Interview with Villa Editor
It is always good to interact with out fellow site Editors on Vital Football, we here at Vital Blackburn are more than happy to do so.
This is what J P Fear, the site editor of Vital Villa, had to say in response to the questions put to him by Vital Blackburn ahead of the meeting with Aston Villa at Ewood Park on Saturday:
Your season started brightly but hasn't quite taken off (as I`m sure you would have all hoped!) but how have you viewed it?
I've viewed it from my seat in the Trinity Road stand. Oh hang on, I get what you mean! I've viewed it with growing dismay in all honesty. We started really brightly with some very attacking and decent football but we didn't seem to pick up enough wins, although we went 13 unbeaten the majority of those games were draws. If (if if if is such a big footballing word!) only we had picked up a few more wins by learning how to kill teams off, we'd certainly not be looking over our shoulders now.
What is a worry is of late we seemed to have lost all shape and discipline, some of the recent games have been very average although the team showed great spirit in coming back from a woeful first half display against Everton - and I do mean woeful, one of the worst halves of football I've seen at Villa Park.
I am more relaxed this season than the previous ones though because before, with Old Doug in charge, we really were going nowhere fast, now we have a professional board and a great new owner, we have to look forward to next season after some summer spending and hopefully a far better future. As you said in our last interview, the potential at Villa is massive. We've just got to take potential to reality now.
Are you genuinely worried that the "R" word is still possible?
Can't be ignored. We need a few more points on the board, that is for sure. If we had lost against Everton I think we'd have been in serious trouble due to confidence, hopefully the second half display will have given the team a bit more confidence in their ability to fight. Either that or hopefully the teams below remain as bad as they have been. I know Alan Pardew is saying Villa are in the relegation battle and I guess points wise, we are but I'd back us to get something out of the Wigan and Sheffield United games, both teams are below us, and that should see us safe. We REALLY should not be in this position with the talent we have available.
Things ALWAYS take time to build but some people (granted Villa outsiders on the whole) have started to doubt O'Neill, some suggest he's being found out as a manager (have to say I don't agree!) Do you still think he is the right man for Villa?
The honest answer is, who knows? I have faith that Martin O'Neill is an honourable man and would not stick around if he thought he wasn't able to take us forward. I think he needs next season to really show us what he can do but another season like this cannot be excused, no matter how big a reputation our (or any other) manager has. Like all managers (and he knows this only too well) he will live or die by results. As I've said previously, Villa should not be in the position they are, we should be at least the lower bunch of the top 10. The one worry I have is the lack of shape and the fact we haven't been playing well but not much seems to be changed. That said, I have hope and faith that O'Neill will pull this round and look forward to seeing who we sign in the summer and how we line up next season. This season has been a waste but as the whole club is in transition, there is a little more patience around Villa Park, although the players of late have been booed off at half time/full time a few times, not something I'd advocate really!
O'Neill hasn't really been doing too much transfer dealing yet, but who is the best player to arrive so far? My money is on the Hulk!
The shame of John Carew's arrival is it meant an exit (Baros). We HAVE to start building a squad and that means not allowing others to leave every time we bring on in. That said, it looks a good deal, Baros wasn't happy at Villa and has blasted O'Neill since leaving for the long ball tactics, but The Hulk looks like a player about to hit his peak and with the right quality players around him, he could become a Villa legend. So all in all, a great bit of business.
Come on, be honest Ashley Young, was he worth what Villa paid?
No. I don't think any player of his age is worth that sort of money and he looks very similar to Luke Moore and Gabriel Agbonlahor who didn't cost a penny. HOWEVER, as Young grows, gets more experience and the seasons develop, who knows, he might end up looking a bargain? It was a big risk to pay that much, but then it is the managers job and Randy's money on the line, so you have to back what the manager is doing and give the player time to settle. He looks lively and that he has some very good touches, at that age he will need time and that is where the question of the fee comes in. Hopefully, just because Randy has money, we won't start being held ransom for players.
Hopefully Young will prove a top player for us and we will all look back and say what great business it was, only time will tell, he certainly doesn't look like he lacks confidence that is for sure.
Morten Gamst Pedersen was the man you worried about in November, which player(s) do you think Villa need to be wary of this weekend?
Same, think he is a marvel and would love him at Villa.
Gareth Barry mainly, but in fact you said the "whole team is playing as a unit now" so would cause Rovers difficulty in November. Who should we watch out for this time? Again my money is on the Hulk!
Yes, not so sure about the unit thing now! LOL. Barry has done well again this season but the man who is really impressing is Patrik Berger believe it or not. I hope he gets to start the game, he might only last 70-80 mins but he might as well give us his positive impact to start with as opposed to when we are losing and in the last 20 minutes. Just shows, the legs might get more tired, but quality never dies!
I also do think your defenders should look out for John Carew, I would HATE to see that man running at speed towards me!
You're a football man Mr Fear; having watched a bit this season I'm sure, do you still believe that the "brutal, rugby league, beat 'em up" tag Rovers have is fair? You did before!
I think I upset you last time didn't I?! No, I think you have passed the ball about more than I thought you would and hey, you are above us in the league, so how can I criticise? Must say you still are a physical team though, I would think until the day he stops being a manager, a Hughes team will always be like he was, tough and uncompromising.
I like to think I'm a football man too, so having also watched some this season from what I have seen Villa tend to only play for 45 minutes a match instead of the whole 90, why is this?
Don't know, but I have recently asked a director if the Villa continue to play only 45 minutes, could the players not be paid just half the wages or the fans maybe only pay for half a game?!? I honestly can't answer this, it seems we've done it for a few seasons, it is a worry. I think we really need a nasty snarling player to get the rest of the team up for it ALL the time.
I know your thought's on Savage, so I will not cover this ground again but is MGP still the Rover you would most like to see at Villa Park?
Yes, he is a .............. Villa fans can insert their own words. MGP is the one as far as I'm concerned.
The Djemba twins have gone now haven't they, at least one has on loan I think (LOL) so which Villa player would you give to Rovers now if you could?
The twins are still on offer as they are only on loan. You could have Gavin McCann as well if you wished, he gives a 100% but I think - as do many Villa fans - that we now need better as we lose an awful lot of midfield battles.
One looking at the immediate future now, what changes do you see happening at Villa Park this summer?
I'd think a few fringe players will leave and a good few million will be spent, I'd be shocked if we don't get another striker and midfielder in and might even see a goalkeeper and right back. We need change all over, so it could be an interesting summer. Only trouble is top players want Europe and unless we fluke it through the fair play league, we won't be troubling that unless it is the players going on holiday.
As for the rest, loads of changes off field, Bodymoor Heath, (the training ground) re-development is soon to be finished, Villa Park is being smartened up, a new club crest is being released and we've brought in a decent shirt manufacturer - Nike - which shows we are rated 'by the big boys' even if on the field we aren't reflecting the stature of the club!
So you did us 2-0 at Villa Park but last, but by no means least what is your match prediction for the "Easter Extravaganza" Ewood Park encounter on Saturday? (DON'T FORGET IT'S A KIDS FOR A QUID, FOR BOTH HOME AND AWAY FANS!!!)
Our away form is awful, so I'll probably have to go for a hard fought draw. 1-1 although if Villa REALLY want it, they could surprise you.
Thanks to the Fear for his honest and quality replies.
Keep a look out for my answers to the Fears questions shortly. They will appear on Vital Villa soon…
Remember Blackburn Rovers AND Aston Villa fans that this weeks Walkerbout will involve a thread on this match (Rovers verses Aston Villa - Premiership thread), so hopefully both sides will take part…
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