
That’s an entire team, but can’t see us missing any of them really.
10) Favourite current player?
Depends on how current you mean.
So, sitting in the glow of avoiding relegation, which was admittedly exciting in a masochistic way, I would go for Gabby because he really turned up for the party (as the late Tony Greig used to say) in the closing weeks.
That was the one experienced player who came through for us.
11) Who was your first footballing hero and who are your favourite all time player/s?
Brian Little – simply magnificent. Or it may have just been that he wore number 8 and had the same name as my dad. Can’t recall now.
In a Villa shirt McGrath and Merson, who ran the show on a rainy evening against Crystal Palace once and I thought he was just brilliant.
Not in a Villa shirt, it’s hard to look further than Maradonna or Messi now.
12) What do you expect us to do/finish this season?
FA Cup: Finalists
Carling: 3rd round defeat to Yeovil on their greatest night in football!
13) You can ask yourself any question you want to about Villa and what is your answer?
Do I glow in the dark? Yes, I do!
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!!!)
Not sure I’d be that interesting to you all.
Read the site a lot but comment only when strongly moved to, like now, and to go on record in the early season ‘experience vs. kids’ debate with Fear and others.
For the record though, my exile is in wonderful Moscow (and yes, I was there the night MON played the kids, which was disappointing as I had got a gang of nearly convertees to the game with me, who left as default-Chelsea fans again).
Oh, and the is the first season I am watching with my little daughter. She’s a bit young so only watched Liverpool, Stoke away and Sunderland home games with me.
Yep, she will be watching more this season.
Now your turn, how to submit an interview: click here