Baggies: Interview with a Villan
1) Your season is going well but in the last few games your performance levels seem to have fallen away do you think that Villa will carry on getting the results they need to qualify for the Champions League?
The one ingredient that Villa seem to have added is a never say die attitude. We are picking up some ugly wins and I think those are the most crucial wins in our repertoire. The Villa of recent years before the major changes at the club were quite capable of playing pretty football and then go a goal down and capitulate! To come back from 2 down against Arsenal shows a new found belief and so I think that gives us promise for the rest of the season. As for the Champions league, I'm still hoping we win the Premiership. We've gone from 16th to 11th to 6th. The complicated mathematical pattern dictates this season we'll finish first!!!!!!
2) Curtis Davies transferred permanently to Villa in the Summer has he been performing to a level that justifies his inflated fee?
Not sure any of the transfer fees can be justified in the real world these days but yes, I think he is showing good form, great promise and is a potential England and Villa captain. His attitude seems to be spot on as well, when he has played badly he is the first to admit it, who can forget his 'worse than a pub player' quote!? Hopefully he'll continue to grow and will become a very important player and prove to be a very astute signing.
3) Aston Villa's squad is still weak when compared with the likes of the big four so what areas would you like to see the squad strengthened in this January?
This is the million dollar question. Our first 11 are great and then we have a few others we can throw in, then it falls apart. The major area for us is up front. John Carew is currently out, so if Gabby (God forbid) picked up an injury we have no strength in depth. Delfouneso is a great great prospect for us but is only 17 and can't have the weight of expectations thrown on him just yet. So yes, we will surely purchase and if we genuinely want to finish in the top four, basically have to. The only other striker then is Marlon Harewood who despite having a lions heart, isn't the grade and hasn't made any sort of real impact. He'll move on soon but I wouldn't think until we get at least one more striker in.
4) Are you happy with the progress that Villa have made since Randy Lerner took over the club?
My cup runneth over. Seriously, after years of protesting and doom and gloom, it is a major relief that us fans have been able to get back to talking about football instead of being involved in the politics of the club. If Randy has put a foot wrong since coming in, I certainly can't think what it is. He has also assembled a good team of capable directors and staff around him and lets them get on with the job, that is a major step forward from the corner shop mentality of the previous chairman, what was his name again?!
5) Do you think Villa will be in a position to challenge for the Premier League anytime soon or is the best you can hope for to break into the big four?
We can be serious contenders IF the transfers are sorted. Martin O'Neill isn't just building for the short term so that is great, although some of us do get a bit frustrated at what we see as slightly hit and miss transfers (for every Ashley Young we have a Wayne Routledge or Moustapha Salifou) but I think MON is now finding his feet in the Prem and I'm sure knows what is now needed to make the next step.
6) Who has most impressed you from the Baggies this season?
I always quite like Paul Robinson, thought he was great in neighbours as well! Jonathan Greening always seems to give his all as well.
7) Older Baggies fans always consider that the Villa derby is the main one rather than Wolves. Do you view this derby as bigger than the one against Blues?
This was THE derby and I must admit I prefer it to the Villa v Blues one in some ways because the banter is better and the bitter hatred (both sides) is less. I do think the Wolves for you and Blues for us have become the big derbies though. For years our local derby was against Leicester City mind you - and boy oh boy did I hate them (because they kept beating us!!!)
8) As a Villa fan do you hope that the Baggies stay up this season?
Very much so, genuinely I do.
9) What's the score going to be then?
2-1 to the Villa. Hopefully the game and atmosphere aren't affected by the stupid kick off time, the lunch time games never seem to get going really do they!? This is one of those games that we HAVE to win at home if we are serious about staying in the top four. Gulp!
With thanks to Jonathan Fear from Vital Villa: www.astonvilla.vitalfootball.co.uk