BBB is next in the Vital Villan Interviews
1 – How long have you been a Villa fan and how did you first get the Claret & Blue faith?
You could say I’m a bit of a glory hunter – I got caught up in the League Cup run in 1994. I hadn’t really bothered too much with football until that point, but I caught a couple of Villa’s results in the run up to the final, including the memorable penalty shoot out against Tranmere in the semi final, and have been hooked ever since… I remember watching the final with some friends who are Man United fans, who were more than a little annoyed by my new-found loyalty to the Claret & Blues…
2 – What was your first game?
It wasn’t until I moved away from the family home that I got the chance to see a live Villa match. My first game was a League Cup match against Wolves, which we won 1-0 courtesy of a single Tommy Johnson goal.
3 – What is your most memorable moment as a Villa fan?
There’s been loads of fine memories.. Phil King’s penalty against Inter was a fantastic moment, and one I wish I could have been able to witness first hand, Mark Draper & Andy Townsend’s juggling free-kick routine, Dwight Yorke taking the mick out of David Seaman… 5-1… but the most memorable moment so far for me has to be Bozzie’s heroics during the League Cup semi final against Tranmere. It’s what got me hooked. And I’ve got a Tranmere-supporting friend who to this day is furious that Bozzie was still on the pitch…
4 – And the worst moment?
Home against Spurs, Angel missing a penalty then scoring an own goal at the other end a moment later. He fell to his knees in front of the Holte yards from where I was sitting with my own face in my hands. My Tranmere-supporting friend was sat right next to me, and thought it was hilarious.
5 – Who are your favourite current Villa players?
Ashley Young – the lad’s got such a bright future ahead of him. Martin Laursen – the way he came back from serious injury to be such a rock for us last season was amazing. Gareth Barry – Barry is going nowhere.
6 – Which former player/s are your ultimate heroes?
Paul McGrath. He kind of casually strolled through games, but still looked a class above everyone else on the pitch. Ian Taylor – Claret & Blue through and through.
7 – Which player do you think was the worst to ever put on the team colours?
Plenty to choose fromn, but I’d have to go for Gregory’s Moroccans. They came, they saw, they picked up ridiculously inflated wages, and that’s about it.
8 – What is the best goal you have seen Villa score and which is your favourite game?
Again, plenty to choose from.. best goal I can remember seeing live was probably Barry’s goal against Spurs. Turned the defenders inside out before letting fly with a rocket of a shot with his right foot! The ones I’ve watched over and over again recently though are Gary Cahill’s airstrike against Blues, and Gardner’s volley against Bolton.
9 – Best away ground visited?
Visited the Reebok, Manchester City Stadium and Ewood Park last season. I’m not a fan of the modern grounds, sure they look clean and pretty but they don’t have the atmosphere. City’s ground was like a graveyard from where I sat, Bolton’s ground was better but Ewood was my favourite, and not just for the match.
10 – Who would you like to see Villa sign this summer?
If I could pick one player for O’Neill to go all-out to sign, it would be Theo Walcott. With Young on the left and Walcott on the right, and both of them able to switch flanks as well, we’d be terrifying up front. As it’d be very unlikely we’d be able to prise him away from the Gunners however, I’d like to see us sign David Bentley.
11 – What are your predictions for us this season in the:
a) League It’ll be tough to even retain 6th place next season, but I’d like to see us try. Staying 6th would be an achievement in itself, but if we can build on the core of players Martin O’Neill’s assembled, then there’s no reaosn why we shouldn’t at least be able to secure UEFA Cup qualification through the league again.
b) Europe I desperately want to see us make it to the UEFA Cup’s group stages. 6 guaranteed matches against European competition would be great for the club and ould help our young team develop immensely. It’s a tough competition this year, with AC Milan, Paris St Germaine, Sevilla, Valencia, Borussia Dortmund, Sampdoria, Feyenoord, Ajax, CSKA Moscow, Benfica, Club Brugge and Hamburg all involved, and the Intertot and Champion’s League clubs still to join. Plenty of opportunity for some classic games next season, if we’re lucky!
c) Carling Cup The Carling Cup is the competition most Premiership clubs probably consider as being potentially ‘winnable’, and it’s another guaranteed route into Europe. A Cup run would be nice, but you sometimes see the Carling Cup winners fall away in the league (if they’re not pushing for a Champion’s League berth, that is). I’d like to see us lift some silverware, but I wouldn’t be too disappointed if we went out early either.
d) Fa Cup A different matter from the Carling Cup entirely. A showpiece game and visit to Wembley, last game of the season would be fantastic for us. An FA Cup win would see us in the Community Shield as well – more exposure for the club! Could we get there? Well, it’s been a big boy’s competition up until last year.. but if we can avoid ‘the usual’ (Man United, 3rd round, stupid BBC live draw screwups!), there’s no reason why we can’t make a real go of it.
12 – What is your opinion of Martin O’Neill?
The man for the job. What else can you say? OK, quite a bit, really – but whatever you think of his transfer policy (and the guy plays his cards so close to his chest I don’t think anyone could know what he’s planning), you can’t argue with results, and we’ve seen season upon season improvement since his arrival. And far from it coming from the expected long ball football, we’ve seen some of the best attacking play I can remember at Villa Park in recent years as well.
13 – What is your opinion of Randy Lerner and the new board?
Could we have had a better appointment? Randy has stayed true to the roots of the club, conducted himself admirably as owner, staying out of the spotlight and leaving the manager to get on with his role, and has gone about the task of rebuilding and rebranding Villa as a football club in exactly the right manner. I haven’t seen anything but ambitionand a desire to take Villa to the top from the owners – by which I don’t mean throwing cash around Abramovich or Sinawatra style, but slowly and steadily building sound foundations and a solid platform for the club to operate on. Our club is in good hands.
14 – Where do you sit at Villa and are you a season ticket holder?
Not a season ticket holder unfortunately, I would be if not for travel limitations however. I always choose the Holte for the live games I manage to attend.
15 – And finally (stolen without shame from Vital Arsenal!) if you could invite 4 people connected to Villa, living or dead, to a dinner party, who would they be? And you can add one bit of top totty as well to make the party go with a ‘bang’ ;o)
Doug Ellis, Ron Saunders, John Gregory and Dwight Yorke. Karren Brady for ‘eye candy’. Then I’d put a hard hat on and get the hell out of the way! =D
With thanks to: BarosBarryBouma
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