Date:Tuesday March 13 2007
After the raging success of the interviews with Vital Chelsea, this week see's us team up with Vital Villa ahead of the midweek clash at Villa Park.
Take it away Mr Fear....
1) How do you feel your season has progressed after your battling 1-1 draw at the Grove on the opening day of the season?
The early signs were great, despite far too many draws, Martin O'Neill seemed to have the Midas touch and built a very solid foundation. We went unbeaten for ten or more games (think it was 13, my memory is abysmal) which is something we've not done for years and thank goodness we did. With such a small squad (copyright David O'Dearme) and some bad luck (we slaughtered Dirty Dirty Bolton and still lost!) we slipped from early season optimism to mid-table. The early points were desperately needed and I think the vast majority know that Martin O'Neill hasn't had time to mold his own squad yet and that Villa are very much in transition following years of stagnation.
The signs are there and the basic of a squad is in place but to go to the next level, those at the top and certainly the manager know there has to be a turnover of players in the summer. I'd expect a very busy transfer window to add to the quality signings in January. Basically if we were 13th last season, we'd have been up in arms, but with O'Dreary and Ellis gone, the buzz is returning and things are changing. It will take time to see that on the pitch but it will come, I've faith in that.
2) What changes have been made to your club since Mr Lerner took over?
They are listening for one thing. Randy Lerner is the total opposite of Doug, he shuns the spotlight and puts his money where his mouth is. The training ground is going from state of the ark to state of the art. They are consulting with fans, have attracted Nike as our kit providers (Hummell is so 10th rate it is unbelievable they were ever allowed anywhere near Villa Park) and in our forum we even have a member of the board talking with the fans, the thread is over 110 pages long and all that is then taken back to those in charge to be part of the feedback. Hey, I could go on and on, basically after years of protests, we've the owners a club like Villa deserve. I've been lucky enough to talk with Randy and he is indeed, a gent and a dude. He is also now claret and blue through and through, I think he is addicted and won't be satisfied until Villa are once again up there with the big boys, were we belong!
3) Do you feel that Martin O'Neill is the right man to take you back to the top in English football?
Yes. The FA were MAD not to take him. Good for us, total shame for England. Steve McClaren? Don't make me laugh, good coach, awful manager. Oh, hang on, misread the question! Yeah, England's loss was our gain. I'll be interested to see what he can achieve once he gets his own players, I'll also be fascinated to see who he targets. Nothing is guaranteed, I'm sure he'll agree he has to get up to speed with the Prem in the here and now, Leicester were a totally different kettle of fish (or bowl of crisps in their case) but I'm sure he'll do the business, he certainly has a good relationship with the owners and I LOVE to hear him interviewed, never fails to make me laugh!
4) What were your realistic hopes at the beginning of the season, and how do they compare with your hopes at the present moment?
I expected us to be in transition, thought with the squad we had we should be top 10 but only just, maybe pushing for Uefa with a prevailing wind, I'm not that shocked we are slightly below but hope to see us push on in the final part of the season, can't see any reason why we shouldn't be in the top half of the table come the final whistle - next season is the test for me though, this one is just getting the changes in place. Have to say I couldn't understand why we played five across midfield against Fulham though, that match looked like a great opportunity to get all three points. Ho hum, what do I know!
5) Fabregas aside, which of our emerging young players would you take to Villa if you could have them for free?
I'd take the lot, loved watching them in the League Cup this year, think there is some outstanding talent there, just a shame the rules allow so many foreign players, I truly think it has changed football for the worse, I no longer support 'our' English teams in Europe because they are no longer English basically!
6) And which Villa player would you send to Arsenal? (or anywhere)
There is a little know left-back-in-the-changing-room called Jonny Fear, I'd send him to Arsenal on a bumper contract. Not sure you need any of our players, but if you insist, you could take the Djemba Twins and Lee Hendrie.
7) Taking into account we will be without Henry, van Persie, Adebayor, Hleb, Toure, Eboue & Clichy tomorrow, which player do you fear the most?
Well, obviously Henry is overrated anyway ;-))) I fear a good few of your players, there is no doubt it is packed full of talent but I do think this is a good time to be playing you as you aren't on top form and as you say, you have a good few out injured. Senderos looks nifty and I've always rated Ljungberg as did my ex-girlfriend, so much so I had to kill her and put her under the patio.
It seems obvious to me that we'll thrash you. That said I think I've confused my paracetamols and ecstasy again. 4-1 to the Villa with yellow bananas and loads of flashing stars and fluffy dogs shooting passed my window.
My interview on Vital Villa
Thanks To Mr Fear for taking the time to answer these questions.
Date:Tuesday March 13 2007
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Wenger Thinks Arsenal Will Return To Scoring Ways (Friday May 22 2015)
The Arsenal Walking Wounded List (Friday May 22 2015)
Audio - Wenger On Sunderland Draw (Thursday May 21 2015)
Stats: Arsenal v Sunderland (Thursday May 21 2015)
Quartet Get England Call (Thursday May 21 2015)
Wilshere Enjoyed Being Back (Thursday May 21 2015)
Team News: Arsenal vs Sunderland - Wilshere Starts (Wednesday May 20 2015)
BBC Make It FA Cup Day (Wednesday May 20 2015)
Wenger On FFP Changes (Wednesday May 20 2015)
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