An Interview With Vital Villa
It's a trip to Villa Park this weekend, so with thanks to mike_field from Vital Villa.
1) When did you start following your Aston Villa?
Was really under Graham Taylor's first spell at the club. Was introduced to the club so to speak by my mates at the point, and just fell as most fans do. Gordon Cowans, David Platt, Tony Daley, Paul McGrath and, then many more names since, worked for me.
2) What is best memory of your club?
Best memory has to be experiencing a European night for the first time under the floodlights. The expectation, the desire, the crowd in full voice. We used to take them seriously back then as well.
3) What is worst memory of your club?
Now figures quite highly really.
Taylor's second spell was disappointing because of the abuse he took. Shows how far football has changed really where a legend and somebody of the ilk of GT can be treated like that, regardless of the circumstances. Then the David O'Leary period, and last season especially. But the promise of this season really had fans hope and optimism back up, but so far Lambert just hasn't carried it out rightly. Not allowing us more experience to bring on the youngsters has back fired dramatically, the frantic changing of formations after picking up a result hasn't helped.
4) What are your hopes and expectations for this season?
Staying up. That's always been my aim with all the changes that took place in the first team. It's not something a club like Villa should be simply looking to do, but it was the aim this time out, so with the new ethos (that has disappeared lately in terms of an on pitch vision and style of play) we could strengthen properly in the summer, having a reasonable core of players who looked like they would make it, to at least have a sensible stab at top 10, and a push for top six again.
Plenty disagree with me but pre Chelsea I saw slow improvement, and I think that was reflected by the fact we went on an unbeaten run, so this month should've seen the adding of experience and the removal of those players not pulling their weight, so we could turn that mini unbeaten run (most expected nothing from Chelsea and Spurs) in to a run of victories so come the end of the season maybe we'd reached the giddy heights of 14th or at least 15/16th with a reasonable cushion of points.
After the demolishings we have taken since Chelsea though, the group fearing relegation and frankly accepting it is growing by the day as the heart has just been ripped from our youngsters, and the belief that was growing has evaporated. Players are making more mistakes through hesitancy, you can clearly see 'here we go again' when we go one behind or when we miss what you'd have to call was an easy chance to score.
Hope - stay up by goal difference (unlikely at the rate we are conceding) or simply by a point. The giddy heights of 14th feel miles away - even for those like me who are a bit more optimistic and think 2/3 key signings this window could alleviate a lot of our current problems.
5) Who was your first football hero?
Paul McGrath. Just loved everything about him. The way he played, his attitude and commitment - especially as I learnt more about him and found out he didn't train like others because of his knees. Even down to the fact I don't think I saw him score a sloppy own goal, my memory is full of absolute belters from the edge of the box, volleys, back heels the works.
6) Who are your current favourites?
Older now so don't really have favourites, in the old fashion sense. I do however love watching younger players making their breakthrough and seeing where they go and how they develop.
7) How do you rate your manager?
I rated him very highly indeed, but I think like everybody who would've answered like that when he joined us, there are questionnable decisions he's making that are hard to fathom. Formation changes, selection changes, reliance on players who aren't performing yet who keep getting chances and so on.
He certainly has his work cut out for him now, and his reputation as a motivator and a clever tactician during games is being put to the test.
8) Who was the worst player that played for you?
In my time I have to go Ivo Stas...I just didn't get it and still don't. But for varying reasons there are quite a few I could list, and honestly, I think every fan of my generation would answer differently.
9) If it was possible to resurrect one explayer from the past who would it be?
Paul McGrath. Without doubt.
10) What was the best goal you ever saw scored by one of your players?
Dean Saunders v Ipswich from memory...practically a lob from the halfway line. Failing that Dalien Atkinson v Wimbledon where in my mind he went round every player on the pitch - including ours - twice before sweetly lobbing it into the net.
11) What is the best game you saw that your team has been in?
For every emotion possible during 180 minutes and then some...Villa v Tranmere in the Cup in 1994 I think. Absolute rollercoaster - and has meaning because of Bradford.
12) Finally what will be the score tomorrow?
My head says 2-1 to us because we are due a response. Heart says I'd take a draw because if you go one up, I'm worried what might happen.
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