Date: 3rd August 2009 at 9:41am
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I did an interview for the fourfourtwo’s pre-season supplement which is free with this month’s 442 Magazine (on sale now…)

It is difficult to answer as obviously the transfer window is closed, I had expected more in by now and for my predictions to look stupid but sadly, that hasn’t been the case so I’d stick by my 7th (and have said online … maybe even around 8th) UNTIL we see who we bring in!

The full interview – inside the supplement I’ll be cut… which is the best thing that could happen to me according to some… well, ok, according to most!

Why will you not suffer another slump in the second half of the season this year?

To be honest I think it was coming, we’d not bought enough strength in depth for one thing and personally I think Martin O’Neill upset the pattern of the season with the way he fielded an understrength team in Moscow to prioritise a top four position. It all seemed to go wrong after that. Oh and loss of the world class defender Martin Laursen was also a real blow because he was a rock at the back and a goal threat up front.

What are your strengths?

We have pace in abundance and can worry defenders with the speed in the team.

What are your weaknesses?

Our strikers don’t shoot (let alone score) enough and we don’t have a big enough squad to cope in all competitions. We also seem to lack tactics at times but I’m not meant to say things like that with the messiah as our boss… so keep that between yourselves!

What is a lesson do you need to learn from last season?

Not to field understrength teams in competitions you have a realistic chance of winning and to make sure you have a squad big enough. A personal lesson was not to buy pies at Wigan, talk about overrated.. mine went straight in the bin!

What’s your greatest hope for this season?

For better quality pies… No, seriously, I want to see us take the cups more seriously, I think that is the area Villa need to focus.

And your biggest fear?

That we’ll not have a big enough squad to cope and that maybe we’ll be slightly ‘found out’ following last seasons great start. All down to who we buy this summer in order to allay those fears.

Most important player

Ashley Young, he has a big season ahead of him and has to keep improving + John Carew who seems the most likely of our strikers to score if he can stay fit.

Cult hero/terrace favourite

Difficult, Gareth Barry and Martin Laursen were both terrace favourites but are gone. Moustapha Salifou doesn’t play but has a great song (!) but the Holte End favourite appears to be John Carew ‘he’s bigger than me and you’ apparently!

Keep an eye out for (young player)

We have many fine youngsters coming through, Barry Bannan looks good, best prospect for now looks Nathan Delfouneso, aka The Fonz!

Player you’d happily drive to his next club

Our squad isn’t big enough to drive anyone out, I am sure I said the same in last years supplement as well. Over to you Mr O’Neill.

What one change would you make at your club?

Apart from making me supreme ruler? I’d like to see a WOW player come in, we’ve not had a bum on seat player for a long time and this summer should fix that in my opinion.

Have you got the right manager?

I hope so, I doubt it, shame you can’t ask me that after the transfer window is closed. Think my opinion will be fully rounded by this season to be honest, we started the last one so well but the wheels were always due to come off in my ever so humble opinion and the lack of respect paid to the Cups has really made me question things. Still, hope so, many think him the messiah and I want them to be 100% right.

What advice would you give him?

He’d not listen, so none, other than maybe to wear a suit as the track suit look is so 80’s… see, I’m in touch with my feminine side!

Which team do you most want to beat this season?

Every team we face. I SO want us to win at Old Trafford as my mate has been going for 20 odd seasons and it is the only ground in the country he’s not seen us win.

Opposition player you despise

Joey Barton, total thug, shouldn’t be in the game.

Opposition player you secretly admire

I don’t keep secrets! Torres isn’t bad I guess!

Where will you finish?

7th unless we do spend well this summer, then we could be up and competing again. I’m lowering my sights just slightly to avoid disappointment!


The new issue of FourFourTwo is out Saturday August 1 – and it could be your passport to Europe on board Chelsea’s private jet.

Buy the new mag at a High Street branch of WHSmith and you’ll enter an exclusive competition which could see you checking the in-flight menu between JT and Lamps.

The Samsung prize package includes two sets of flights to a Champions League game, VIP match tickets, tip-top accommodation and a swish new Samsung JET mobile.

The FourFourTwo package includes a startlingly beautiful 162-page magazine and our ever-popular Season Preview magazine, with in-depth guides to all 92 English clubs plus the SPL and Blue Square Premier.

So even if you’re not a Chelsea fan, you’d be mad to miss the mag. And if you are a Chelsea fan, you’d be insane to avoid WHSmith.

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