young_jonah is next for the Vital Villa interview.
young_jonah is next for the Vital Villa interview.
1) When did you become a Villa fan and why?
Its runs it the family, so I had no say in the matter. My first game was in January 1996, with my Dad, Auntie and Uncle – we beat Spurs 2-1goals from Paul McGrath and Dwight Yorke. To this day, the 1995/96 season remains my favourite campaign as a Villa fan.
2) What is your favourite Villa moment of all time/most treasured memory?
Probably has to be the League Cup win in 1996, I can just about remember us lifting it in 1994 (I would have been 8) but the final against Leeds Utd is a very memorable moment for me, though I wasn’t at Wembley I did watch it at home with my Dad on the telly. That really was a great season – 4th in the league, lifting the cup and reaching the semis of the FA Cup.
3) If you could bring back a former Villa player into this team (at his peak) who would it be and why?
Probably Olof Mellberg as our defence is by far the weakest area at the moment, though Dwight Yorke would be handy if Christian Benteke decides to leave (mind you, so would Darren Bent!?!). Mellberg is probably the best centre half I have seen at the Villa and in the last 20 years, we’ve had some great players lining up there. Love the guy, he would walk into this team at his peak granted, but to be honest I don’t think he would face too many problems walking into it now at 35!
4) Paul Lambert? Your opinion please?
I have spent the whole season living in China, so its harder for me to form an opinion on the guy compared to those who have seen more/all of the football played under him. Last summer, I was excited at the prospect of him taking over. And although there were some ups and downs over the course of the season, I still believe he is the right man to take us forward and I am kind of looking forward to what he does over the summer in the market.
I actually think its quite nice to be going into a season with the stability that having the same manager provides, its been too long!
5) Best and worst moments of last season?
I really enjoyed the Stoke and Sunderland games (didn’t get to see the Liverpool game unfortunately), I had stayed up late to watch both. Matthew Lowton’s goal was a bit special, wasn’t it?
Worst moment was definitely Chelsea, even out here I had to endure a lot of stick after that one. The cup exit to Bradford was also a low point.
6) Some say last season was a success, others not so much. What is your opinion?
Well I would struggle to use the word ‘success’ to describe any season in which we haven’t won some silverware but last season did see us improve on the year before and at times we did play some good football. The side is young, that is the way Lambert wants it and its his neck on the line if it goes wrong, but I must say some of the young lads do look to have a lot of potential. I am not sold on Jordan Bowery, he looks out of his depth but Matthew Lowton and Ashley Westwood both look to me as though they have a good future in the game.
In my opinion, Lambert should not be afforded another season in which we are fighting relegation, next season we need to pushing for the top half at the very least.
7) Your opinion of Randy Lerner and the board?
I honestly think Lerner has lost interest, it would probably be for the best if he sold up, so we could hopefully have a chairman who does give a toss.
There was a time when I thought we had the best chairman in the league but he allowed Martin O’Neill too much control, who ran up such a large wage bill that the next three managers have had to try to hack it down, to varying levels of success. I did think Gerard Houllier was trying to get us playing decent football and then he was replaced by the most boring manager ever (still cannot believe the board ever thought that was going to be a good appointment). Lambert was the fans
choice last summer (I think he won a vote on Vital), so finally Lerner did get the right man in, or so I hope!
8) Which player/s should Villa sign this summer?
A controversial one, but I would like to see us bring in William Gallas for a season. I think Nathan Baker and Ciaran Clark would benefit from playing alongside a top player like him. I realise that signing anyone over the age of 27 is unlikely under Lambert. So a more realistic signing might be Michael Mancienne. He always impressed me whenever I saw him play for Wolves and the England Under-21s. I know he is at Hamburg now, not sure how realistic a signing he would be or if he would even be available but he definitely fits the description of a Lambert signing.
If Christian Benteke goes, and we know Darren Bent will be… We are going to need a couple of front men. I am intrigued by Charlie Austin of Burnley, but I think as well as him we’d need someone with top flight experience, not sure who though.
9) Which player/s should Villa get rid of this summer?
I really want Darren Bent to stay, he is a proven goalscorer, and IF we should lose Benteke we are gonna need someone to fill the void. I appreciate Bent doesn’t come deep or have the work-rate of either Benteke or Andy Weimann but he knows where the back of the net is, and has been a goal machine throughout his career. Sadly, I think he will be off though.
If Alan Hutton is not in Lambert’s plans then we need to get him off the wage bill, likewise Stephen Ireland (shame, really thought he would come good) and Shay Given. Though I don’t understand why the club would pay £5 million to terminate his contract early, why not loan him out? Or just sell him on the cheap?
10) Favourite current player?
I really like Darren Bent and I am convinced that Lowton and Westwood will become top players, I quite like Charles N’Zogbia too. But I would probably go for Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker, always good to see a product of the academy do well and I have a feeling these two may well form the Villa’s central defensive partnership for years to come.
11) Who was your first footballing hero and who are your favourite all time player/s?
Dwight Yorke was my boyhood hero but I have had so many favourites over the years. As a kid, it was Yorkie and Mark Bosnich then Ian Taylor, Paul Merson and Dion Dublin. Next up was Juan Pablo Angel, Olof Mellberg and Martin Laursen. More recently, Stiliyan Petrov and James Milner. I should really give a special mention to my guilty pleasure too though, Zat ‘Zack’ Knight.
12) What do you expect us to do/finish this season?
Premier – 10th
FA Cup: 3rd Round (I predict a trip to Old Trafford)
Carling: Semi-finals again, maybe beating Bradford on the way!
13) You can ask yourself any question you want to about Villa and what is your answer?
Who is your favourite Celebrity Villan?
David Bradley. When I had my season ticket, he sat a row in front of me and about ten seats along. Love him in Game of Thrones and the Harry Potter movies. Brilliant actor.
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? Karl Pilkington, to see what is he like in real life.
b) Age 27
c) Location: Beijing, China
d) Favourite alcoholic drink: Beer
e) Favourite non-alcoholic drink: Vimto or Pepsi
f) Favourite Film/s: Carlito`s Way
g) Favourite TV Show/s: Game Of Thrones
h) Music?: Muse and Bloc Party
i) Best ever moment in your life: Living in China
j) Ambitions: To enjoy life. Simple as that.
k) Wise words: If your life isn`t what you had hoped, make a change…
Now your turn, how to submit an interview: click here
Villan in Exile